However what the typical Fantasy fan is here for are the battles. It is here where Paul really scores, in those heart-thumping, screaming, blood-spraying combat scenes. Here are not scenes of glorious war, steeped in valour and ritual, but chaotic battles where survival is the real heroism, where you move forward or be trampled by your colleagues, and walk ankle-deep in body-parts and entrails. The writing is such that the reader feels as if they are there, even when they may feel they do not want to be... What also comes across strongly here is the melancholic life of the soldier, the feeling that the unending battles are often for naught and when all seems won, it often isn’t. Many mistakes are made herein, with disastrous consequences, and the downbeat ending of the book may not be what everyone wants... However Solaris Books have clearly seen what is a niche in the genre market; and they should be applauded for returning to publication an author whose efforts should be more widely appreciated. At a time when gritty fantasy seems to be a popular trend, The Ten Thousand is perhaps a book whose time has come.