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The Ten Thousand: A Novel of Ancient Greece Mass Market Paperback – October 13, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
The ill-fated campaign of Xenophon's army in the political chaos following the Peloponnesian War is the subject of Ford's debut, a long and labyrinthine affair that begins with the army's successful journey to Babylon and an initial battle in which the Persian forces are routed. But the tide quickly turns when the Persians sneak behind enemy lines and pillage the Greek camp, leaving Xenophon's army stranded hundreds of miles from home with few supplies. Rather than starve by taking the desert route back, Xenophon decides to attempt a perilous journey through hostile enemy terrain populated by several dangerous tribes, and as they progress the Greeks are forced to endure a horrific series of hardship just to survive. The more intriguing scenes: the Greeks use a tribe of deadly slingshot artists to defeat a formidable enemy; they get waylaid by a cache of poisonous honey; a winter march results in the death of dozens of soldiers . The major subplot in the book narrated by Xenophon's alter ego, Themostigenes (nicknamed Theo) concerns the protagonist's adventurous but tortured affair with a royal Persian woman named Asteria who is traveling with the Greek army, and whom he saves from death during battle. Ford has some compelling material, and his account includes authentic details about ancient peoples, customs and battle strategies. But his melodramatic, turgid prose produces a rather monotonous story delivered in heroic overtones, with little feel for pace, no true climax and a dearth of fully realized characters. The result is a novel that fails to live up to its subject's potential. (June)Forecast: The publisher hopefully compares this novel to Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire, but this is no match and won't match Gates's sales, either.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
When Darius II, King of Persia, died and was succeeded by his brother Artaxerxes, Darius's son, Cyrus the Younger, collected a force of 100,000 Persians and 13,000 Greek mercenaries, mainly Spartans, and marched on Artaxerxes's stronghold in an attempt to win the throne for himself. In 401 B.C.E., the armies of Cyrus met those of Artaxerxes in battle at Cunaxa, near the Euphrates River. After Cyrus was gruesomely killed in battle, the Greeks wanted nothing more than to return to their beloved homeland. Without the provisions needed to return by way of the desert over which they had come, they struggled 1000 miles through Kurdistan and over the Armenian mountains in the dead of winter until finally reaching the Black Sea. Along the way, the "Ten Thousand" were decimated by hostile forces, starvation, frostbite, and disease. Based primarily on the writings of Xenophon, a junior officer who assumed command of the Spartan forces after most of the senior officers were treacherously slaughtered, this novel retains much of the flavor of the soldier's memoirs. Ford, a Romance linguistics scholar, combines historical accuracy with eloquent storytelling to create an epic story that will capture the imagination of anyone interested in the history of ancient Greece. A worthy successor to Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire (LJ 9/1/98), this is highly recommended for all public libraries.
-. Jane Baird, Anchorage Municipal Libs., AK
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
i bought it again because I gave my paperback away, as everyone should do with a good book, I passed it on. so I wanted to read it again. this one I got is a hard cover. top cover and jacket were cut by a razor. not thru but enough to scar.
but its whats on the pages that count.
Then... Add into the mix that the three hundred had now past into immortality in Spartan culture
So, here we see an army of ten thousand invincible sets out to help overthrow the Persian king, and enthrone his brother
Faults? Of course.... It starts a little slowly, and there are often lengthy lulls between scenes of indescribable battle and carnage
And the story told from the " third" person, in Xenophon, is strange.... But every story needs a teller.
If you take absolutely nothing else away from this book, try just a little to imagine what real life must have been like in the wild of Armenia.
I thought we were of to fight the pesky Persians!
Read it.... You will not be disappointed.... And it's only a short novel.... Perfect for a plane trip