I am a big fan of the sprawling epic, like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings, so when my favorite novelist and six other authors got together to write an epic, I was sold. I have followed this band of assassins (Honestly, that is what you call people who intend to assassinate someone.) as they travelled eastward. I have also followed the Khan of Khans as he tried to live up to his father’s example, which is even more difficult when your father is Genghis Khan. There is even a papal election that has real drama and intrigue. (Sorry, Angels and Demons, you don’t count.) Once you have read the first two novels, and you should, this one is the perfect end to the epic.
About halfway through this volume, the climax started. I’m not kidding. This book dragged me to the end faster than I would have thought possible. I’m not even going to mention how many nights I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this novel. I will say that I killed the battery on one reading light and put a hurt on a second one. In a way that never feels artificial or forced, every chapter ends with you wanting to find out what happens next. Many of these chapters do end with mini cliffhangers, but often it is just the fact that this is a great story and it is exceptionally well-told.
Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland (who wrote under the pen-name E.D. deBirmingham for the first two volumes), Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo have written my favorite epic. I don’t understand how this large group of people managed to write a series of novels with such a distinct and consistent style, but I am happy that they managed. This is one of the best series I have ever read, and the last volume is incredible. The action is exciting and feels more real than anything I have read before. The characters are all multi-layered and sympathetic, even when they are trying to kill each other. The pacing is perfect. This might be the easiest recommendation I make all year. Go and read The Mongoliad.
Five Perfectly Executed Parries out of Five