Sunday, December 21, 2014
Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton
4.5 out of 5 stars -- I read this while also watching the Netflix series, Marco Polo, and found it absolutely fascinating. Definitely inspired the researcher in me as I spent hours on the internet reading more about this amazing, but definitely bloodthirsty family.
Fueled by greed and lust for power, the family that would rule the largest empire the world has ever known was given to excess in all things. There is no manner of cruelty that wasn't doled out to enemies of the Khan, but loyalty was also rewarded. Though the men had the helm, it was the women of the realm who sacrificed everything to keep fathers, husbands, brothers and other male relatives on the throne. I doubt I would have survived 15 minutes living in the vast Mongol world! Between the harsh climate, the ghastly food, the constant rides into gory battles, and all manner of treachery -- the women of Genghis Khan were very resilient and strong enough to overcome even the worst horrors.
The book focuses on the lives of only a few of the women involved during the ancient days of Genghis Khan's Golden Family, but the reader knows immediately that without them, the Khan could not have ruled as effectively. Despite the barbarian label, there were also many benevolent and sophisticated accomplishments of those who were the great Mongol warriors and rulers of clans. Throughout all, the women behind the great men devoted themselves to their families and worked tirelessly at often unbelievably difficult times to preserve the empire.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the People of the Felt circa 1171 CE to 1248 CE. It is historical fiction, with a few liberties noted by the author in her endnote, at its finest.