Synopses & Reviews
This riveting second installment in Stephenson and company's epic tale focuses on the aftermath of the world-shattering Mongolian invasion of 1241 and the difficult paths undertaken by its most resilient survivors. The Shield Brethren, an order of warrior monks, searches for a way to overthrow the horde, even as the invaders take its members hostage. Forced to fight in the Mongols? Circus of Swords, Hakkon must prove his mettle or lose his life in the ring. His bravery may impress the enemy, but freedom remains a distant dream. Father Rodrigo receives a prophecy from God and believes it's his mission to deliver the message to Rome. Though a peaceful man, he resigns himself to take up arms in the name of his Lord. Joining his fight to save Christendom are the hunter Ferenc, orphan Ocyrhoe, healer Raphael, and alchemist Yasper, each searching for his place in history. Deftly blending fact and fantasy, The Mongoliad: Book Two captures the indomitable will to survive against immense odds.
"Having launched an epic cast of characters into motion in The Mongoliad: Book One, Stephenson et alia face the challenge of keeping most of them moving without getting too far ahead of the plot of this alternate history of the 13th-century Mongolian expansion into Europe. The focus shifts to Rome, where Father Rodrigo arrives with a mysteriously apocalyptic message for Pope Gregory IX, who has just died. Wounded, delirious, and barely aware of his surroundings after surviving a devastating Mongol onslaught in Hungary, Rodrigo is thrust into the machinations to elect a pope who will stand against the Holy Roman Emperor. Several Shield-Brethren skirmish with the Mongols as they journey to Karakorum to assassinate Ogedei Khan, and others antagonize the Knights of the Livonian Order. Suggestions of revelations to come combine with expertly crafted fight sequences and immensely enjoyable characters to hold the reader's interest despite the story ending no further along than it was at the beginning. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.