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The Macht Trilogy
The Ten Thousand
      Corvus
      Kings of Morning
Paul Kearney
      Paul Kearney
      Paul Kearney
Solaris, 473 pages
      Solaris, 459 pages
      Solaris, 439 pages

The Last Stormlord Stormlord Rising
Stormlord's Exile
Paul Kearney
Paul Kearney was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. He lived for some years in Copenhagen before moving to the United States with his wife. As well as The Monarchies of God saga, he has written The Way to Babylon, A Different Kingdom and Riding the Unicorn, all published by Gollancz. He and his wife moved back to the UK and are living in Cambridge.

Paul Kearney Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Hawkwood and the Kings and Century of the Soldier
SF Site Review: The Ten Thousand
SF Site Review: Hawkwood's Voyage
SF Site Interview: Paul Kearney
SF Site Review: The Second Empire
SF Site Review: The Iron Wars

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

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For those of you out there that love nothing more than reading about heroic last ditch battles against overwhelming odds or get choked up with scenes about the brotherhoods formed when men fight and die together in battle, Paul Kearney is your man. His Macht Trilogy is an excellent example of pure military fantasy and if you are familiar with Kearney's work, you know there aren't that many authors out there who can navigate a battlefield better than he. His Monarchies of the Gods was a terrific series which I highly recommend and The Macht Trilogy, while not being quite up to that standard, isn't that big a step down either. I feel as if any fan of Greek history, military fantasy or anyone who likes a good war story are going to find their time invested in Kearney well rewarded.

Kearney has loosely based his The Ten Thousand on an ancient Greek work entitled Anabasis written by Xenophon. You can Google it if you want to learn more, but personally, I just couldn't help equating the Macht to the Grecian Spartans and I am sure Mr. Kearney won't mind one bit. I guess it is all semantics, they are both Greek and the Macht are depicted as the world's most elite warriors much like the Spartans of ancient times are thought of today.

The Macht Trilogy is centered upon the story's protagonist Rictus. He is the only main character that appears in all three novels, but, fear not, each book sees its fair share of colorful supporting characters. In Kearney's world, the Macht are a race of individual mountainous city-states that are constantly at war with one another. The story of Rictus begins with the sacking of his home city of Isca. The destruction of Isca leaves Rictus homeless and eventually leads him to turn to mercenary work. Eventually, he finds himself a soldier in the largest force of Macht sell-spears ever assembled. The Ten Thousand, as they are come to be known, are hired by the brother of the Great King who rules over all Asuria. The would-be usurper intends to use the Macht elite spearman and their impregnable phalanxes to help win him the throne. The events that transpire within The Ten Thousand eventually lead Rictus to become a legend.

The storyline continues in Corvus and is rather typical, but enjoyable nonetheless. It is twenty years later and Rictus is married with children (big surprise) when he is forcibly recruited by a precocious Macht general named Corvus. Corvus intends to unite the Macht city states and assemble the greatest host the world has ever known. His overall intentions remain somewhat a mystery to his soldiers, but his charisma and unorthodox military brilliance makes men follow him unquestionably. In the Kings of Morning the story takes up right where Corvus ended as he continues to fulfill his destiny and his final intentions come to light. It seems one more great battle will determine Corvus's fate and that of the entire world.

I really enjoyed reading The Macht Trilogy. I love a good war story and, at its roots, that is exactly what we get with Kearney's latest series. He paints a masterful picture of a battlefield and he really knows how to project the sense of camaraderie that evolves between men who go to war together. Kearney's writing is quickly paced and the dialogue sharp. He does a nice effective job of world building by introducing elements of racial and religious animosities while keeping his page count manageable. Of course, readers can apply their own modern day analogies to Kearney's world if they so choose. They are there for the taking, but Kearney won't overwhelm you with symbolism or a great deal of depth in The Macht Trilogy. But he will provide enough substance to keep demanding readers involved and enough action to keep casual readers entertained.

Copyright © 2012 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


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