Publisher: Martin Fruchtman
Publish Date: August 7, 2012
Origins: From Author for Review
Order From: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: This is a historical novel of the Turkic conqueror Timur-i Lang (Tamerlane in the West). Countless novels concerning famous conquerors have been written (Alexander, Julius Caesar, Attila, and Genghis Khan) while Timur has been largely ignored. Based on historical accounts, this novel seeks to cover Timur's conquest of West, South, and Central Asia. While focusing on events from the distant past, the story still finds alarming echoes in current events. Until very recently, what contemporaries consider gratuitous violence was unfortunately a tactic of war, and the way of life. A consequential historical reality was that the fate of Asia was in much trouble as Timur solved numerous problems by decapitating his opponents and, per an eyewitness, erected giant pyramids of skulls. It was an effective technique to intimidate and deal with his adversaries.
Review: Timur is the great-great grandson of Genghis Khan and, as with any generation, wanted to out-do those who came before. It is easier to inspire cooperation/submission from others when you use intimidation, such as Timur’s pyramid of skulls – a grotesque objet d’art created from the heads of his enemies. Timur was particularly intelligent and knew in his time, violence got attention. He left a bloody swath through the Middle East in his fight for power. This story is narrated by Timur’s Jewish doctor and seen through the cultural mores of his faith and the time period. ‘Pyramid of Skulls’ is not for the faint-hearted as it is filled with many graphically brutal atrocities. You can tell Mr. Fruchtman researched long and hard on the culture, time period, and historically significant events and people which populate his book. This is a highly enjoyable story which is a gory window into what was and sets the ground for events in more recent history.