21 December, 2012

Review - Kings of the Morning (Macht #3) by Paul Kearney

Kings of the Morning [US] [UK] is the third book in the Macht trilogy and quite possibly the best. I've been keeping up with this series for the most part as they've come out, so this could also be on account of my shoddy memory.

That's the drawback with keeping up on a series. You get all the excitement and expectation of waiting, but slowly you have to rely on summaries and rereads as the time between releases grows. Which is better, keeping up on a series or only reading completed series? Who's to say. I like to mix it up with anything I do, so I prefer some of each.

Spoilers follow for the first two books in the series, The Ten Thousand and Corvus. Just know, epic military battles full of phalanxes and HUGE armies are waiting for you at this stage in the trilogy. It's worth it.

The Ten Thousand, book one, introduces us to the Macht, a mercenary people seen as barbarians and heathens by the rest of the world of Kuf. A large army (possibly around 10,000) are commissioned in a large civil war for the kingdom of Assuria. We are also introduced to Rictus, who becomes pivotal in this saga. Epicness ensues and the ten thousand are cemented in history.

Corvus, book two, introduces conflict among the Macht as a genius military commander begins to do the impossible - unite the Macht under one banner. It looks like it's more than possible as city after city falls to his growing army. Rictus wants only to rest and relax with his family in their newly built home. Of course, Corvus won't let him do that and he doesn't even know if that's what he really wants.

Then comes Kings of the Morning, final book of the Macht trilogy. Corvus has done the impossible and united the Macht, but his desire to make history doesn't end there. He wants the world and with the greatest fighting race, it's going to take one big effing army to stop him. Yes, that's what we get and it is awesome.

The Macht trilogy is secondary world fantasy with very low magic, which may be completely absent as it's mostly explained away in this book. I honestly hadn't read a book this quickly in ages. Kearney has a way of pulling you in and not letting go. This really surprised me especially because the people you're expecting to show up don't show up until about a third of the way into the book. And yet, the plot zings along, armies gather, epic battles ensue. 

Paul Kearney has created a  history that is epic in every sense of the word and this trilogy is military fantasy at its best. It's so easy to get sucked in, this series was made for multiple readings and the stories are just as thrilling as those of the 300 Spartans at the Hot Gate. You come to see people doing the impossible and that's what you get.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended!)

The Macht Trilogy
1) The Ten Thousand (review)
2) Corvus (review)
3) Kings of the Morning


Jeff C said...

I think this is one of the overall best fantasy series of the last several years.

Ryan said...

Yikes, feeling really guilty now that I've only read the first one in this series. I gotta get a move on. I've said it before, but Kearney is probably the most underrated author in all of fantasy. It's criminal that his releases aren't huge as they are deserving of wider audiences...the guy is just really good.

Do you happen to know if we'll ever see his Sea Beggar series get fully printed?

Bryce L. said...

@Jeff - I completely agree and I think a big part of it is that I'd gladly pick them up again and again, they're so much fun to read.

@Ryan - As you should. :) I totally agree, but I still need to read the Hawkwood stuff. It might be partly because he has absolutely no internet presence, which is vital nowadays. I can't find anything, no official site, nothing.

Sea Beggars I haven't heard anything about. I thought Solaris picked up the last book and they were supposed to do an omnibus, but I have no clue where that went. It was supposed to come out late this year according to this.

Ryan said...

Thanks for jogging my memory Bryce. Hopefully that stuff will make it to publication soon!

You gotta read the Hawkwood stuff. It's really great. One of my all time favorite fantasy series.

Bryce L. said...

No prob, I'd been wondering the same myself, sadly it's not been updated since I guess it probably won't be coming out this year. :)

Yes, I DO need to read Hawkwood. Especially after being reminded just how good Kearney is with this book. I also have his book, A Different Kingdom I've been meaning to get to. He says it's his best, but don't ask me to find a source for that bit of news. :D

Alec said...

Picked up the first of these on the 23rd. I just finished the second book today.

This almost isn't fantasy! It seems closer to historical fiction.

Anyway, the first two have been a great read, though the second book was either way shorter or just went by much quicker... Can't wait to get to the third now that you say it is the best in the series.

Bryce L. said...

So good to hear. Really warms the cockles of my heart when this happens. :) I don't know why more people aren't reading Kearney. And yes, I remember thinking that at the end of The Ten Thousand, did I actually read a fantasy?

I hope I'm right about it being the best, my memory was a bit rusty of the first two, but it seemed at least it was on the same level which obviously is a good thing.