The Horde is an impressively researched and intelligently reasoned book that will be welcomed by historians of the Mongol Empire. Its main problem, however, is that it’s often bewilderingly complex. Too much attention is devoted to tedious succession battles rather than to the fascinating detail of daily life on the steppe. The Mongols’ human side is not intricately drawn. Favereau is an engaging writer when she chooses to be but she’s too wedded to academic convention — the rigid and formulaic rules about how history must be written.