Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ten Thousand (The Macht #1)” as Want to Read:
The Ten Thousand (The Macht #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ten Thousand

(The Macht #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,506 ratings  ·  165 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ten Thousand, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,506 ratings  ·  165 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Ten Thousand (The Macht #1)
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
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, grimdark, fantasy
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
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
Apr 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
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
Manuel Antão
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Thucydides Retold: "The Ten Thousand" by Paul Kearney

As someone who doesn't read much fantasy, I think the following things put me off some of the books I've tried:

- Everyone being "Someone of Somewhere, son of Someone else";

- Too many names being descriptive (Redbeard, Strong-in-the-arm, Thick-Dick, etc.)

- Too much of the dialogue being clearly written with Brian Blessed or Cate Blanchett in mind.

- Stereotypes, or indeed deliberate ov
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
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.
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
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
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Part fantasy part historical fiction based on the 400BC historical journey of ten thousand Greek warriors across the Persian Empire. Plenty of well-scripted battle scenes which did not shy away from the blood, mud, desperation and horrific injuries.
The 10,000 were mercenaries whose employer lost the plot and they find the need to transverse the empire to get to the sea and escape to their homeland. The author explored the dynamics of leadership, the way an army can lose its discipline and desce
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.
Jeremy Jackson
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A (slightly) fantastical retelling of the historical journey of ten thousand Greek warriors into the Persian empire, as found in Xenophon. If you enjoy dark, gritty military fantasy, Kearney writes some of the best.

We follow Rictus, an Iscan whose city has been razed and his family slain after his Spartan people fell in a large-scale battle with a neighboring city-state (“Spartan” is not only an apt adjective here, but also representative). He falls in with Gasca, a fellow warrior-hopeful, and
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 w
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.
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.

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.
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
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.
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 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
this book is rough no soft side,to it little character development,much violence and death. a lot of fighting it's more a military story.not much of a plot just a few twists.I didn't invest emotionally in the characters, but the story has a fast pace and a lot of flowing action so no boring parts at all. I liked it a lot it has a high military action. and there is a little bit story about the strange world with original gods and mythical history of religion. I gave it 5 stars becau
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Runelords (Runelords #1)
  • Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, #1)
  • The Dragon's Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1)
  • A Shadow in Summer (Long Price Quartet, #1)
  • The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing, #1)
  • Firewalkers
  • Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)
  • Legend (The Drenai Saga, #1)
  • Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc, #1)
  • Driving the Deep (Finder Chronicles, #2)
  • War of the Maps
  • Hand of Mars (Starship's Mage, #2)
  • The Broken Empire Trilogy: Prince of Thorns / King of Thorns / Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1-3)
  • Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1)
  • A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1)
  • The Books of the South (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #3.5-5)
  • A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)
  • The Towers of the Sunset (The Saga of Recluce, #2)
See similar books…
Paul Kearney was born in rural County Antrim, Ireland, in 1967. His father was a butcher, and his mother was a nurse. He rode horses, had lots of cousins, and cut turf and baled hay. He often smelled of cowshit.

He grew up through the worst of the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland, a time when bombs and gunfire were part of every healthy young boy's adolescence. He developed an unhealthy interest in f

Other books in the series

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

Related Articles

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
148 likes · 32 comments