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The Ten Thousand

(The Macht #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,337 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Tough, gritty fantasy to compete with George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and David Gemmell. By a critically acclaimed and highly praised author. The start of a brand new epic series. Retelling of the classic Greek history from Xenophon. Supported by targeted marketing, including ARCs, advertising in the genre press and online support.

On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a m
Mass Market Paperback, 465 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Solaris
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mspotts Very very minor. There is mention of God-made armour and non-human races but aside from that this novel is primarily historical military fiction. It's…moreVery very minor. There is mention of God-made armour and non-human races but aside from that this novel is primarily historical military fiction. It's a good read though!(less)

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3.79  · 
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Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

The Ten Thousand is a grimdark fantasy penned by Paul Kearney. Inspired by the historical journey of ten thousand Greek warriors in the Persian Empire circa 401 BC, this tale is a gritty, bloody, and brutal look at the realities of ancient war (especially civil war) and its undeniable horrors. With more than a few fantastical elements added, Kearney turns this into far more than historical fiction, but magic does not play as large a role in the narrative as som
Mike (the Paladin)
I've been in a reading slump of late. I think I'm harder to please now, maybe I've just read too many books over too many years I don't know. Now I look for a book to draw me in at some basic emotional and intellectual level. I don't care if it's deep or if it's brain candy it seems that somehow I need to connect or something.

So, I've had a lot of mediocre reads and not a few disappointments lately. This happily isn't one of them

I've had this book on my shelves for some time, I've nominated it
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
The Macht are a people out of legend in the land of the Kufr. A hardened mercenary-centered people that live for war and make a living through it. Where would be a better place to go when you're looking to overthrow a kingdom?

And to be honest, the plot has a couple twists and turns, but this is basically it. The Ten Thousand reminded me a lot of Steve Erikson's Deadhouse Gates. There's an epic force that has to make it's way through an entire continent,which is the only way to safety, but which
Daniel Ionson
Kearney can certainly write. His descriptions are rich and fluid, and he creates a strong sense of another time and place (which is a common failure of some Fantasy writers).

Readers should go into this book prepared for a non-Fantasy tale, regardless of the marketing label. We could spend hours arguing about what is (and isn't) a "real Fantasy" story, but the common expectations of the genre will not be met for most. For me, this is only a 'Fantasy' novel in that it's not taken from some direct
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my first read by author Paul Kearney and I will say that I enjoyed his writing style. Kearney presents a nice balance of description without getting too verbose, and the story was easy to follow. "The Ten Thousand" is a fantasy version of the real life march of Xenophon's army through ancient Greece, and the military conflicts in this book mirror the style of the popular Greek phalanx.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys military fantasy, and would also recommend
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I almost gave it 4.5 stars, but I figured I'd round up since this book was so good.

A fair warning, this is COMPLETELY a military fantasy book. If you don't enjoy large battles, guts, blood, and death, then look elsewhere because this book is chalk full of all the above.

Technically you could almost call this a historical fantasy, since it purposefully mirrors events in Greek history. This book follows a large group of mercenaries as they fight for an usurper to the throne of the largest empire a
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’ve toyed with reading this before but was never fully committed until recently when i read a 10/10 review on a fantasy fiction website.

Based on a real campaign way back when just after the dinosaurs died out, The Ten Thousand is a retelling of when Cyrus the Younger attempted a coup on his brother who ruled the Persian Empire in 401BC. In the book Brother ‘A’ hires a mercenary army from across the sea to aid in his attempt to overthrow his King brother. Brother ‘B’ learns of the impending atta
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm glad I started this. I went in to it not expecting much but I loved everything about this book.
The story revolves around the Macht army, who are hired by a rebel self proclaimed King with an eye on his brother's Empire. Let's just say if the Macht got even a glimpse of what awaited them across the Sea they would have declined this contract with a 'no, thank you'...but then where would the epic story be?
This was beautiful writing, where every sentence had meaning. The world building is supe
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Wasn't going to a written review for this, but it as a book its bugging me.

Good points are its well written, great battle scenes.

bad points not much in way of character building at all in this story.

Theres enough goodness in this to make me want to read the next one to see how that pans out.
"It is stubbornness, Vorus realised. That is what sets us apart. We Macht will fight on when there is no hope of victory. We are stubborn bastards, worse than mules. It is not even a matter of courage."

