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March 4, 2021

The Sky Worshipers by F. M. Deemyad ~ a Review

by MK French

Lady Goharshad and King Shahrokh find an ancient manuscript in 1398 that chronicles Mongol invasions with entries by three princesses from China, Persia, and Poland who are captured and brought to the Mongol court. Princess Chaka of Tangut had to marry Genghis Khan, and began the chronicle. Princess Reyhan of Persia is kidnapped by Ogodei, Genghis's son and heir, and continues recording events in secret. Princess Krisztina of Poland is taken as a prisoner of war, so Reyhan asks Hulagu, Genghis's grandson, for help. She writes the final entry in the journal.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Sky Worshippers
March 2021; History Through Fiction
978-1732950887; ebook, print (366 pages)
historical fiction
I haven't read many books involving the Mongol empire, let alone one about its women, so I was drawn to this historical novel to find out more. The author is also a scholar of the period and had wondered about the place of women. This scholarship and attention to detail really shows, so it really makes the women come alive.

I felt bad for Chaka, whose kidnapping forced her marriage to Ghengis Khan, though they did have an emotional connection after a time. She was expected to be ornamental, but within the confines of Mongol culture managed to find a place for herself. Her end was sad, but she kept to her ideals and what was important to her to the very end. Theirs is a harsher world than ours, so it really makes Ghengis Khan seem even more ruthless and cruel than historical records paint him. His son isn't the same kind of man, as he's more dismissive, but Rayhan was isolated and frequently looked down upon. It was worse because of her barren state, but at least her education was respected and ultimately gave her a place at court educating the children. Rayhan asked Hulagu to rescue Princess Krisztina of Poland from the captives, and he ultimately married her. Krisztina missed her homeland, even though she came to care for Hulagu; her life ultimately was sad, and she was allowed to go home again when older.

Each of these three princesses tried to live in the middle of the Mongol empire with grace and empathy. It was difficult, when those were not traits honored by the people or the ruling class, and left them isolated. In the final part of the book, when their shared manuscript is found by Mongolian descendants ruling the land, their story affects the queen profoundly. She works to help build monuments and aid the common people, not just the nobility. It's quite the journey through history through the eyes of women. Instead of just hearing about the death toll from wars, we get a chance to see aspects of their culture, how the children are raised, and how they see outsiders and other cultures of the period. The Sky Worshipers is a fascinating way to look into a culture and time period that isn't well known, and I look forward to reading more books in this vein.

Buy The Sky Worshipers at Amazon

Enter the giveaway: The Sky Worshipers

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. Thank you so much for this great review + blog tour support!

    HF Virtual Book Tours