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The Ten Thousand: A Novel of Ancient Greece…

The Ten Thousand: A Novel of Ancient Greece (2001)

by Michael Curtis Ford

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4271038,402 (3.78)18
In Ancient Greece, an army of mercenaries, camp followers, dreamers, and glory seekers sets off to help a rebellious foreign general. In the months that follow, these men--trained and hardened in 30 years of war in Greece--engage in pitched battles, witness untold horrors, and begin Xenophon's march of the Ten Thousand across the desert, over rivers, and into the jaws of hell itself. Martin's Press.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Anabasis [in translation] by Xenophon (WhitmelB)
    WhitmelB: This is a modern writer's version of the long trek and is interesting from that angle. This is Michael Curtis Ford's first book. He has since written "Gods and Legions" about ancient Rome which might also interest readers.
  2. 00
    The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Both are retellings of Xenophon's Anabasis. Ford's novel is straight historical fiction while Kearney's is a science fantasy take.
  3. 00
    The Last King by Michael Curtis Ford (elric17)

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» See also 18 mentions

English (8)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The book was worth reading from the point of view of understanding the history of this march.

The book is not really about Xenophon though the book threads through his life. The book is more about the observations of his squire, Theo, as the story is told through his eyes.

Some details of the retreat were unbelievable to me such as walking through snow during the retreat for months without proper footwear. That should have decimated that army given frostbite combined with a poor diet. The book tells of discomfort for many but not mass casualties/death. I doubt the retreat finished with Ten Thousand warriors... it was hard to believe.

This was not a page turner type of book and at times I had trouble reading 20 pages. I doubt I will read another book by this author. ( )
  Lynxear | Feb 14, 2019 |
The story of Xenophon in the Expedition of Cyrus retold. I actually never heard of Xenophon until I read this book. It reads like a movie which helps push the pace of the book. There's a sense of peril I don't find in many books. The feeling of escape or perish is something this book does well. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | Jun 20, 2013 |
Xenophon the Greek, son of Gryllus, grew up in Athens during one of the lower points of its awe-inspiring existence. Post-Peloponnesian war, in which his father fought, Xenophon lives in an Athens still recovering from Sparta's victory over them. Still, he grows up privileged with a higher education and extensive, if not brutal, training in fighting and war. He would also become a disciple of Socrates, despite his father's dislike for the man.

But when Xenophon becomes an adult, he quickly realizes there are no battles to be fought. Athens is rebuilding, and the best an Athenian can ask for is to be accepted as a mercenary. Upon being invited by his cousin to join distant Cyrus' army, Xenophon is conflicted. He is eager to finally test himself in battle, but Cyrus is a Persian, and Xenophon would be under the command of a Spartan general. Upon seeking advice from the Oracle of Delphi, however, he realizes this is what he wants, and chooses to join the army despite his father's disapproval.

Unfortunately, Cyrus isn't the most honest man in the world. Promised a short and sweet campaign against the Pisidians, the army fully expects an easy victory with lots of plunder and a quick trip back home. Soon, however, they discover Cyrus' true intentions; to fight against his brother on the opposite side of a vast desert, and far away from the Greek's beloved sea.

The Ten Thousand tells this story, full of betrayal, deception, bravery, and hardship. It is not your typical historical fiction; of commanders leading great armies on victorious conquest or kings defending their walled cities against relentless invaders. It is one of an army misled, of their despair at being so far from home, and their desperate attempt to escape the predicament their errant leader has shepherded them into.

I found it to be a very enjoyable read. While the foundation of the novel is built upon the bloody action and battle scenes you might expect from such a novel, much of it is a much more emotionally charged survival story. In fact, the only part of the novel where my attention flagged a bit was during the great battle between Cyrus and his brother about 1/3rd of the way through the book. I found the vulgar language a bit excessive and rather silly (although you must appreciate the creativity of 'monkey-faced ass-kisser'). Aside from this minor stint, I found The Ten Thousand to be a very absorbing and engaging read, and I'll unquestionably continue to read Michael Curtis Ford's other books. 4 stars! ( )
4 vote Ape | Jan 20, 2011 |
A very engaging book. I enjoyed the author's evocative and visually descriptive narrative. The historical accuracy was right-on and the story telling superb and this was Mr. Fords first novel! Time to look for more. ( )
1 vote stevetempo | Jul 7, 2009 |
Ford gives a well-researched and real life feel account of the Greek army which invaded Persia in 401 BC. A good supply of action, violence and a small amount of romance keep a male reader like myself engaged.

One is staggered by the discipline and sophistocation of the ancient world.

A great read. ( )
  bfrost | Jan 23, 2009 |
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Give me but a little leave, and I will set before your eyes in brief a stupend, vast, infinite Ocean of incredible madness and folly; a Sea full of shelves and rocks, sands, gulfs, Euripuses, and contrary tides, full of fearful monsters, uncouth shapes, roaring waves, tempests, and Siren calms, Halcyonian Seas, unspeakable misery, such Comedies and Tragedies, such absurd and ridiculous, feral and lamentable fits, that I know not whether they are more to be pitied or derided, or may be believed, but that we daily see the same still practiced in our days, fresh examples, new news, fresh objects of misery and madness in this kind, that are still represented to us, abroad, at home, in the midst of us, in our bosoms.

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For Eamon, who was once found on the shoulders of a giant, and for Isabel, who loves Homer.
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(Prologue:) It was the dragons of Phyle that defeated us in the end.
(Chapter 1:) Like the Gods, or perhaps completely unlike them, I was always with him.
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