Hawkwood and the Kings by Paul Kearney
Hawkwood and the Kings is an omnibus of Hawkwood’s Voyage and The Heretic Kings, first released in the mid-nineties to critical acclaim but limited commercial success. Paul Kearney is, to the detriment of readers of fine fantasy, one of those authors who ran into publisher difficulties. Had the publisher actively marketed the original releases of The Monarchies of God, the books would have sold well and would unquestionably be considered classics alongside other great adult fantasies like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Steven Erikson’s Read More
Paul Kearney(1967- )
Paul Kearney was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. He read Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Middle English at Oxford and was a keen member of the Mountaineering Society and the Officer Training Corps. He was also an enthusiastic and very bad rower. Kearney has lived in Copenhagen, New Jersey, and Cambridgeshire, but at present he makes his home a stone’s throw from the sea in County Down, with his wife, two dogs, a beat-up old boat, and far too many books. Read excerpts of his novels at Paul Kearney’s website.
The Monarchies of God — (1995-2002) Publisher: In a land torn by religious war and chaos, rogue mariner Richard Hawkwood is forced to lead an expedition across the Great Western Ocean to find a legendary lost continent where safe haven may be found. But before the explorers find sanctuary, they must first survive the journey.
Hawkwood and the Kings by Paul Kearney
Century of the Soldier by Paul Kearney
Century of the Soldieris the omnibus edition of The Iron Wars (1999), The Second Empire (2000) and Ships from the West (2002), and is the concluding volume of Paul Kearney’s re-issued The Monarchies of God. It is as compelling and readable as Hawkwood and the Kings, and while it does not enjoy five-star status with its predecessor, it is an excellent conclusion, and I stand by my statement in my previous review: any person who loves good epic fantasy must read these books.
In many ways,Century of the Soldier is a very different book from Hawkwood and the Kings. The first two thirds continue where Hawkwood left off, dealing with the ongoing Merduk conflict in... Read More
The Macht — (2008-2011) Publisher: The world of Kuf, an ancient Assurian Empire, dominant, prestigious and thought to be invincible, is about to be shaken to very foundations. An exile from the empire, the Great King’s brother hires a force of Ten thousand elite mercenaries of a legendary race known as the Macht to take the throne by force. But when their employer is killed, The Ten Thousand find themselves abandoned. This is the story of their fight for freedom, and marks the start of a brand new series by one of the finest writers of fantasy.
The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney
The Ten Thousand is the first Paul Kearney book that I have read, and it is as different a fantasy as I have ever read, and in fact, it is barely a fantasy. The only fantastic elements are that it is set on a different world — Kuf — with two moons, that the “races” of humans are separated a little more by physical aspects than those in our world, and there are 5000 sets of impregnable black breastplates that were given (apparently by the goddess Antimone) to the Macht, an ancient warrior society very similar to the Greek city states that pre-dated Philip and Alexander of Macedon. Aside from that, this novel is a historical novel that borrows closely from Greek history but, by putting it in a fantasy, Kearney is able to look at the characters of this band of men without having to apologize to historians. He can tackle this story and the themes he raises with, as one of... Read More
The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney
The Ten Thousand is a historical fantasy which follows the story of two young men growing up in a very close approximation of the Greek City States known as the Macht. One has just lost his family due to war and the other has set off to find adventure as a soldier. Both of them end up enlisting in a large force of mercenaries bound for a larger empire. Their story is interesting; we follow them on their campaign through a foreign land peopled with races who aren’t human, but are close enough that they’re easily imaginable and not too fantastic.
Paul Kearney’s excellent world building is enhanced by his obvious knowledge of the historical period. The Ten Thousand seems realistic and it really draws you into the rough, violent world of a highly trained mercenary. Kearney’s writing is well-done, too, and the story moves at a nice pace. There are lots of di... Read More
Corvus by Paul Kearney
I was introduced to Paul Kearney’s writing when I read The Ten Thousand, and I instantly loved the way Kearney does his brand of historical fantasy. His focus is on a Greek-like, Bronze Age civilization peopled by the Macht, a war-like civilization of city-states very much like the Greece of ca. 400 BC. In both The Ten Thousand and Corvus, Kearney uses ancient history as a broad structure for telling a tale of war in all of its bloody horror.
In Corvus, Kearney brings back Rictus, one of the leaders of the Ten Thousand, mercenaries who fought their way out of the Asurian Empire after their employer failed to seize its throne, and who are very loosely based on this world’s Ten Thousand, Greeks who similarly fought their way out of Persia. Rictus has a legendary stature in the cities of the Macht, and is... Read More
The Sea-Beggars — (2004-2006) This end of this four-book series will be published after Bantam (who dropped Kearney) gives the rights to Solaris. Publisher: The world is dying, forsaken by its Creator. Man schemes and plots and makes wars across it, forgetting that this turning earth does not belong to mankind alone. Another race once dwelled here. Some think they were the last of the Angels, banished to this world for a forgotten crime; others that they were demons imprisoned here by a disgusted Creator. Rol Cortishane’s quiet life is about to come to an end, for in his family runs the blood of this Elder race. Driven from his home, he seeks refuge in the ancient tower of Michal Psellos, where he is trained to be a killer of men, an assassin without pity. His tutor in murder is the beautiful and deadly Rowen, whom he loves without hope. THE MARK OF RAN is the beginning of Cortishane’s story. A tale in which he journeys across the breadth of this teeming, wicked world and finds a legendary Hidden City where the desperate and the dispossessed fight for survival. This is the first of the chronicles of Rol’s great voyages, and those of his compatriots; a band of outcasts who took to the wide oceans of the world when every nation of the earth set its face against them. Ussa’s Orphans they were called, the Beggars of the Sea…
The Way to Babylon — (1992) From the Author’s website: Riven had been a successful fantasy writer, until the accident which killed his wife. Retreating to a remote cottage he doubts whether he will ever write again. Then a stranger arrives who takes him on a journey to the world of his novels, which is being poisoned by his pain.
Riding the Unicorn — (1994) Publisher: John Willoby is a prison officer: tough, stolid, unimaginative — until he starts hearing the voices and the strange sounds: the clash of swords, the thunder of hooves. Willoby suspects he’s going mad. His wife and daughter know he is. Then the hallucinations begin, visions of a wild, strange, primitive world that draw him in until there is no going back. In that world a city is being built and a bastard son is plotting to usurp his father’s throne by bloodshed. And Willoby, unknowing, is part of the plot. For Willoby is not mad.
A Different Kingdom — (1995) From Author’s website: A lyrical fantasy of Ireland’s past and present. In a remote rural part of Northern Ireland, a small boy’s enchanted life changes for ever when a chance fall on a riverbank opens up another world in which sword-bearing warriors do battle with beasts of legend.
Johnny Fortycloaks — (2012) A chance encounter sends three orphaned children from a small village on a magical adventure greater than anything they could imagine. Soon, they must fight for their lives against the dizzying array of monsters and minions sent at them by the enigmatic figure known only as Jason as they follow him through the galaxy in a chase that spans centuries. Every planet brings them new powers and allies, but also a new struggle and fresh questions. Who is Jason? What does he want? And what exactly is this mysterious Johnny Fortycloaks and can they really trust him? The game of cat and mouse culminates in a return to Earth. Unfortunately, it’s nothing like the world they left behind. Not only must they find their footing on a world that is no longer theirs, they must also stop Jason before he can end the game once and for all.