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Swords and sandals in space,
This review is from: Corvus (Macht Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
This is the second story in a series, which draws cleverly on the military history of Late Classical Greece. The character of Corvus is a blend of Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedon, his father. Among the inhabitants of the world of Kuf, the Macht are alien. Among their most precious possessions as a people are artifacts which have no equal on Kuf. How and whence the Macht arrived is merely hinted at. The story covers the conquest and unification of the independent city states of the Macht into a kingdom, under the rule of Corvus, who has emerged with a devoted army from the mountains to the north of the cities. He conquers with the aid of bold tactics and new methods of fighting. It is clearly hinted that his ambitions will lead him into conflict with the Asurian Empire to the east, where the previous novel "The Ten Thousand", which drew on Xenophon's "Anabasis" was set.
The novel cleverly sets out the pros and cons of political unity under a single ruler as opposed to the freedom of independent city states, which often means the freedom to enslave others. The battle scenes are vivdly drawn, as are the more humdrum aspects of military life in foul weather when the supplies are late or non-existent. Their language is usually foul, and their personal habits unappealing, but these soldiers spring to life off the page.