Hacía tiempo que tenía agregado este libro en mi lista y menos mal que decidí leerlo, fue el mejor libro de fantasía que leí en lo que va del año.

A grandes rasgos, el libro es protagonizado por los Macht, una raza de soldados sin igual (similares a los espartanos) que se emplean como mercenar
Xara Niouraki
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
The Ten Thousand was a difficult book to rate. I was thinking of giving it four stars, but in the end I ended up giving three. Although it is considered a fantasy book, I believe it is military fiction, as there are very few fantasy elements in the book.

The story: I found the story interesting and it managed to keep my attention until the half of the book. After reaching 50% give or take, I was a little bored and I started to read quickly to finish it. There were parts where the writer focused
Mogsy (MMOGC)
This is perhaps my first real taste into the sub-genre of "military fantasy" and I don't know, maybe it's just not for me. I realize the story is directly based on the historical events from Xenophon's Anabasis, so it's hard to really feel much suspense when you know what's going to happen already.

Still, even Kearney's own embellishments felt kind of predictable and slightly irksome, the one that stood out to me most being Jason's relationship with the Kufr woman, and his constant reiteration o
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book was so intense I had to take a break a few times while reading it. Okay, I didn't know what happened to those ten thousand Greek mercenaries in the Persian Empire on whose story the author based this book, and I didn't want to know beforehand, so, every turn of the events was a surprise for me and I was biting my nails all the way. The story was awesome, shocking and touching at the same time, and the book was dark, powerful, emotional and full of beautiful imagery. I loved how it was b ...more
WOW!, WOW! and WOW!
I literally could not stop reading once I started and this was not a small book, I finished in two sittings. Just Amazing, Paul Kearney just became a favorite of mine. This is the kind of stuff I've been wanting to read, stuff thats gets your blood pumping. Impeccable characterization and the battle ummmph the battles amazing amazing read.
fantasy fiction is everything
The Ten Thousand is my tenth original English fantasy ficiton!!
The whole story include little magic element and multitude of military strategies.It is not disppoint because of little magic in this book.Many battle scene make you want to keep readig.One of military fantasy i`ve read this year which is so gorgeous.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This one has been on my list for quite some time now, and with comparisons to Steven Erikson and George R.R. Martin how could I not give this one a try? Well after finishing book 1 of the Macht trilogy I can say that the comparisons ring true. This is top notch military fantasy overflowing with blood, sweat, and tears.

The Macht are a mercenary group that dwells in the mountains of the Harukush. To put it simply they are like Spartans for hire. They fight in tight formations using spear and shie
Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Second modern retelling of Xenophon Anabasis after MC Ford's The Ten Thousand of 2001.

With a little bit of fantasy trappings rather than straight historical, but superb nonetheless. Even though we know most of the action, Mr. Kearney's energetic prose drives the book and I could not put it down.

The battles and especially the heavy infantry fighting typical of the Greek - Macht here - phalanx is extremely well done and several characters stand out.

I've read all 3 including the original, and wh
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Estamos delante de un libro repleto de épica que nos muestra desde dentro y con mucho realismo lo más crudo de la guerra.

Kearney siempre ha destacado a la hora de plantear batallas, estrategias militares etc...Y de nuevo hace gala de esos grandes conocimientos en esta historia basada en la Grecia clásica (en concreto en la Anábasis )

Conociendo esta historia, uno se da cuenta que Kearney casi la sigue al pie de la letra, por lo que quizás la trama quede algo sosa y carente de un mayor número de
Sep 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, fantasy-fiction
For the first 180 pages I thought this book was surprisingly good, but then it got surprisingly boring. I don't read fantasy fiction for battles 'men of bronze'/early Mediterranean-style where there really isn't anything that defines it as different to an historical fiction. I like fantasy fiction to feel like fantasy. This was like reading a Steven Pressfield historical fiction.
There was nothing wrong with the author's writing. He is talented in that respect (despite his overuse of the fictiona
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney
Published by Solaris Books
ISBN: 9781844166473
Published September 2008 (ARC copy received)
560 pages

For some fans of the Epic Fantasy genre, the world is a clearly delineated place. Men are men, women are women and each follows their designated societal and cultural roles. The idea of (usually) athletically-muscled heroes, skilled in hand to hand fighting, who do what they have to do in difficult, if not impossible, circumstances and who live their lives mainly up t
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-medieval
The start of this book is a little shaky. Even having finished the book I don't know that the first few chapters were neccessary and throughout the book there are more areas similar to the first few chapters that were not required and read like they were written by a different author.
I found the book was about on par with a typical gamer book like WOW or Warhammer; good with lots of action but very little character development.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Paul Kearney si-a publicat primul roman, intitulat The Way to Babylon, la Gollancz in anul 1992, scotand apoi aproape cate un roman pe an pina in 2000, pentru ca apoi sa mareasca intervalul la cam 2 ani de zile.

