The Mongoliad: Book One, written by seven authors altogether, depicts an adventure set in the 13th century about war and the devastation laid to the world by the Mongolians. A band of orderly knights and monks set out on a quest to rid the evil that has brought so much destruction to so many people. Their journey is sure to be labeled as foolish since the odds are clearly against them but it seems that they have no choice. I admit that I know absolutely nothing about Genghis Khan as a brutal conqueror and so I was surprised to see that this book actually talks about him, or rather, his sons. I thought it was made believe but upon a little searching on Wikipedia, it turns out that these characters actually did exist during that time. This was fairly interesting to me since I love to read about history but as for the story itself, The Mongoliad could have been more interesting. While the first book does make for a pretty decent introduction of characters and whatnot, it doesn’t do much to make me want to read the next book in the series.
The Mongoliad has several story arcs that tie in altogether and so you’ll be presented with a dozen or so characters. Some of them are fairly interesting but many of them just aren’t that fun to read about. When this happens, you tend to not care about the characters overall and whether they live or die in the story. One major group consists of Cnan, Percival, Feronanthus, Roger, Finn, Istvan and a whole bunch of other characters that could be considered the main characters in the group, especially with Cnan. The authors do a pretty poor job of describing the physical traits of these characters and so throughout the book, you’ll have a hard time painting a face to the name in your head. Cnan is known as a Binder but just exactly what a Binder is isn’t described enough. I got away that a Binder is a messenger of some sort. The other characters seem to be either knights, monks or of a physician type. The problem is that not much back history is told for these other characters and so again, you can’t really relate to them too much. In the second group, you have what I term the Karakorum group of Gansukh, Lian, Chucai, and Ogedei. The authors seem to have put more effort and time into building these characters, especially with Gansukh.
With a total of seven different writers contributing to the project, you would think the book would be one jumble pile of mess. Surprisingly, the authors did a very good job of writing the book so that you don’t really notice the fact that so many authors were in on the project. The bad news is that the authors sometimes write in a way that they assume you already know all the historical jargons of the past. Remember, this book takes place in the 13th century and so you wouldn’t know what exactly a “ger” is or who the god/goddess called the “Blue Wolf” is. Luckily, some jargon does get explained further along but I wouldn’t be holding my breath. As far as location details go, this area isn’t exactly clear as well. We get hints here and there but it can get quite puzzling sometimes. Luckily, these pieces of information aren’t really necessary to enjoy the overall story of the The Mongoliad which is pretty simple overall. I just wish some these things would be corrected in the second book of the series. I will admit that the book flowed pretty nicely from chapter to chapter, although there were times when I felt dreaded to read about Cnan’s group (each chapter alternates between different character groups/set).
As far as action goes, there are a couple of these set pieces throughout the book. However, I sort of expected more grand scale battles. There is one fight scene that literally spans a couple of chapter and seemed to me dragging and majorly overdone. I will also say that I sometimes had a hard time picturing the fight choreography in my head. Its not that the authors were being complicated but for some odd reason, I had a hard time concentrating on some fight scenes.
The ending to The Mongoliad: Book One was the most disappointing. Being how this is the first book in the series, I expect the author to at least leave a decent cliffhanger ending so that readers can’t wait for the next one. However, things just abruptly ends! Many questions were not answered and if this is what the authors idea to be of a “cliffhanger” to hold readers over until the next book releases, then I do not agree with them at all. I will conclude that this series has potential for me to see it to the end and although the first book in the series have some flaws, I believe it deserves a second chance and so I will judge the series more accordingly once I’ve read the second book.