Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden (Conqueror #3)

bones of the hills book cover
Good but not Great – 3 Stars

This third book which wraps up the Genghis Khan Trilogy/Story Arc, left me feeling a bit disappointed.  Having been wowed by the first two books in the series, I went into this one expecting the same level of excitement, battle and intrigue.  What I got was watered down version of the first two.  To be honest, I  believe much of disappointment stemmed from the fact that, unlike the first two, I listened to this one in the audio format.  The experience with the audio was below average and it had an effect on my rating.

Plot Outline

The final book in the Genghis Khan saga focuses on the later years of his life and his conquest in Arab and Islamic lands.  Genghis is faced with a new breed of fighter and must seek to survive fanatical jihadist fighter bent on his destruction.  Unlike his earlier conquests, he could not simple integrate his new enemy into  his own nation.  Unlike previous novels, there is substantial focus on the brothers and sons of Genghis.  We get to see the men the have all become and their own abilities is war and leadership.

My Thoughts

While I took issue with some elements of the novel, it succeeded on several fronts.

Character Growth

This novel presents a far more introspective Genghis Khan.  We see him struggle with concepts of leading cities as opposed to nomadic tribes.  He fights with deception, disrespect and his own succession.  I was interesting to see the development of rest of this large case of characters.

Great Locations

As with the first two in the series, the locations to which Genghis and his nation travel are one of the highlights of the book.  In this book, Genghis travels into Arab lands and the cold inhospitable mountains turn to dusty and arid deserts.  The changes also give way to a new breed of fighters fueled by religious fervor.  Again, the ancient descriptions of modern lands is fascinating and well drafted.

But I Still Feel a Bit Let Down

I found that this installment did not engage me in the same manner as the first two.  First and foremost I must point out that this review if for the audiobook format as narrated by Richard Ferrone.  While he was a decent narrator, his reading of this style of novel left much to be desired.  He simply did not do this text justice and I found the written version of the first two to be FAR superior to the audio.  I believe that had I read this installment that I would have been far more satisfied.

Additionally, my expectations from the first two books left me disappointed with the third.  There is always an epic battle or two in which the Mongol warriors face long odds.  This novel was no different in that there were some epic battles.  The problem was the description of the battles was inferior to the others.  Genghis and his warriors faced some incredibly long odds yet I felt a bit confused as to how he accomplished his feats.  It may be the focus on developing the secondary characters took away from the overall plot.

Can this one stand alone – No.  This is the culmination of the Genghis Trilogy. You must read them all in order.

Final Thoughts

After loving the first two, I found this one to be underwhelming and disappointing completion to story of Genghis Khan.  The remaining books in the series continue the story of the Mongol clans but at this point I am unsure if I will continue reading.  That said, I do recommend the first three books in the series.  The life of Genghis Khan is an amazing story and one you should know.

Sex  –  1.5

There are some minor discussion regarding sex.  There is one mildly graphic scene of sexual abuse of power but it is brief.


Mild Obscenities – 4 F-Words – 0 Religion Exclamations – 0

The use of adult language is incredibly low and suitable for all ages.

Violence  – 4

War and violence is constant throughout. If you have read the first two you will know that hundreds of thousands of people will die throughout the novel.

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Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.