“King Genghis I” by Jonathan Yalon

As you might guess from the title, “King Genghis” is a rom-com with a twist, a cross between “Anna and the King of Siam” and “The Mouse that Roared.” It involves an imaginary kingdom in the middle of Asia ruled by a clone of Kim Jong-un. The hero, Turan, was born there but brought up in New York, a city that hasn’t treated him well lately, so he jumps at the chance to visit his homeland. Which is fine, until he discovers he can’t leave.

The real suspense doesn’t begin until late in the story, but from that point on it really rocks, with a palace coup, a chase through the halls of the United Nations building, secret tunnels, and a sweet love story. The political situation in the kingdom smacks of as much reality as you want in such a light story.

I think too much time was spent in the early chapters on carefully setting up the society and the politics, and too little spent on the personalities of the main characters. Except for the hero, who we come to know intimately, and to sympathize with completely. Turan is a realistically-drawn modern young man, unremarkable in any way, who is thrust by circumstance into a situation beyond his control. Almost. How he manages to create the courage to make the right decision is the content of the book, and that part works out perfectly. The supposed plot twist at the end is, when you think of it, completely in tune with his character, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

A fun read with modern political overtones.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)


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