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The Lost Army Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (3 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330452797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330452793
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Valerio Massimo Manfredi is professor of classical archaeology at Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. Further to numerous academic publications, he has published thirteen works of fiction, including the Alexander trilogy which has been translated into thirty-four languages in fifty-five countries. His novel The Last Legion was released as a major motion picture. He has written and hosted documentaries on the ancient world and has penned screenplays for cinema and television.

Product Description


'There can be few better escapes from economic misery and the British winter than a sword-and-sandals romp through ancient times'
-- Sunday Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

How much pride can be lodged in the chests of ten thousand indomitable warriors and the heart of a single woman in love?

401 BC. Prostrated by thirty years of war between Athens and Sparta, the city-states of Greece are on their knees. As they flounder, Clearchus of Sparta is commissioned to recruit an army of Greek mercenaries. The true purpose of these forces – the army of the ‘Ten Thousand’ – is not clear. They know they are required to venture deep into the hostile territories at the very heart of the Persian Empire. They know they are being paid by Cyrus, brother of the Great Persian King Artaxerxes. But their official objective – clearing the area of rebel tribes – convinces no one…

The expedition is shadowed by a second army of women, including Abira, a Syrian girl who has abandoned her village to follow the young Greek warrior, Xeno, who appeared to her like a god on horseback from the heavens, offering the promise of love, of adventure, of a different life. This is Abira’s tale, a tale of heroic enterprise, of a titanic succession of pitched battles, of ambushes, of forced marches through scorching deserts and freezing mountain ranges, raging torrents and snow-covered tundra. Seen through her eyes – the eyes of a woman in love – everything takes on a different light.

In The Lost Army, Valerio Massimo Manfredi, bestselling author of the ‘Alexander’ trilogy and The Last Legion, shapes history into a story of the impetuosity, the plotting and the blind fury of these men in their unrelenting struggle for survival seen through a filter of female tenderness and self-sacrifice.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Emi on 16 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Love and War are two classic themes which are skilfully woven into Manfredi's take on the journey of 10,000 Greek mercenaries whose ancestors were the 300 who defended the Fiery Gates under Leonidas . These are the infamous Red Cloaks who fight to win a battle in 401 BC with consequences they could not foresee.

Abira is a beautiful, young village girl, who is literally swept off her feet by the soldier scout and army chronologist Xeno. She knows he is her ticket out of the Village of the Belt where she could marry a boy chosen by her family & remember with regret this stranger or she could seize her chance ...

So how does this girl cover thousands of kilometres with the Red Cloaks, across extreme terrains, become a pivotal part in this herd of soldiers return only to be stoned & left of dead?

I was given this book as a gift & what an enlightening gift this proved to be. For whatever reason, historic tales have never featured much in my reading lists - however this book may change that! In my naivety, I didn't realise this was story grounded in real events, it matches any Hollywood sword and scandal epic & makes the story all the more enthralling.

Take this book away with you on holiday if you`re crossing difficult terrains or need to immerse yourself in a different battle from your daily commute and let its pace engulf you.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jane-Anne Shaw, MA VINE VOICE on 23 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ostensibly narrated by a female camp follower, this book portrays the katàbasis (return) of the Greek mercenaries of Xenophon's famed 'Anabasis' ('Journey Up-country'). The Ten Thousand was not a single homogeneous uniform community, and Manfredi addresses the fact that life in the Greek army was mainly formed by a collection of groups, e.g., the informal companionship of the suskenia (mess) is contrasted with the military unit and loyalties of the lochos (company) and realistically informs the narrative text. But, oh dear! Manfredi does dwell on the casualties and cruelties of battle, and then some ... However, it is notable the writing style - or, to be accurate, translated writing style - has improved somewhat since the earliest novels, although an impression persists that the reader is perusing a 'film treatment' rather than a novel per se. Some sections of the novel are almost Homeric in their descriptive power, but the dialogue between the characters does not live up to these. Manfredi has also invented an imaginary scenario / hypothesis that Sparta meant the 10,000 to either win or disappear which, given the reputation of the Spartans, is not entirely beyond the bounds of possibility. In the context of The Lost Army he also frequently refers back to the ultimately useless sacrifice of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, as if for some reason the triumph of the 10,000 was revenge for the past.

Ultimately the straggling army reached the shores of the Black (Euxine) Sea, hailing it in a famed shout of joy: 'thalatta, thalatta' (the sea, the sea!), where they erected a trophy monument to their achievement. However, if you want to know the 'real' Xenophon, go to the original 'Anabasis': apart from the surprisingly easy-to-read original Greek for classics students, there are several excellent translations on the market.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By V. Dixon on 12 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not read any of the author's other books but wanted a change. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, yes the translation is a bit hit and miss at times, it drags in places and hurries in others...but is perfect escapism, every time I picked it up I was transported from the doom & gloom of recession and awful weather to a story rich in romance, history(however loosely based) and a gripping tale of triumph over adversity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE LOST ARMY Valerio Massimo Manfredi 1st edn. 2008 Hardcover

Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi, a very eminent Italian historian and the Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Bocconi and the author of some dozen or so very successful historical novels, several of which have been used as the basis for screenplays.

THE LOST ARMY was first published in English in 2008 although it had previously been a best seller in Italy under the title `L'Armata Perduta in 2007 and I originally read the original Italian version that year. My Italian really is not that good, but I struggled through with lessons from my wife, and enjoyed the story and so resolved to obtain the English edition when it was published.

The story follows the fortunes of the Greek mercenaries of Xenophon's Ten Thousand, the famed 'Anabasis' to the shores of the Black Sea, as witnessed by a young female camp follower. The tale is good one, but is a bit like the march through hilly country, with ups and downs in the storytelling, and the whole book is rather poorly translated into English, the dialogue in particular being a bit stilted.

I am a great fan of Dr. Manfredi but this English translation is not up to his expected standard, a bit of a bumpy ride for the reader, although the usual highly researched and meticulously accurate historical background gives a fascinating window into a rarely touched upon subject.

I have just re-read this book and I may revisit the original version again, my Italian may have improved marginally and I feel that I enjoyed it more than the English translation.
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