It is the year 1227; Chinggis Khan, Scourge of the East lies cooling in his grave... His sons ride for Karakorum at the heart of the Mongol empire where they will vie for the succession. Yet beyond the knowledge of any in Karakorum an unwanted child of war is driven from her people and forced to take up a new life as the half-breed niece of a Mongol Khan. When young Cnán is branded a witch and condemned to death by her adopted tribe, she must capture the heart of a young warrior if she is to survive.
Far to the west, Raef of Livonia faces a difficult choice between his values and his desire for vengeance. In a world turned upside down, Raef joins a secret brethren of warrior priests. He must take on their fight to defend what remains of civilization against a rising wave of greed and lawlessness. The ensuing turmoil sweeps Raef from his home and drags him into a world of old gods, warring factions, and sudden death.
Between these disparate cultures, the esoteric league of Binders pursue their own objectives. They know that the Mongol nation will soon move against the weakened Empire of Rome and they fear a world in flames if nothing is done. Through their shadowy intelligence web, the Binders hear of a legendary Red Messenger, destined to stem the Mongol invasion. Somehow, the Binders must contrive to bring the Livonian boy together with the half-breed Mongol girl -- for only together can they summon the Red Messenger.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Broken Sky is C.B. Matson's first novel in an ambitious set of prequels to The Mongoliad, the grounbreaking alternative history opus from Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, and others. Taken together, Matson's prequels will span the historical period from the year 1227 right up to the opening of the Mongoliad cycle in 1241.
The Broken Sky recounts the formative years of of Cnan, the crafty Binder who guides a group of warrior monks in their quest to defeat the leader of the Mongols in the Mongoliad trilogy. Growing up an unwanted half-breed, Cnan struggles to find her place in a violent and unforgiving world as the Mongol people take her in reluctantly and quickly brand her a witch, her reward for proving useful again and again. Matson's depiction of the Mongols as a proud yet violent people mirrors the semi-sympathetic view of them in the original Mongoliad books, with an attention to cultural detail that even those books lacked.
The Broken Sky is an intelligent character-driven adventure story that explores the origins of the Mongol incursion, sympathetically from both sides. But please don't let my horribly clunky description frighten you away. This is an incredibly enjoyable, engaging and well-plotted novel. It is simultaneously fast-paced, mature and smart. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves historical adventure - and especially to those who enjoyed the Mongoliad. In fact, it is probably the best introduction to the saga that can be found.
C.B. Matson is a fantastic author. His writing is clear and clever. There were passages in The Broken Sky that remind me of Robert Howard, Ursula Le Guin and Michael Moorecock, without being at all derivative of them. The plot - although complex and wide-ranging - is tightly wound together and each strand is clearly defined. Matson’s range of knowledge is remarkable. Throughout the book we are treated to concise comments on (among...
As a fan of the Mongoliad and the Foreworld Saga, this prequel to the main story was a delightful discovery. Yes, this book could have used a more thorough proofreading, but the characters are so well drawn and the action is so compelling, that I overlooked entirely a few misplaced words. The back story for C'nan was enchanting and I really enjoyed meeting Simon and Raef. I look forward to more about these characters and about the Binders and the Shield Warriors. I sincerely hope the author will continue the story of Raef.
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