“Nayanika Mahtani sets out to explore whether Genghis Khan really was the evil villain that he is often made out to be. Prepare for a riveting, rip-roaring read packed with unusual surprises!”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Gory it certainly is. And gory where bad puns are concerned as well. Nayanika Mahtani has hit on a way to introduce history to kids by slipping it in with everything they love. Genghis the Great and Gory Khan is brought in as Temujin, a baby who slid into the world clutching a blood clot.
Mahtani tells the reader the story of his life through characters like a crazy yak -appropriately called Yakkety Yak – who occasionally yakks too much for his own good and a media reporter called Yuherdit Hearfurst mic in hand who steps through the steppes keeping pace with the news. There is also an expert called Ireed Thesigns who gets called in to comment on anything supernatural – since the Mongols aren’t exactly natural. Of course not all the puns in the world can lessen the effects of Genghis’ brutality but it does make a point about the way the world was in those days. Not that it’s all gory – Mahtani lists Genghis Khan’s achievements in the field of paper money, compasses and trousers as well. And she does explain that the word ‘hack’ is not restricted to computers.
Adding to the information are maps and family trees linking Genghis Khan to the Mughuls which makes the story more real for schoolchildren in India. Perhaps this is the start of a revolutionary method of teaching history – though it would only work for the more exciting rulers.
Added 6th May 2017