A novel of the thirteenth-century Mongolian warrior, and the women who surrounded him, that offers “a panoramic view of the charismatic leader” (Library Journal).
In 1167, in the harsh homeland of Mongol tribes, a child was born who was to change the course of human history. His father named him Temujin, but the world knows him as Genghis Khan. Set amid the barbaric splendor of the Mongol hordes, Ruler of the Sky tells the tale of the warrior who forged one of the greatest and most terrifying armies the world had ever seen, and conquered the world from Peking to Persia. Not only is this the story of Genghis Khan, it is also the story of those who were closest to him, especially the women who played such an important role in his life. From the windswept plains of Mongolia to the opulence of the Chinese court, Ruler of the Sky is unforgettable.
The ruthless 13th-century warrior Genghis Khan, who built a vast empire in his drive for world conquest, is the subject of this workmanlike historical novel, a panorama of warfare, intrigue, sex and betrayal. In Sargent's ( The Shore of Women ) somewhat romanticized portrayal, the Mongol ruler is a schizoid figure capable of both monstrous savagery and saintly humility and forgiveness. We see Genghis Khan through the eyes of women who loved and manipulated him. His doting mother, Honelun, stirs his lust for vengeance by telling tall tales of his father's poisoning. His chief wife, Bortai, is bitter over his neglect of her. Another wife, Ibakha, rashly attempts to convert the ruler from worship of the sky-god Tengri to Christianity. Still another spouse, Ch'i-kyuo, a ladylike Chinese princess, has lesbian trysts with a Han concubine. Genghis Khan himself enjoys simultaneously bedding two additional wives, Tatar sisters Yisui and Yisugen, and we also read of his homosexual relationship with a friend whom he later orders to be hung. Sargent's flat prose is plodding and ridden with cliches, but it helps anchor the exotic excesses of the violent world she describes.