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The Mongoliad, by Neal Stephenson, et. al. February 27, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words.

The Mongoliad, by Neal Stephenson is a really long book, like all his others, but this one is broken up into three books that appeared episodically.  The stories of Mongol invasions of Europe in the thirteenth century, it is told from the perspectives of an order of knights, their witch guide, their political rivals, a mad priest, his native guide and another witch, a Mongol warrior tasked with keeping Ogedai Khan from drinking himself to death, his Chinese mistress, a Japanese giant samurai and a Slavic street urchin.  Not quite a cast of thousands, but even Stephenson has his limits (although I may have left several characters out. My limits are much smaller than his, after all).

I very much enjoyed the corrupt Catholic church officials electing the mad priest as pontiff just to mess with each other, the crafty Mongol warrior’s learning to conquer by wit and not might (and how he gets schooled in this by the Chinese slave who becomes his mistress), the strange camaraderie of the knights and their stranger infighting in the face of the Mongol conquest of Europe with their political rivals…and their audacious plan to stop the Mongol conquest by assassinating Ogedai Khan, surrounded by his army in his native land six thousand miles away.

Good luck with that, fellas.

I do love Stephenson’s digressions into detail, but I’m a shade OCD; your mileage may vary.  The story moves along as well as can be expected for as many parts as it has;  I’m not sure anyone could tell it any better; certainly nobody has tried anything as long as this lately with such good effect.


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