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What happens when dangerous boys grow up

March 23, 2009 |  6:23 am

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Conn Iggulden, who wrote "The Dangerous Book for Boys" with his brother Hal, is also fond of writing brazen manly historical fiction. His third Genghis Khan book, "Genghis: Bones of the Hills," is roaring toward shelves this week. There are swords and battles and sacrifices and drunken binges and arrows and daggers and wounds and horses; there are blood and and pain and danger and brutality and vomit and slaughter. And there are fathers, and sons.

"You can't find better stories than those in history. That's why I write historical fiction.... I like the big stories that you can't keep in just one book," Conn Iggulden said in a 2007 video interview.

The term "lad lit" was coined to describe books about immature guys in their 20s and their metropolitan lives, a kind of "Bridget Jones for men" (lad lit didn't do so well). So this kind of muscled, fighting fiction is more testosterone-filled than lad lit. What to call it: Man lit? Adventure lit? Warrior lit? Whatever it is, surely it's not chick lit.

Except that's exactly where Iggulden's taste for these tales came from. "My Irish mother told me vivid stories of history and grisly executions from a young age," he told The Guardian.

So "Genghis: Bones of the Hills" might be a dangerous book, but it could be for anyone, even moms. Moms who don't mind a grisly execution or brutal sword fight, that is.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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