The Mongoliad: Collector's Edition

Written by Erik Bear, Greg Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland,
Cooper Moo, Neal Stephenson & Mark Teppo

Published by:

an imprint of:

ISBN: 978-1612184-69-2 (book one)
ISBN: 978-1612185-60-6 (book two)
ISBN: 978-1612187-24-2 (book three)
Edition size: unlimited
MSRP: $40.00 each

Reviewed by: C. Thomson
Rating: Recommended

The Mongoliad Cycle was originally written as a series of three books. The only option, if a reader/collector wanted them in hardcover, was to get the deluxe editions by 47North. And what was delivered in a moderately priced deluxe hardcover is quite well done. Each of the three carries a similar art style, using a solid color theme with a variety of silhouettes on the boards in black, gold, or silver. On a shelf, the three look like they belong together, which is always the first worry I have with a series (and some publishers that change artists or production designs have really flubbed this). This year and early next year (2014) are seeing the addition of two more books to the series, but no hardcover versions on the horizon, which may be both good and bad for the reasons cited above about matching editions.

Although the pages are glued into the binding, the books feel of quality construction and have key design elements that many other deluxe or limited books are without: deckled page edges, ribbon marker, and graphic endpapers. Between the three, the endpapers are exactly the same, but each is color matched to the central theme of the book’s design, which is a nice way to pull everything together. Two small issues with the books' design and construction are thus: for some reason, the authors decided to jam the third book with tons of extra story, so it is quite a bit larger than the other two (plus the order of authors has changed on the cover from alphabetical to some unknown order); and the ribbon markers are a bit confusing. To expound on the latter issue, the first book’s marker is silver followed by two books with black. And while each color suits the book, on a shelf it leaves one wondering why is only one silver? Is it because it was a design oversight and the production team forgot they had used black for the second book? Or did a colored marker cost just that little bit more? Whatever the answer, I would like to have to see them as all the same color or each one a different color.

In addition to the beauty of the outside of each book, the inside of these deluxe editions has just as many bells and whistles. Exclusive to these printings is an illustrated character glossary, where each character is depicted on a full page with a short definition and a prequel SideQuest short story that was sold previously. The glossary is a nice frame of reference that can refresh the memory of what each character may look like or what they are wearing. The short story inclusions are different for each of the books and, at the time of publication, were the only subsequent material available. Therefore, it is nice to have all of the source material nicely packaged into this three book series (notwithstanding all of the future publications).

To conclude, I would give it a recommended rating in the hope that deluxe editions are produced to match the first three books for the fourth and fifth in the series. Having only the three would leave it incomplete and cast into doubt the desire to own any of the Mongoliad Cycle. Likewise, if the production of deluxe editions is forthcoming, but the styles are drastically different, the same doubts are present. One thing is for certain - these are good looking books that are also quite affordable.

All three book spines.

Each book features embedded ribbonmarkers, but glued bindings. You win some and you lose some.

The front board of book 1.

Book 1's back.

Book 1's color-matched front endpapers, featuring a map of Eurasia (Europe, Russia, and Asia).

Book 1's title page.

Book 1's copyright and dedication pages.

Book 1's table of contents.

Pages 174 & 175 (sample text).

Pages 470 & 471, featuring art by Mike Grell.

Book 2's front board.

Book 2's back.

Book 2's front endpapers, with the same map, but color-matched.

The front of book 3.

Book 3's back.

Book 3's front endpapers, again with a color-matched map of Eurasia.