Friday, August 25, 2006

David Gemmell

Fantasy author David Gemmell died in his home last month after heart surgery. He was an excellent writer. I love his books. This week I’m sharing the revised article about him that I wrote.

"I would always rather live in the reality. But like most romantics I believe in the values the legends teach. Love, courage, redemption and forgiveness are values to be cherished." (David Gemmell, 1998) David Gemmell is a popular Fantasy author that imbues these themes in all of his books. He writes Historical and Epic Fantasy filled with interesting characters, a lot of action, vivid settings and adventure. His memorable Fantasy worlds range from the magical past of Alexander the Great to the world of the Drenai. Readers will find his books very entertaining and find the embodiment of the values he believes Fantasy can teach.

The Drenai world is Mr. Gemmell’s most popular series. These books tell the story of the Drenai, a culture of people that have become decadent, but still have some noble warriors to defend it. Legend (see previous review of this book) began the story of Druss, an expert warrior with the axe. It tells the story of a fortress defended by small numbers against an overwhelming force. Druss is one of Mr. Gemmell’s most popular characters. The next book in the Drenai Saga is The King Beyond the Gate. It introduces the character of Tenaka Kahn, a young man scorned for being half Drenai and half Nadir. He must struggle with the prejudice to gain the respect of some Drenai heroes in order to save the land from a mad emperor. These are just two of the books in a long series. All the books are packed with action and adventure. (Please check out the list of books at the end of this article for more in the series.)

Another series by Mr. Gemmell are the Sipstrassi tales. They are actually two related series. The Stones of Power series is comprised of The Ghost King and The Last Sword of Power. It is set in Britain during the Dark Ages. The books are a sort of Arthurian tale about immortals who wield the power of the Sipstrassi stones, fragments of a meteor from Atlantis. These immortals wage a war against the powers of darkness. Jon Shannow is the main character of the Jerusalem Man sequence set in a post apocalyptic future. He searches for legendary Jerusalem in a ravaged world as a servant of the secret Sipstrassi masters to get rid of evil. This series consists of Wolf in Shadow, The Last Guardian, and Blood Stone. These are entertaining books done in Mr. Gemmell’s highly effective action style.

One of Mr. Gemmell’s stand alone books is The Knights of Dark Renown. This is the story of a group of knights that disappeared through a magic gate. Manannan is the one left behind because he feared to go through the gate with them. In the years since the others left, the kingdom has begun to fall apart. A dark magic stalks the land. The troubled Manannan must conquer his fears and go through the gate to find his fellow knights. Mr. Gemmell writes a richly detailed book with a dark edge.

Taking place in ancient Greece before the birth of Alexander, Lion of Macedon portrays the story of the half Spartan boy Parmenion. The seeress Tamis helps Parmenion to grow up to be Greece’s greatest mercenary soldier. He eventually finds service with Phillip of Macedon. Parmenion must battle the Dark God to save Alexander’s soul. Dark Prince continues the story of Parmenion as he combats with a spirit of chaos within Alexander to maintain peace in Greece. He is helped by the seeress Derae in this battle. Ancient Greece is brought to life by Mr. Gemmell with vivid scenes of battle and strange magics.

Mr. Gemmell’s other series published in the United States are the tales of the Rigante. The Rigante are a people that live in a rich, verdant, mountainous country. They defend their lands fiercely. The Sword in the Storm is the first book of the series. This is the story of the young warrior Connavar. He is gifted with a sword from the magical Seidh to save his people from an invading army. Other books in this series cover other stories of the Rigante people at various points in their history.

His most recent book is Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow, book one of a new trilogy. Aeneas is a warrior that allies with Troy. He is also known as the Golden One and Helikaon, feared by many. He meets the former priestess Andromache and has an enemy in the Greek warrior Argurios. Mr. Gemmell brings the stories of these three minor players in the Trojan War to life in an exciting new book. The author weaves Greek and Roman mythology into the beginning of an interesting new Historical Fantasy.

David Gemmell is a talented Fantasy author who provides entertaining books of action and adventure. He is a prolific author, giving readers new entertaining books on a regular basis. His beliefs in heroic values come through in his unique characters like Druss, Waylander and Jon Shannow. Mr. Gemmell has many other books not discussed in this article, but more information can be found at about the author and his books. Try any one of his books and you will be drawn into a world of adventure. Regrettably his passing will leave a big hole in the genre.

Other Drenai Saga books:


Quest for Lost Heroes

In the Realm of the Wolf

The Legend of Deathwalker

Winter Warriors

Druss the Legend

Hero in the Shadows

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Book Review: _Legend_ by David Gemmell

A strong old man dressed in black with axe in hand stands on the battlements fighting a horde of invaders. This is one of the exciting scenes to be found in the entertaining Adventure Fantasy Legend by David Gemmell. If you are looking for a story full of action, heroes and a little romance, this book has it all. It has a compelling plot, heroic characters and a realistic setting.[legend.gif]

Mr. Gemmell is a deft creator of compelling plots. The book moves through the story with plenty of action. Dros Delnoch is a fortress guarding the Drenai empire from the Nadir tribes. It is undermanned and those who must defend the fortress face a hopeless battle. No one expects to survive the futile battle. Into this plot enters characters that must fight this battle. Some are legends, some are inexperienced and many are hopeless. This premise allows for a suspenseful build up to a stunning battle, the stuff good Epic Fantasies possess.

The characters become more realistic and heroic with the growing plot. Druss is an old, but legendary warrior. He is the Legend of the book’s title that inspires others to greater feats of bravery. Rek is a young, disillusioned warrior with no interest in fighting lost causes. He meets Virae, the earl’s daughter, and finds new courage in love. The Thirty are an interesting group of priests as spiritual warriors. Other characters add to the story. Mr. Gemmell brings his many characters to life through dialogue and action.

Lastly, plot and characters need a setting to play the story out. The formidable fortress of Dros Delnoch stands across a mountain pass, blocking the invading Nadir. It has six walls that form the battle lines. Each time a wall is lost, the remaining defenders fall back to the next wall to fight to the last man. The author’s descriptions of battle in this setting give it a realistic feel. Readers will find themselves running to the next wall along with the characters.

Legend by David Gemmell is a very entertaining Fantasy book. The compelling plot, heroic characters and realistic setting keeps the book moving at a fast pace. Readers will find this book hard to put down. Those who like a lot of action and heroic deeds will find a lot of things to like in this book. Mr. Gemmell is an excellent writer of Adventure Fantasy. You might want to seek out his other books too if you like this one. I know I will.