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4.1 out of 5 stars
Corvus (Macht Trilogy 2)
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on 15 July 2013
The second entry in the much under-read and underrated Macht trilogy by Paul Kearney. The writing is crisp and flows like a pure stream. The characterisation is astonishing, and shows how it should be done. Terry Goodkind take note, this is how to write proper fantasy without chopping down half a rainforest. Fans of David Gemmell, Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden etc will love this. The writing is achingly good.
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on 4 June 2011
Set years after "The 10,000" this is interesting if predictable story,if you enjoy historic fiction you will enjoy this book,lots of action and well described battle scenes,characters are interesting if not complex.
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on 28 September 2011
The first book was suprisingly good. It started off a bit dreary, but then picked up towards the middle as they head home. The second book reminds me of David Gemmell's lion of macedon series, but not nearly as good.
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on 23 January 2014
Well written with good storyline and plenty of action. Looking forward to the next book in the macht story. Den
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on 22 October 2014
An excellent sequel....Nuff said.
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I couldn't help but smile when I first started reading this book, for I am, albeit indirectly, kind of responsible for its existence. You may recall that then Solaris editor Mark Charan Newton initially got in touch with Paul Kearney when the author was dropped by both Transworld and Bantam Dell at the same time after reading my rant about this on the Hotlist. Months later, after signing with the imprint, the excellent The Ten Thousand saw the light and became Kearney's first work with Solaris.

You see: Online rants can -- rarely, it must be said -- have very positive repercussions. Now, if only I could somehow help Kearney become a bestselling author. . .

The Ten Thousand turned out to be a solid effort, possibly the author's best novel to date. And I'm pleased to report that Corvus continues in the same vein, raising the bar even higher and setting the stage for what should be a terrific finale in the forthcoming Kings of the Morning.

Corvus is dark and gritty military fantasy at its best. Joe Abercrombie's depicted heroism and the brutal violence of war with a witty and humorous style and tone in The Heroes. Paul Kearney's Corvus is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Although there are a number of poignant and touching moments throughout the novel, Corvus is all about the stark realism of military campaigns.

The author has always been known for his brevity, and this book features minimal worldbuilding which doesn't intrude on the storytelling. And yet, now that he can build on the events of The Ten Thousand, Kearney manages to flesh out his world and its people without relying on info-dumps or long-winded elaborations. The narrative is written with tight focus, keeping the pace fluid and making Corvus a veritable page-turner.

Most will tell you that Kearney's bread and butter are the battle sequences, and I would tend to agree. Still, I feel that the author doesn't get the credit he deserves for his characterization. Indeed, the man came up with a disparate yet amazing cast of characters for this one. Though there is an overall story arc, that of Corvus' campaign to unite the Macht, most of its threads consist of more personal plotlines adding more depth to the tale. The domestic scenes create a bit of balance between the more violent sequences of the book. There is also a great balance between the various POV sections, with the novel focusing in turn on Rictus, his wife Aise, the Speaker Karnos, Phaestus, and Kassander's sister Kassia. Seeing events unfold through the eyes of such distinct men and women imbues this book with a human touch seldom seen in military fantasy offerings. There is indeed a parallel between Rictus and Corvus and Philip II and Alexander, but it's nothing more than historical inspiration and doesn't take anything away from the story.

Corvus delivers on all fronts. As was the case with its predecessor, it features good pace, a grim setting, superior characterization, and bloody battles. -- It definitely is Paul Kearney writing at the top of his game.

It's another brutal and uncompromising tale of warfare and survival written by one of the most underrated talents in the fantasy genre.

Hard to put down. Do yourself a favor: Pick up both The Ten Thousand and Corvus. Mark my word: You will thank me!
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on 1 September 2014
I read this immediately after the prequel, The Ten Thousand. Wow I loved it. Some of the characters from the original novel mixed with many new ones. Corvus was ultimately the person I had hoped he would be and we found out more of the Mercenaries lives when not employed on campaign. There are some truly harrowing events and tears were compelled to be shed, the pace was fast and as always Mr Kearney had little regard for sustaining characters we had grown to love. If the plot needed a death, it got one. Time has moved on some twenty years since the original story, but the Macht as a peoples hadn't. I felt the characters continued to be developed and the description of tactics and battles was done sufficiently well that me being a non-historian could still understand what was happening. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel and will be reading the third in the series shortly.
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on 20 February 2011
In The Ten Thousand, the first book of the Macht Trilogy, Paul Kearney introduced the world of Kuf, an intriguing world, home to different races. This great first book took us to the heart of The Empire far away from the homeland of the legendary Ten Thousand. In Corvus, the author takes us back to the land of the Macht, the fabled warrior race.

And to the readers delight, he also brings forward a familiar face: It was a great pleasure to meet Rictus again from page one. The book starts with Rictus going back home twenty-three years later after the events of The Ten Thousand.

Machts are a warrior race and they excel in this art. And not surprisingly, there are constant quarrels between cities. However, twenty three years later, Rictus is not the same man. He is torn between war and family. As he struggles to decide between two, life makes a choice for him. Sometimes it's easier that way, when the choices are made on one's behalf.

Kearney is amazingly talented in creating very realistic military scenes. The picture of the terrible face of war that he paints tugs at the heart of the reader. War is a terrible thing but it is in us, in our genes. You kill or you are killed. But everyone is somebody's son, brother or father and every single one of them has their own story that one ends in a blink of an eye.

Some parts of the book reminded me of another great book that I read last year: Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings. Especially the Antimone's Gift, the magical black armour of the Cursebearers reminded me of Shards: Their origin is unknown, they are limited in number and offering money for one just doesn't work.

Not surprisingly, in Corvus, Kearney maintains his fluid and addictive style. He creates and develops some great characters in a memorable fantasy setting. The author is amazingly talented in mixing military aspects of the fantasy with drama and individuality, which, at times, gives the impression to read a mixtures of Steven Erikson and Guy Gavriel Kay.

Even though I read The Ten Thousand previously, the reader is not required to do so to fully enjoy Corvus. Although I would recommend to read The Ten Thousand before just because it is another excellent book.

Corvus has confirmed that Paul Kearney is an amazing writer. Unfortunately, and very surprisingly, he is also incredibly and criminally underrated. Corvus was one of the best books of 2010 and made the last book of the trilogy, Kings of Morning one of the most anticipated books of 2011. Just pick it up and read it. Resistance is futile.
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2010
I avoided this for a while as I thought who needs a thinly disguised Alexander the Great story amongst all the other stuff that has been written on the bloodthirsty maniac. However, once I had finished The Ten Thousand I needed another Kearney fix so started it. Although not quite as good as the Monarchies of God series this is still brilliant. Gritty and gripping it will keep you entertained right up to the last page. Personally I'm going to hunt down everything he has written and read it.
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on 25 January 2011
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.
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