The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan by Stephanie Thornton

20893339In the late twelfth century, across the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, brilliant, charismatic Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself the Great, or Genghis, Khan. But it is the women who stand beside him who ensure his triumph….

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, gifted Borte becomes an outsider within her clan. When she seeks comfort in the arms of aristocratic traveler Jamuka, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man who agreed to marry her and then abandoned her long before they could wed.

Temujin will return and make Borte his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new kingdom. Their daughter, the fierce Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, will transform her desire for revenge into an unbreakable loyalty. And Sorkhokhtani, a demure widow, will position her sons to inherit the empire when it begins to fracture from within.

In a world lit by fire and ruled by the sword, the tiger queens of Genghis Khan come to depend on one another as they fight and love, scheme and sacrifice, all for the good of their family…and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls. – Goodreads

Ummm, damn. I definitely had a book hangover after this one. It was amazing.

I’ve never really been into historical fiction—that is, until recently. Now it’s all I want to read. I first dipped my toes in the historical fiction water last year with Outlander, and have since spread to stories surrounding ancient Egypt and now ancient Mongolia.

Tiger Queens is split into four stories, which happen in chronological order. The first third of the book focuses on Borte’s story, and the beginning of Genghis Khan’s rule. She is his first wife. It follows her story for quite a few years before skipping forward about seventeen years to follow her daughter’s story. The time jump from Alaqai’s story to Fatima’s story is pretty short, and Fatima’s story in general is short. The book wraps up with Sorkhokhtani’s story.

I loved the way the book told their stories. Sure, the focus was always on Genghis Khan at some point. After all, they were all related or connected to him in some way or another. But the story focuses on these women and how they hold his family together, bear the brunt of the work, support each other, and raise their families. All four women are strong, supportive, and total badasses. They survive terrible things, they have babies without epidurals, they do what they must to make their families proud, they do hard manual labor to ensure their family’s survival.

The writing was smooth and the imagery was great. I could clearly imagine the Mongolian grasslands, the tents, the outfits, the people. It was a truly wonderful read, and I had a difficult time putting it down.

I rated Tiger Queens 5/5 on Goodreads.

L

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