Monday, 19 May 2008

On the horizon...recommendation for 2008

Paul Kearney is something of a genre stalwart, his first novel The Way to Babylon having been published back in 1992. Given that he's the author of ten novels, I was rather surprised that I'd never heard of him until earlier this year. 

His five-book Monarchies of God sequence has been praised by the likes of Steven Erikson, while his most recent series The Sea Beggars has received some very positive reviews. Yet I've not seen Kearney's name mentioned as much as perhaps it should be. I do therefore get the impression that Kearney is one of the many genre authors that doesn't get the recognition their work deserves.

It's possible that this will change with the release of his new novel, The Ten Thousand, due from Solaris in September 2008. Here's the  blurb: 

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. The Great King of Asuria can call up whole nations to the battlefield. His word is law across the face of the earth.

But now the Great King’s brother means to take the throne by force, and in order to do so he has sought out the legend. He hires ten thousand mercenary warriors of the Macht, and leads them into the heart of the Empire.

This is their story.

Straight away I find myself drawn to this novel (and not just because of the stunning artwork, which I've come to expect from Solaris releases). I'm a bit of a sucker for ancient history, and the world Kearney has created in this novel sounds like it has been strongly influenced by the classical world rather than the medieval. There are definitely not enough fantasy works featuring such worlds, so it'll be a nice change to read a novel with different influences. The title is reminiscent of the movie 300, and from what I understand the story itself bears a number of similarities. Think blood, sweat and plenty of grit. Think battles. Think heroism. It all adds up to a very potent mix indeed, one which I'm very much looking forward to sampling. 

In fact, you can all sample it right now! Well, one chapter anyway. The eternally generous gentlemen at Solaris have posted a sample on their website for your perusal! I like what I've read very much, Kearney's style reminds me somewhat of David Gemmell which is definitely a good thing. Only time will tell if The Ten Thousand will bring Kearney the exposure some would no doubt argue he deserves, but from this sample I think the novel is going to be very good indeed. 

You can check out the free sample chapter HERE.

1 comment:

banzai cat said...

I think Kearney used as a basis Xenophon's story of the Ten Thousand here:

Lemme look for that interview... here it is:

And yes, am a fan of Kearney...