- Series: The Mongoliad Cycle (Book 1)
- Paperback: 442 pages
- Publisher: 47North (April 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1612182364
- ISBN-13: 978-1612182360
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 828 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
The Mongoliad (The Mongoliad Cycle) Paperback – April 24, 2012
|New from||Used from|
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Chosen Ones" by Veronica Roth
"A stunning thriller/fantasy/sci-fi chimera like nothing I've read before." - Blake Crouch Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed these digital items
Customers who bought this item also bought these digital items
Q: How did you get the idea for The Mongoliad?
A: It all started with sword fighting, of course. My co-authors and I are part of a Western martial arts study group that practices in a non-descript loft in Seattle. A lot of the initial impetus for the group came from Neal Stephenson who had realized the sword fighting in his earlier novels was lacking the input from individuals with actual expertise. In the course of learning about the history of Western martial arts, he coaxed a couple other writers into the same circle. From there, the idea of writing a saga about the complex history of Western martial arts was born. Since the idea grew out of a group experience, it seemed best to continue the collaborative aspect of the project, and that was how the core team of Neal, Greg Bear, E.D. deBirmingham, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, Cooper Moo, and myself came together.
Q: The Mongoliad trilogy began as an online subscription service. How would you describe this first incarnation of the trilogy?
A: At the time, we were also talking about new ways of interacting with our audience, and an online subscription service seemed like an interesting experiment. The edition that grew out of that experience is best characterized as a serialized work-in-progress. Not only were we conducting an experiment in writing collaboratively, but we were also learning what it was like to interact—in near real-time—with our readers. It was, in many ways, not unlike the manner in which Charles Dickens wrote his own novels. The first iteration of many of his classics were serialized, with Dickens shaping and revisiting his plots based on readers' responses to the episodes. He even started to think of the episodes differently—writing more cliffhangers than one would normally use in a traditional novel format
Q: How is the Mongoliad trilogy different from the serialized version of The Mongoliad?
A: We wrote the serialized narrative in one long rush, constantly shifting stories and plotlines in response to writer availability and to what our audience was talking about. I don't know how well it will read after the fact as I think there was a certain amount of inescapable frisson that went on during that process. But it was a serialized experience and much of that emphasis is a weekly cliffhanger, which doesn't necessarily translate well to three separate volumes.
The trilogy that is being released via 47North is a much more coherent narrative where the emphasis is now on world-building and story-telling. The Mongoliad has a beginning, middle, and end, but it's also the starting point of a huge explosion of stories and characters—in the medieval world and beyond—that is still forthcoming. We know so much more about Foreworld now (the world in which The Mongoliad takes place) that we are able to properly understand these characters' place within the larger narrative that has yet to unfold.
Q: What are the strengths of this book-length version of The Mongoliad?
A: Firstly, each of the three volumes of The Mongoliad have been polished, re-structured, and re-edited into the definitive edition of the narrative. The 47North publication is the authors' preferred text. As we said, throughout the serialization a book is never really done for the writers until they can hold it in their hands. We're old school, that way. It's done when you put it on the shelf.
Secondly, having been the guy who had to take it all apart and put it back together across three volumes, I think it's a much stronger narrative now. There are four story branches that move back and forth across the year 1241, and lining up intersection points between the branches was complicated in a serialized non-linear format. The 47North edition allowed us to build a better pace and structure for the narrative.
For example, the Rome branch, which began immediately in the serial, doesn't begin in the 47North edition until Book Two. Which makes sense in a linear story-telling fashion because the events that occur in Rome take place much later than the initial events in Book One. In the serial, we didn't do it that way—much to our chagrin. But we couldn't do anything to fix that misstep. Until now.
