Magazine April 20, 2009, Issue

Paleo Khan

Mongolians work at the Parliament courtyard to install sculptures of Mongolia’s historical kings, including an eight-meter-high sculpture of Genghis Khan in the capital Ulan Bator, July 6, 2006. (Nir Elias/Reuters)
Charlotte Allen reviews Conn Iggulden’s trilogy of historical novels about Genghis Khan

In The Dangerous Book for Boys, the name Genghis Khan appears precisely once. It’s a passing reference, toward the end, in a section on the Great Wall of China. Yet co-author Conn Iggulden thinks Genghis is worth far more than that. When he isn’t writing about how to tie knots or conveying other lessons of boyhood, he’s a historical novelist — and he has just completed a rollicking trilogy of books on the Mongolian conqueror.

He has chosen an excellent subject. During the 13th century, the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan and his sons, grandsons, and generals built the largest (in land

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