17 January, 2011

Review - The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney

It's been far too long since we've seen a review around here and I'm fixin' to change that. Okay, also fixin' to change my use of the word 'fixin''.

The Ten Thousand
[US] [UK]

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 [US] [UK]. 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 encounters one obstacle after the next.

Throughout the book, we follow Rictus, from the legendary Isca, which is no more. Early in the book, he finds himself in a mercenary company and heading to the land of Kuf to fight among what becomes known as The Ten Thousand. Being from Isca, Rictus has developed a fighting prowess that is matched by few. Rictus is young and cocky, but a really fun protagonist to follow. He makes mistakes, but he's easy to root for and has reasonably explained talents.

Paul Kearney has a knack for plotting and although I alluded to it being simple, that's not entirely the case. It's definitely straight forward, but Kearney does a great job setting up a great climax, but leaving you with enough loose ends that the ending is just as rewarding and extremely surprising in this case.

In addition, Kearney doesn't bog down the narrative with info-dumps. He keeps the world flowing around the characters, so we're let into his highly imaginative story one step at a time. I mean, there's even a glossary and a number of interesting races that he explores, but Kearney does it with such ease, the pace is kept nicely.

Why Should You Read The Ten Thousand?

If you like low magic, and really there's none, but high military action with multiple imaginative races, you'll really enjoy The Ten Thousand. It's fast-paced, it can be gory at times, but the world is all it's own and the story is epic while keeping the epicness of the page count low.

4 out of 5 Stars


Ryan said...

Kearney is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. If you haven't read his Monarchy of God series, you should. I think I enjoyed those books more than The Ten Thousand, and that's saying a lot because The Ten Thousand is great stuff. I still need to read Corvus too.

Bryce L. said...

Already own it. I can't wait for that and the final volume in the Macht series, Kings of the Morning.