“This off-beat alternate history of Eurasia could be your new obsession.” –i09.com
“This story is pure adventure, with much swordplay and swashbuckling.” –Kirkus Reviews
“A terrifically engaging book that pulled me along at least as quickly as The Hunger Games. Think Lord of the Rings without all that pesky fantasy…Five frighteningly accurate historical sword fights out of five.” –Fanboy Comics
"While there might be some truth to the saying "too many cooks spoil the broth", it doesn't apply to The Mongoliad: Book One. In fact it's a distinct advantage in a book where we see the world through the eyes of such a diverse group of people. Differences in voice make each character a distinct individual while not detracting from the story's coherency or cohesion. The overall narrative actually flows far more smoothly than usual for a book covering as much ground as this one, as events build upon themselves naturally and logically. While there's no indication as to who wrote which parts it ends up being irrelevant. After the first few pages you'll find yourself so wrapped up in the story you'll no longer care who the author is, you'll just want to turn the page to find out what happens next." -Blogcritics
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What's it about, very quickly? In short, it is a collaborative, almost crowd-sourced literary experiment. It was originally released episodically on their website, but I read it all in its combined format. There are different story lines converging around the Mongol invasions of Europe. There is an ancient order of knights going on a quest to protect Europe, a Mongol solider tasked with curbing the Khan's drinking, and slaves participating in a circus (read: Gladiator-type fighting).
My initial thoughts: At first, I was disappointed. I had read the bonus story "Sinner" which was explained as a prequel short story to the larger story. But I found there was little connection between "Sinner" and "The Mongoliad". I was left confused by both the story and the amount of new characters I was being introduced to. Additionally, each chapter alternated between the different story lines, which can be very frustrating when you are not familiar with the characters or get too caught up with one story vs. another. But I was fascinated by the historical aspect...and I was in need of an immersive escape.
My conclusions: Once I got into the story, it was a lot of fun. I was no longer confused and I was curious to know what was going on. It is definitely a story that sucked me in, though I am not happy with how Book One finished. It just cut off. It was like the rest of the story failed to load. It is another case of there being multiple books just to do it. Maybe to get more money, maybe for space considerations, but certainly not for the sake of the story. I hope I can remember everything by the time I start reading Book Two.
The book starts out with a kind of preface about a group of Christian knights, which is engaging. So when Chapter 1 began, I wanted to know what happened to the main character in the preface, Andreas. But he was gone, lost in the muddle, appearing only occasionally like a bobbing log in a raging river. My emotional attachment to the narrative dwindled to nothing. And I kept asking myself, why should I be interested in all these groups? How do they relate to each other? What story thread can I follow? The only reason to continue reading is to see if there's any clarity somewhere down the road.
I'm reading the Mongoliad on my Kindle before I go to sleep, because it makes my brain tired.
Top international reviews
Yet somehow, it doesn't come together as well as it might. The combat scenes are good, but the POV jumps around so much that they appear disjointed. The characters are detailed, but there are a lot of them. The multiple plot strands are well woven, but it is difficult at times to keep track of them all. Moreover, though its supposed to be an alternative history, you'd have to be an expert to spot the alternative bits. According to the synopsis, there's supposed to be a strand of the story that links it to the present, but that disappointingly fails to appear.
So, though on the whole I enjoyed it, it was hard work at times, and to me failed to add that magical touch of inspiration, that sense of wonder, which I was looking for. This volume ends with a cliffhanger - actually, given the several plot strands, multiple cliffhangers! - which is frustrating, but acceptable given that there's another volume. The trouble is, I'm not sure that it's captured my attention sufficiently to bother with another volume. We'll see.
The writers are amongst the most lauded in SF/F.
I didnt find the book lived up to my expectations of a collaboration amongst 3 of my favorite writers - and others.
The prose is fine byt the characters are poorly developed and the plot progresses so slowly it seems like you are making no progress on the book even when it ends. For a sizeable book we still have little insight into most of the characters in the book. Who they are , why they do what they do - most are merely labels - a massively wasted opportunity given the size of the book.
This may be a deliberate structure - so the whole series is one book - but doesnt make a terribly satisfying read. Very dissapointed - wish i hadnt picked up all 3. Hopefully it will improve as the series continues.
I've read many of Neal Stephenson's novels and, overall, would consider myself an appreciator of his work. Cryptonomicon was fantastic and Snow Crash well ahead of its time.
Sadly, this one just did not work for me. Incredibly slow with nothing really to motivate the reader to keep trudging on the long and weary path with the knights templar (or whatever they were called).
Extended fight scenes which I presume were accurate to the nth degree but mind numbing to the uninitiated.
Clumsy female love interest background story in the heart of the Mongolian capital. Ho Hum.
Anticlimactic ending which presumably was there to make the reader desperate for more?
