Courage cannot be left like bones in a bag. It must be brought out and shown the light again and again, growing stronger each time. If you think it will keep for the times you need it, you are wrong. It is like any other part of your strength. If you ignore it, the bag will be empty when you need it most.
Ruthless. Intelligent. Murderous. Ingenious. Brutal. Intense. Courageous. Formidable. Charismatic. These powerful words describe one of the most powerful conquerors of all time: Genghis Khan. At the time of his death, Genghis Khan had united all Mongolian tribes, conquered the land mass extending from Beijing to the Caspian Sea, and his generals had raided Persia and Russia.
He was born Temujin, the son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the rugged steppe. Temujin’s young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe and the abandonment of his entire family, cruelly left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured–and from that moment on, he was driven by a singular fury: to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies who could come without warning from beyond the horizon.
Through a series of courageous raids against the Tartars, Temujin’s legend grew. And so did the challenges he faced–from the machinations of a Chinese ambassador to the abduction of his young wife, Borte. Blessed with ferocious courage, it was the young warrior’s ability to learn, to imagine, and to judge the hearts of others that propelled him to greater and greater power. Until Temujin was chasing a vision: to unite many tribes into one, to make the earth tremble under the hoofbeats of a thousand warhorses, to subject unknown nations and even empires to his will.
Knowing how much I enjoy historical fiction, a library patron suggested I check out Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden. I rarely take recommendations at work – I’m the one doing the recommending, thank you very much. I already had 760 books on my TBR list (I’d better live a long time), but after reading the reviews, I was excited to read it. There was a long list of requests, so I submitted mine and moved on with my day.
Several months later, I plunged in. Wow. The book is brilliantly written, gripping, and intense. The characters and plot are well developed and true to history. Although he was a brutal man, he was also fascinating. He overcame great adversity to become the khan of khans. Men followed him because of his ambition and loyalty, a lesson for leaders of our time. Fortunately, there are five books in Iggulden’s Conqueror series, so I have plenty more to learn about Genghis Khan. I’m looking forward to it.
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Until next time,