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Genghis: Birth of an Empireby Conn Iggulden
Synopses & Reviews
ON A SPRING DAY in his twelfth year, Temujin raced his four brothers across the steppes, in the shadow of the mountain known as Deli'un-Boldakh. The eldest, Bekter, rode a gray mare with skill and concentration, and Temujin matched his pace, waiting for a chance to go past. Behind them came Khasar, whooping wildly as he moved up on the two leaders. At ten, Khasar was a favorite in the tribe, as lighthearted as Bekter was sullen and dark. His red-mottled stallion snorted and whickered after Bekter's mare, making the little boy laugh. Kachiun came next in the galloping line, an eight-year-old not given to the openness that made people love Khasar. Of all of them, Kachiun seemed the most serious, even secretive. He spoke only rarely and did not complain, no matter what Bekter did to him. Kachiun had a knack with the ponies that few others could match, able to nurse a burst of speed when the rest were flagging. Temujin glanced over his shoulder to where Kachiun had positioned himself, his balance perfect. He seemed to be idling along, but they had all been surprised before and Temujin kept a close eye on him.
Already some way behind his brothers, the smallest and youngest of them could be heard calling plaintively for them to wait. Temuge was a boy with too much love for sweet things and laziness, and it showed in his riding. Temujin grinned at the sight of the chubby boy flapping his arms for more speed. Their mother had warned against including the youngest in their wild tournaments. Temuge had barely grown out of the need to be tied to the saddle, but he wailed if they left him behind. Bekter had yet to find a kind word for Temuge.
Their high voices carried far across the spring grass of the plain. They galloped flat out, with each boy perched like a bird on the ponies' backs. Yesugei had once called them his sparrows and looked on with pride at their skill. Temujin had told Bekter that he was too fat to be a sparrow and had been forced to spend a night hiding out from the older boy's bad temper.
On such a day, though, the mood of the whole tribe was light. The spring rains had come and the rivers ran full again, winding across plains where dry clay had been only days before. The mares had warm milk for drinking and making into cheese and cool yoghurt. Already, the first touches of green were showing through the bones of the hills, and with it came the promise of a summer and warm days. It was a gathering year, and before the next winter, the tribes would come together in peace to compete and trade. Yesugei had decreed that this year the families of the Wolves would make the trip of more than a thousand miles to replenish their herds. The prospect of seeing the wrestlers and archers was enough to have the boys on their best behavior. The races, though, were what held them rapt and played across their imaginations as they rode. Except for Bekter, the boys had all seen their mother privately, asking Hoelun to put in a word with Yesugei. Each of them wanted to race the long distance or the sprints, to make a name for themselves and be honored.
It went unspoken that a boy who returned to his gers with a title such as Exalted Rider or “Master of Horse” might one day win their father's position when he retired to tend his herds. With the possible exception of fat Temuge, the others could not help but dream. It galled Temujin that Bekter assumed he would be
BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Conn Iggulden's Genghis: Lords of the Bow and Khan: Empire of Silver.
Genghis Khan was born Temujin, the son of akhan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the rugged steppe. Shaped by abandonment and betrayal, Temujin endured, driven by a singular fury: to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and toconquer enemies who could come without warning from beyond the horizon.
Through a series of courageous raids, Temujin's legend grew until he was chasing a vision: to unite many tribes into one, to make the earth tremble under the hoofbeats of a thousand warhorses, to subject all nations and empires to his will.
From the critically acclaimed author of the Emperor series comes a sweeping novel chronicling the rise to power of Genghis Khan, one of the world's most powerful and fearsome rulers, from his tragic beginnings, to the murder of his father, to his legendary exploits as a feared warrior who conquered much of the known world. 40,000 first printing.
About the Author
\Conn Iggulden is the author of Genghis: Birth of an Empire, the first novel in the series, as well as the Emperor novels, which chronicle the life of Julius Caesar: Emperor: The Gates of Rome, Emperor: The Death of Kings, Emperor: The Field of Swords, and Emperor: The Gods of War, all of which are available in paperback from Dell. He is also the co-author of the bestselling nonfiction work The Dangerous Book for Boys. He lives with his wife and three children in Hertfordshire, England.
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