Actually it wasn't really an ending at all. The book just stopped at the end of a chapter for no apparent reason.
Nothing resolved. Nothing really building to a crescendo. Nothing really to tempt me into buying the next installment.
At the end of the day I did not care enough for any of the characters nor for their personal quests.
I don't mind a book that meanders (Quicksilver was good) but this just roams in an uninteresting direction for me. A bit like this review.
Big, big disappointment. Three storylines, loosely connected and showing all too clearly how they are supposed eventually to link up, grind out an unimaginative and (literally) pedestrian course. Scarcely any characterisation, and only two women being a bit token in what is really just a series of fights. The fights are probably well done, if you like that sort of thing, which I find doesn't work in prose and seems to be angling for a film - or more likely a videogame - though I gather from some other reviews that there are big mistakes in the description of the fighting techniques too. But mainly it's just boring.
I won't be buying Vol 2. However, I won't give up on Stephenson and will give 'Reamde' a chance, as it is pure Stephenson and looks as if there's a satisfying amount of cyber-skullduggery in it.
You can perhaps imagine that I bought this book [for Kindle] against my better judgement. Usual thing: dip into the sample, count the pennies, wonder how excruciating it could be - written, after all, by committee! But I was snowed in to the cottage and desperate to read rather than burn out my eyes watching the UK's now deeply crass public service television...
To my astonishment, The Mongoliad is captivating. Yes, you can detect the meandering caused by multiple authorship. Yes, there's a decided paint-by-numbers aspect to the cast of warrior heroes; as an ex LARP-er I can detect the imaginations of geeks in chainmail... AND YET the characters are drawn in so much detail, they're so warm, flawed and downright intriguing that I was enchanted. Even the stereotypical drunken Khan is a powerfully tragic figure.
The blurb vaunts the fight scenes, which are exceptionally detailed and probably correct in every detail, if that's what floats your boat. Frankly I skipped through them - after all, it's the emotion and the outcome that matter, not the exact path of a blade.
Nevertheless, this is all part of the intensely vivid depiction of a world that, to most of us, is unimaginable. This book engages all your senses - from the Khan's melancholic rage to the screeching violence of combat, to blundering around river mud - and quite stunningly puts you in the middle of the action.
For men, I suppose this is an epic adventure of combat, strategy and mental toughness. As a female reader who has had the privilege of friendship with a band of loveable rogues that all acted like protective older brothers, for me this was a magical journey into fantasy mixed with memory.
Put your LARP cloak on, pour yourself something to quaff, and prepare to be swept away...
The setting is innovative and somewhat remindful of 'Anathem'. An historic novel set in a slightly alternative medieval setting, this first part is a travel story; a disparate band of knights (genre 'Templars') on an epic quest across an Eastern Europe laid to waste by the Mongol empire.
There are several storylines playing out concurrently (as to be expected from Bear and Stephenson), but these are as yet unconnected unfortunately. This being a trilogy, I expect this to be remedied in the later novels, especially since Stephenson is known to be a slow starter. I'm willing to wait for that.
The story is well written, the characters are believable and sufficiently different from each other, dialogue is good, there is story and character arc, yet something is missing. Probably pace and progress.
Were this a novel written by Stephenson (or Bear) alone, this would have been a 5-star review as I would know with a great amount of certainty that the later books would be nothing less than excellent. It is not though. There is great promise hidden in this first installment, enough to have me holding out for book 2. A certain amount of apprehension however holds me back from giving it the 5th star.
I am not an avid fiction reader so my perspective is limited but have read many of Neal Stephenson's and Greg Bear's books. However, from the first page I found this book gripping and its action well paced and exciting. I also found the prose to be about the most focused and well written prose I have encountered. It describes vividly and moves effortlessly.
I also found myself relating very well to the two main characters and I am used to the back and forth of "point of view" switching. The chapters are shorter than Neal Stephenson's typically are which I found a good thing as it helped the sense of pace and urgency. The fight scenes are intense.
The ending cliff hanger, whilst annoying, will (as I am sure is intended) get me to buy the next book (episode).
My advice, its a digital world, download the kindle sample chapter and see if its for you. If you are like me you will buy the book before you are finished with that first chapter.