Wolf of The Plains

Written by Conn Iggulden
Review by Edward James

The author is best known as the author of the Emperor series of books based on the life of Julius Caesar. The first book was devoted to the future dictator’s boyhood and youth. This has become a recurring theme with Iggulden; how a boy becomes a man, and in particular how he becomes a ruthless world conqueror.

So, pausing only to write The Dangerous Book for Boys, Iggulden has launched upon the life of Genghis Khan. Wolf of the Plains is the first of the new Conqueror series, devoted to the boyhood and youth of the future Genghis (or Temujin as he is known throughout this book). Compared to Genghis, Julius Caesar had it easy. By the age of eleven Genghis’s father had been murdered and he was an outlaw on the Mongolian steppe. The gang of teenagers who gathered around him soon became expert killers, and the rest is history – or will be in the succeeding volumes.

The story is vivid, fast and brutal, with a high body count. I do not know how much firsthand experience the author has of the Mongolian steppe, but from my own experience of the much-derided Kazakhstan, it rings true. Now that Genghis has united the Mongols, we look forward to the conquest of the world.