#013 Horselords by David Cook (Empires Trilogy Book 1)
Read 5/10/19 to 8/10/19
Another series I was prepared not to like- wrong! It started slow, or rather I'm reading along thinking this is just some sort of rehash of the exploits of Genghis Khan set in the Forgotten Realms, in or en route to Kara-Tur... which it is, but then my interest got well and truly piqued. Koja, a holy Lama, is sent to meet with Yamun Khahan (like Khan- with an extra 'ha' in the middle, for laughs) who has pacified the various Tuigan clans and now comes equipped with an army made to conquer. Anyway, Yamun likes our man Koja, and so gets ratted (on fermented/curdled horse's milk, that's some hard drinking) one night and shows the priest what he can do. He stomps out into the pouring rain with thunder and lightning all around (and remember we're in/on the steppes here- that's a lot of horizon- you get good value for your storm). Anyway the big man (Yamun) heads in to the fury, while all of the other horselords take fright, and then gives Teylas (God of Lightning) the verbal V-sign. The Khan, sorry... Khahan thereafter plays the part of lightning conductor, the big man's left glowing like one of the Windscale kids*
Next day, fully charged, Yamun is on it- Koja is hired, whether he likes it or not- as official Yamun Khahan historian- next stop to make some history.
Thereafter the trials and tribulations of conquest, with a pair of sneaky back-stabbing bastards in the camp- family, and best friend- natch. It's a rollicking tail, a little meh here and there but mostly your reading and watching waiting to see what the big feller gets up to next. As I said at the start, it's real world- a Forgotten Realms retelling of Mr. G. Khan esquires kill-and-tell romp through the middle part of nobody-much's empire.
I was hooked from the lightning bit- Khahan is suitably violent, arrogant (chosen of god, yer bound to get a little uppity), cool and even a little enigmatic. He's very likeable- a homicidal maniac that plays by the (his) rules. The bad guys are suitably nasty, and Koja sits in the middle and tells us what he thinks.
Oh, but in the background, the mighty empire of Shou Lung- keep an eye on those bad boys, Khahan does.
*Windscale kids refers to the Windscale nuclear reactor which 'went on fire' (a common phrase used in insurance claims, oddly) one day in 1957 and some fallout may (or may not) have got out and left its mark on the children of the area. I bet they got glowing marks at school.