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Kublai Khan

“What is conveyed here is the sense of awakening, the loneliness and exhilaration of power, the danger and satisfaction of opening up new frontiers. Enjoyable and readable.” Australian Book Review

“The strength of Amy McGrath’s writing lies in her attention to detail, in her vast knowledge of the period, and in her powerful admiration of the hero figure.” Australian Book Publisher

Greater than the Caesars of Rome, the Mongolian dynasty of Genghis Khan went ‘wherever horses’ hooves could go.’

Genghis Khan warned his family to be as one or suffer. Like the Caesars, they were not as one and consequently suffered all the curses of the  Caesars….family quarrels, intriguing ministers, treacherous slaves, rebellions, civil war and the new political terror of the Assassins. But, most amazing of all, the Empire grew none the less.

And the genius of Genghis Khan did not die with him. It lived on in his heirs – to expansion of his Empire, to the Yuan dynasty in China, to the empire of Tamurlane and the Moghuls of India.

The greatest of all Genghis Khan’s descendants was his grandson, Kublai, the child he prophesied, when only 4 years old and many others stood between him and the succession, was most worthy to be his heir.

Genghis Khan’s prophesy came true when Kublai, a genius in peace and war, emerged triumphant from the family turmoil to rule an empire so large and peaceful it was said a maiden with a gold bar on her head could travel for three years unharmed by any man. Kublai Khan’s Empire reached from the China sea to Poland, swept south-west to Baghdad and Jerusalem and received tribute even from Burma and India. He unified China, restored the Grand Canal to Shanghai, and introduced many reforms. 

Kublai Khan lived through many threats to his life, on and off the battlefield. He was saved from the worst threat of all from the man he trusted most, his Arabian Prime Minister Achmad, by his son and his mistress, Miliha.

Kublai was the only member of his family to die in his bed when 84 years old. He was the first, and truly only, Great Khan, a Colossus who bestrode his world and his time. The succession of his Yuan dynasty  fell late 14th century, but extended in the east through Tamurlane’s revival of power into the Moghul dynasty of India.


The story of Kublai Khan begins thus in the early 13th century:

“The vast reach of grassy ‘steppe’ plains, mountains and Gobi desert, known as Mongolia, runs east to west between Chian and Siberia. It is bounded on the south by the artificial barrier of the Great Wall of China built by successive Emperors of northern China over a thousand years to keep the ‘barbarian’ nomad Mongolian tribes out; on the west by the natural barrier of the rearing Altai Montains; on the north by the fierce Siberian forests, on the east by the hostile Tartars of Mancharia.

When Genghis Khan was born as eldest son of a ruling family of one of Mongolia’s seven nations, a bitter civil war had raged amongst them for many years reducing his family to poverty-stricken refugees hunted down by implacable enemies – a time they forever after called the ‘Time of Chaos’.

From his earliest age, Genghis Khan’s mastery not only of all the arms of war, but also the art of warfare, was obvious to all who crossed his path, whether friend or foe. If ever a man was born to lead, when a leader was most needed, it was he.

As the years passed, he ended the divisions that had impoverished the Mongolian nations, leaving them at the mercy of incessant intrigues and incursions from the kingdoms ranged along their southern borders – the Tangut to the west, the Chin to the east. Then he welded a common army into one of the greatest fighting machines the world has ever known by pitting it against the formidable armies and massive cities of both these rich, highly organised kingdoms. And so by overwhelming command, acknowledged by the allegiance of all, he earned his heroic titles – man of Iron, Ocean Great Khan, Lord of Earth and Time and the Four Quarters of the World.

He made the country he ruled rich and prosperous through safe and peaceful trade that began to reach out ever further beyond the narrow scope of his original world – not only south with Mongolian furs and silver to bargain for Chinese silks, carpets, jewels, but also south-west through Central Asia along the ancient Silk Road.”

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