David Gemmell's first novel, Legend, has become a fantasy classic. His subsequent novels include Midnight Falcon, Ravenheart, Hero in the Shadows and Stormrider, all on the bestseller lists.
In the land of the Drenai, war is commonplace and brutal, and heroes are legendary and feared. When Skillgannon, the tattooed swordsman who carries the Swords of Night and Day, meets with Druss the Legend, whose mighty ax is feared throughout the land, their partnership leads to actions worthy of their reputations. Gemmell's latest Drenai novel is a fast-paced adventure that belongs in fantasy collections, particularly where the author has a following. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Druss, hero of Gemmell's classic Legend (Ballantine, 1994), is not the main character of this book. The protagonist is, instead, a far more morally ambiguous figure who once followed orders from his lover, the Queen, to destroy every inhabitant of the town of Perapolis. The story begins with Skilgannon in a monastery, trying to put his past behind him. He has forsaken violence, and his swords are safely in the possession of the abbot. But when villagers turn on the peaceful monks, he again takes up arms to defend them; and for violating the monks' pacifist precepts, he must leave. Unwillingly, he again takes up the path of the wandering warrior, searching out a temple that, legend has it, can resurrect the wife he failed to love while she was alive. On the way, he meets Druss and others. He never finds the temple, but finds redemption of another sort. Gemmell expertly weaves a complex plot, with several viewpoints and subplots, and references to events in other books, without ever losing readers. The prose is clean and straightforward. This world is violent and full of sword fights-some readers will see this as action packed and others might view it as excessive. The violence is integral to the story, however, as this novel is all about the life-and-death decisions Skilgannon makes and how they affect other people, and his responsibility for those consequences.-Paul Brink, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This new heroic fantasy in Gemmell's engrossing Drenai series takes place immediately before his first published novel, Legend (1984), but stands well on its own. Skilgannon, swordmaster and former general of Queen Jianna's army, walked away from the queen's service after his forces sacked a city with such savagery that his name is ever after followed by "the Damned." He's spent three trying years submitting to monastic discipline in hopes of understanding the places of man and evil in the world. His dreams are disturbed by a white wolf; his thoughts by memories of his dead wife and hopeless love for Queen Jianna. Now the surrounding town is torn by civil unrest and the monks debate fleeing: Skilgannon might have stayed with them but for the price on his head and the futility of his disguise as Brother Lantern. The abbot sends him to the capital, Mellicane, escorting an unworldly monk. In the woods outside town, they pick up the boy Rabalyn, whose troubles with a town bully ended with the torching of his aunt's house and the killing of the aunt and the bully; his ne'er-do-well parents are said to be in the capital. Thus begins a journey that will continue beyond Mellicane and draw in the author's most famous character, Druss the axeman. The plot seamlessly supports the predictable violence. Magic plays little part in everyday life, but when it affects the deeds of rulers and leaders, Gemmell describes it in a concrete, nuts-and-bolts way in welcome contrast to much airy-fairy fantasy. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"For anyone who appreciates superior heroic fantasy, David
Gemmell's offerings are mandatory."-Time Out London
"[Gemmell's] fiction has always carried the genuine flair ofthe classic sword and sorcery pieces of the 1930s and '40s. This installment is no exception."-Starlog
"A multitude of good battle scenes! . . . Readers will be carried along by the nonstop action and heroic characters."-Booklist