Friday, 2 March 2012

In Conclusion | I Heart The Macht

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but in some cases, it's got to be better to be clear than to worry about repeating myself. With that caveat, then, let it be said: I really, really like Paul Kearney.

That mightn't be entirely surprising to you, given the content of the blog this week, but I wasn't exactly expecting it. I mean, I enjoyed The Monarchies of God a great deal, yet in 2010, when Solaris reissued the series in two almighty omnibus editions, I gobbled both books up and got on with my life. I didn't feel the need then to make a song and dance about it. Evidently, I did - and I have done - as regards The Macht Saga.

That's because Kearney, in my admittedly limited experience, is getting better and better. Going from strength to strength, as they say. And I wish more people were reading his work to realise it. If you ask me, the best of his fiction stands shoulder to shoulder - in its own way - with a who's who of my favourite fantasists; with the likes of Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin, Guy Gavriel Kay and, at a stretch, R. Scott Bakker. 

But I don't think he sells as well as any of them, and therein's the thing. I have no actual information here - this is just speculation, loosely informed by a smattering of press releases and the buzz around his books versus the buzz around new releases by the other authors above - but the received wisdom seems to be that he's little league, as opposed to being one of the big hitters. And that's a damned travesty.

So fingers firmly crossed that I've managed to turn a couple of you on to a series you mightn't otherwise have considered. Here's hoping that perhaps a few of my fellow bloggers will now consider reading and reviewing The Ten Thousand or Corvus or Kings of Morning -- or all three!

That sort of groundswell, or show of support, can make or break a book, a series... even an author. And Kearney's hardly had an easy time of it to date; indeed, I believe bloggers have played a crucial role in his writing career. Now The Speculative Scotsman is hardly a Hotlist equivalent, but it's been a modest success nonetheless, and because of that, I have a bit of a platform here. A platform which, in cases like this, you can be damn sure I'll make use of.

If you have something similar, I hope you'd do so too -- for the right reasons, that is. With any amount of power comes some measure of responsibility, but this pretense of objectivity we all wear as if it meant anything at all... well the hell with it. I heart the Macht. If my recommendations have led you to a few good books before, I would urge you to please, give this series a go. And if you enjoy it: spread the word, as I've tried to. Find a good spot - or not - and shout about it!


  1. As we have discussed on twitter, yeah, need to read his newer books. Really, really.

  2. I think that there are a couple of things working against The Macht series.

    1.) It's retelling of ancient Greek history, a subject that's not all that popular to begin with.

    2.) It's not a strict retelling, being a mix of fantasy and re-telling. Thus the fantasy bits alienate those who want just a novelization (a la Pressfield's "The Gates of Fire"), and there is very little actual fantasy in the books, alienating some of those who like fantasy.

    3.) The publisher isn't a big name publisher. It helps if a publisher can get copies and word out of a new book/series, and smaller publishers don't really have that same power.

    Regardless I've read two of the books in The Macht series and will be reading #3 shortly. I'd love to see another book/series where Kearney explores the legend of Antimone and the Cursebearers.

    1. Regarding the above point #1), I don't think that is necessarily something that would work against the series. As a Greek guy, I've been taught Xenophon's works in highschool and as is often the case with a lot of greek history or mythology, I've always believed that they were trully epic and kept wondering when somebody would draw inspiration and modernize these works either as novels or movies. In this specific case, after having read some other works of military fantasy, I was a bit hesitant to get into another such series, being mostly worried about the excessive grittiness and realism. When I found out that this was somewhat based on Xenophon's work, it immediately jumped much higher in my Interest-In list. After all, even after all those years, I still can't forget how I imagined the reaction and the cries "Θάλαττα! Θάλαττα" (The sea! Τhe sea!) and the impression they made on my young mind.

  3. I have only read the first book in the series i.e. The Ten Thousand and I must say I have feelings of similar intensity for The Macht
    Saga and Paul Kearney.

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