In Tamerlane, Justin Marozzi proves that following Genghis Khan as emperor had to have been a daunting task, particularly for a physically lame peasant such as Temur (his nickname, Tamerlane, was an outgrowth of his physical lameness). After all, how do you take over for a bloody psychopath? According to the example of Tamerlane, by being an equally bloody tyrant.
With his ferocious armies and a ruthless taste for torture, Tamerlane ruled with a fist of fury. Considering the areas he conquered, from Asia to Africa and Europe, this bloodthirsty patron of the arts is considered in the league of Alexander the Great.
Marozzi’s attention to historical research is both evident and quite admirable. For those non-history buffs, the reading may be a bit slow going – something like slogging through the sands over which Tamerlane ruled. Descriptions become a bit tedious at times but, for the most part, are livened up by previously unknown quotations from contemporaries of the tyrant.
History junkies will be repulsed yet fascinated by Marozzi’s account of this little-remembered, once greatly feared man.