Pare deci un autor care nu se grabeste sa scoata ceva pe piata neaparat de amorul vanzarilor si al artei, unul ce sta si-si gandeste romanele foarte bine, acordand a atentie deosebita celor mai mici detalii. De retinut e ca ii place sa scrie mai mult epic fantasy, lucrarile sale fiind ase
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Paul Kearney has created a fantastic world in which to spin his tale. The battle scenes are realistic and the drudgery and filth of a long expedition had me scratching my hair. The characters are well developed and the surprises throughout the story kept me constantly guessing as to what would happen next. One of the better sci-fi/fantasy stories I have read in a long while.
Mohammed Abdi Osman
Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Heroic Fantasy/S&S
Paul Kearney shows again his strengths and why i rate him so highly. Great believable characters,grim unromantic world,great action,story.

For me in this kind down to earth heroic fantasy i dont think any current fantasy writer is close to him. I think of greats like Robert.E Howard,David Gemmell when i read his books.

He also has great prose for a contemporary heroic fantasy writer.

Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Bit mean on the old stars aren't you, you old twit ? This was a good book, right ?

Yeah it was, and yes I've been pretty economical with those stars, that's true, but then there are reasons for it.

On the face of it this it looked like a fictional version of the 10,000, which all students of ancient Greek history and readers of the likes of Christian Cameron or Valerio Manfredi know is the fabled return against all odds journey of a Greek mercenary force raised to help dear old Cyrus the-not-so-gr
Jun 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review is originally available at Realms of Speculative Fiction

“The Ten Thousand” lays a new cornerstone for the vastly under-appreciated fantasy author Paul Kearney that marks his rebirth as a writer under the wing of a new publisher, Solaris. They made a sweet deal with Kearney not only to publish his forthcoming standalone novel “The Ten Thousand” -- release date: Aug 26 in US and Sep 1 in UK -- and to re-release his outstanding “Monarchies of God” series encompassed within two hefty omn
Lady Alexandrine
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story! It is more a historical fiction novel than a fantasy novel. The world created in this book is both exotic and heroic. It is about war, mercenaries and in general tough guys that fight with spears. Women are not important in the story, which is not necessary a bad thing. The realities of everyday life and culture of the Macht are similar to those of Ancient Greece. With the exception of Sparta, women didn't play any political or military role in the Free Cities. If you enjoyed the mo ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: soldiers, recommended
I love this book. It is well written, no, beautifully written. The language and style are elegant and p0ignant, without going over the top a la Guy Gavriel Kay. Yes, I'm comparing to GG Kay, because the book is Historical Fiction, albeit a lot more accurate than Kay's works.
The series is based on Xenophon's Anabasis, which I have, of course, read. This means that I know how the story will unfold, and certain key (twist) elements weren't a surprise. That wasn't a problem, it made the drama and e
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books
"On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For centuries now, they have remained within the fastnesses of the Harukush Mountains. They have become little more than a rumour.

In the vast world beyond, the teeming races and peoples of Kuf have been united within the bounds of the Asurian Empire, a continent-spanning colossus. The Empire rules the known world, and is invincible.
Natalie Portmanteau
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Wow, so what to say about this.

The battle sequences were frankly amazing and somehow I'd never read a fantasy book based on Roman/Greek warfare which was a really interesting change. However, and it's a pretty big however, basically none of the events concerning a woman was anything other than rape and I'm honestly not even exaggerating. I don't think he even mentioned a woman outside of the context of rape more than a handful of times with the exception of one single character. It was really di
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Paul Kearney was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, in 1967. He went to a local grammar school, and then to Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Middle English

Shortly after leaving Oxford, he went on a solitary climbing trip to the Isle of Skye, and it was after tumbling off a mountain there that the character of Michael Riven first came to him. The first half of Th

Other books in the series

The Macht (3 books)
  • Corvus (The Macht, #2)
  • Kings of Morning (The Macht, #3)