Monday, June 24, 2013

The Mongoliad by Stephenson, G. Bear, Teppo, deBirmingham, E. Bear, Brassey and Moo

Reviewed by Victoria Dixon

As the Mongols swept across Asia and were poised to invade Europe in 1241, a small band of warriors, inheritors of an ancient secret tradition, conceived a desperate plan to stop the attack. They must kill the Khan of Khans; if they fail, all of Christendom will be destroyed.

In the late nineteenth century a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados provided Sir Richard F. Burton, well-known expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, a collection of long-lost manuscripts to translate – the lost chronicles of this desperate fight to save Europe. Burton’s translations were lost, until a team of amateur archaeologists discovered them in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste. From the translation and from the original source material, the epic tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.

Mongoliad is actually much more complex than the above suggests. While the story does have a strong basis in history and most especially in the martial arts of the time period, the story takes place in an alternative history setting not our own. It is also part of a massive media undertaking that includes app technology, fan involvement in the story telling and scads of story and tech developers including but not limited to authors Neal Stephenson, Greg and Erik Bear, E.D. deBirmingham, Joseph Brassey, Mark Teppo, and Nicole Galland.  I cannot speak for the app technology except to say that the book’s app following has grown tremendously.

As far as the book goes, for those who love unusual settings, quests, long swords and the battles fought with them, this is your novel. For that matter, this is your series as Mongoliad is the first of at least three books in this setting/series plus multiple “sidequests.”

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