Publication Date: November 4, 2014 | NAL Trade | Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
In the late twelfth century on the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, following a violent feud between blood brothers, the victor Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself Genghis Khan. But behind one powerful man stand many strong women…
After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, darkness looms over Borte’s life. She becomes an outcast among her clan and after seeking comfort in the arms of an aristocratic traveler, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man she was betrothed to years ago but who abandoned her long before they could marry. And he will only leave her behind again.
Temujin will make Borte his khatun, his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new empire. Their daughter, a fierce girl named Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, seeks revenge against the Mongol barbarians who destroyed her city and murdered her family, but in the end will sacrifice everything to protect the Golden Family. Demure widow to Genghis’ son, Sorkhokhtani positions her sons to inherit the Empire when it begins to fracture from within.
As Genghis Khan sets out to expand his conquests and the steppes run red with blood, Borte and the women of the clan will fight, love, scheme, and sacrifice, all for the good of their family and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls...
Absolutely superb writing. Perfect blend of description, detail, history, emotion. I love that Ms. Thornton reveals the bad as well as the good.
The first part of the story follows Genghis Khan's chief wife from her childhood by her parents' side to adulthood after she's given birth to her own children. I'd heard of Khan (great leader, founder of Mongul empire) before but never really knew who he was. I also knew absolutely nothing about these people or their way of life. This story was educational for me as well as entertaining.
We follow his wife as she debates marrying him, knowing her marriage will lead to a great war and a rift between brothers. Through her eyes we see men wrestle for sport, fight for blood, rape and pillage, eat horses, cast bones into fires to see the future. We see a completely different way of life. We see women experience hardships in between preparing meals, beating felt, and bearing children, hardships such as rape and watching their people be slaughtered.
Then we meet his young daughter as she also becomes a bride, but to a man who does not want her. Hers is an alliance doomed from the get-go and instead of enjoying her husband, the new bride fears for her life and falls for his son. While I felt no particular fondness for her character in the beginning, I appreciated her a lot toward the end of her tale and wished it were longer, that it didn't end with her giving birth to a son.
Then the book moves on to a Persian woman who loses her entire family and city to the Mogolians. And here is where I suddenly had a quibble. At this point in Genghis Khan's life, his grown sons are alcoholics and his empire is being ran and his wars apparently being fought by...ready for this...his daughter and daughters-in-laws. His youngest daughter, Al-Altun is running around with a pregnant belly ordering soldiers to slaughter entire cities. At her side is Toregene, a daughter in law. At some point, the women we met earlier in the story have gone from merely beating rugs and bearing babies to ordering and supervising wars and capturing slaves.
Women are literally taking over! His sons are worthless and all the women have taken over to ensure the survival of the empire. Whoo hoo! So what's my quibble?
I really, really, really wish this book had had the POV of Al-Altun, the warrior daughter. Or even Toregene. I'd have liked to have see how these women suddenly went from beating rugs and bearing babies to taking over their husbands' duties. To me, that's the good stuff.
But this was very well written, entertaining, and educational at the same time. I won't forget any of these women any time soon. I feel like I am friends with each and every one. Anytime I hear or see the name Genghis Khan, I shall think not of the bearded, horse-eating warrior, but of his wife, his daughters, and his daughters-in-laws, because while he created a fierce empire, without the women, it wouldn't have lasted as long as it did. The men of his family just ran around and died as a result of their greed. It was the women who were remarkable, in all they did and survived.
I received a digital galley through NetGalley.
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Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
"The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora" and "Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt" are available from NAL/Penguin. "The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan" will hit the shelves November 4, 2014, followed by "The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great" in November 2015.
For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan Blog Tour ScheduleSaturday, November 1
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Sunday, November 2
Review at Let Them Read Books
Monday, November 3
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 4
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, November 5
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 6
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, November 7
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Scandalous Women
Monday, November 10
Review at Reading the Past
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, November 11
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, November 12
Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Friday, November 14
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, November 17
Review at Turning the Pages
Tuesday, November 18
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, November 19
Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, November 20
Review at Layered Pages
Friday, November 21
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, November 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Tuesday, November 25
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court
Wednesday, November 26
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Friday, November 28
Review at Book Babe