The Sky Worshippers
F. M. Deemyad
Published: March 2, 2021 by History Through Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Historical Fiction
In the year 1398 A.D., Lady Goharshad and her husband, King Shahrokh, come across an ancient manuscript in the ruins of Karakorum, the Mongol capital. The manuscript chronicles the era of Mongol invasions with entries by three princesses from China, Persia, and Poland who are captured and brought to the Mongol court.
Through beautiful language and powerful storytelling, this fact-based historical novel lays bare the once far-reaching and uncompromising Mongol empire. It shows readers the hidden perspectives of the captive, conquered, and voiceless. It brings to light the tremendous but forgotten influence of Genghis Khan and his progeny, while asking readers to reconsider the destruction and suffering of the past on which the future is built.
This book was a very ambitious debut for author F.M. Deemyad. The scope of the book is extensive. It covers the beginning of the Mongol Empire all the way through several generations of its rulers. The book starts off strong with the initial expansion of the Mongol Empire by Genghis Khan. Chaka, a captured Persian princess, makes every attempt to bring culture and the art of statesmanship to the otherwise rough and seemingly brutish style of the Mongols. Her resolve to record the events that she is made aware of is the thread used to bind together the other main characters of the book.
As the Mongols continued to expand their empire and sack all those who would not capitulate to their rule, the descendants of Genghis Khan captured their own princesses and made attempts to define their own legacies. The book fell flat for me about mid-way through and I struggled through the last half. While the characters of Reyhan and Krisztina provide examples of how the Mongols absorbed the cultures of those nations and regions that they conquered, and they give the author the needed outlet for connecting the different time periods, I didn’t find them compelling enough figures to care what happened to them.
Readers will find Deemyad’s prose consistently strong and appreciate how she provided multiple viewpoints of those who lived through that time-period. A strong debut that clearly exhibits the level of research the author dedicated to the book.
I received an advance copy of this title via NetGalley, and the publisher in cooperation with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.