Wars of succession harken back to earliest recorded history. Turning wives against husbands, sisters against brothers, aunts against nephews. The temptation to wear the crown and wield the power of the throne is greater than the blood ties that supposedly hold families together. If driven away by the monarchy becoming a republic, the royalists wait in exile to be summoned home by the acclamation of the populace.
Conqueror by Conn Iggulden, 559 pp, 2012 Harper paperback. Available at Asia Books and leading bookshops, 350 baht
Yet even out there, the fight for ascendancy continues. Often settled by the demise of one of the contenders, whether it was a natural death or not is a moot question. Wars of succession were fought in Europe, Africa, and Asia, though in Japan it was over who would be the best shogun to defend the figurehead emperor. They were prevalent among the Mongol tribes, with each khan striving for the highest stake of them all: the great Khan. Genghis Khan well deserved the title, but he had sons and grandsons and they had ambitious wives, each out to poison the offspring of the others.
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