Monday, January 24, 2011

A trip can change your life and Conor Grennan's book, little princes, documents this fact as he writes about his sojourn to an orphanage in Nepal. When he decided to take a year off to travel  Grennan, decided to add a brief stint of volunteering to his journey so it wouldn't seem quite so self indulgent. An orphanage in Nepal sounded interesting, even if he didn't know anything about kids - well, it was just a few weeks so how hard could it be? 

Grennan discovers that the young boys have many lessons to teach him about survival, joy, charity and life. How he takes these lessons and uses them to navigate his own life and then to begin unraveling the mysteries of  the child trafficking web in Nepal that ensnares his young friends makes this story compelling and extraordinary reading. Civil War has ravaged Nepal and its families and Grennan makes it his mission to reunite the little princes with their families - families who willing gave up all they owned in the belief they were giving their children a chance at a better life.

A great read and one that will move you to action --- check out Conor Grennan's  web page at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Khan: Empire of Silver

Khan: Empire of Silver is the fourth of Conn Iggulden's series about Genghis Khan's Mongol empire - this time without Genghis to anchor the story. Court intrigue among the remaining brothers (and grandsons), battles (he writes these so very well), family relations (or lack there of), trying to hold an empire together that at times seemed to be glued together only by the blood and wrath of Genghis proves difficult for his heirs as their thoughts are scattered by dreams of glory.

Like all of Iggulden's previous books it has fascinating history to draw in the reader but this particular time I personally found it difficult to keep up with the characters. There were so many that it was often hard to remember who was who.

Nonetheless, the history was very informative and I learned so much (I never knew the Mongols had fought the Templars, nor about the Battle with King Bela of Hungary.) But I was most intrigued by the story of a younger brother's sacrifice to heal his elder brother (a shaman’s idea.)

A worthy read for a history buff or anyone interested in the Mongols, historical battles or family sagas.