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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 12:40 am
by Chaeronia

Spoiler for King Beyond The Gate...

Spoiler for KBTG...

Spoiler for KBTG...

Yes, you're right about Decado, he is the leader of the Thirty who helps turn the tide against the Joining man-beasts and it costs him his life. My memory isn't good so I had to grab the book from my shelf to check, then realised it was far too dusty so I mustn't have read it in a while. I promptly took all the Drenai novels down and began the process of re-reading them over the weekend. Lazy days!

Gemmell is a writer who had very big impact on me. It's not surprising i was reading his books mainly when i was 14-15 and as everyone knows at that age book can change your view on the world forever .

I can say the same, undoubtedly so. It has been said Gemmell is a writer for teenage boys, and I can see the sense behind this comment. There is definitely an appeal for that specific market and it is when I became hooked on his reading. But his writing hasn't lost impact as I've gained the years, and whilst I can now point out the literary flaws he makes in his books (too many adverbs in his early work in particular), I still have the same zeal as I pick up Legend or Waylander or Winter Warriors to read for the twentieth time.

Chearonia you're also a member of that mailing group ?

I am, Blaine, yes, though under a different name, and I don't post too much. The topics can quickly go off topic and suffer from a touch of inanity at times, but it's a good list with good contributors on a range of topics, though of course the Big Man gets pride of place on most discussions!



PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 3:41 pm
by Aslan
Chearonia, thanks for the in-depth review! I'll pick up Waylander and/or Legend.

Much appreciated!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:11 pm
by ScottSF
I recenlty finnished Midnight Falcon and enjoyed it. It's a sequel to Sword in the Storm which I didn't like as much but had no trouble finnishing. It was strange that the book seemed to lead up to a battle before the main battle but the main battle wasn't really covered. Other than that Sword in the Storm had some powerful tragedy. Midnight Falcon the story of the next generation was more hopeful and reading both books together is much better than reading the Sword in the Storm alone. By the end of the second book I was touched and my view on Gemmell's work was much improved. Thanks for the info. everyone. I think I will pick up Waylander next. It's so tough to know what is good out there with so manny choices in the books stores.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:31 pm
by Brys
I've only read the Drenai books, and I enjoyed them, but I don't think they were spectacular. They were pretty straightforward and simplistic heroic fantasy, but entertaining nonetheless. I don't think Gemmell's anything like as good as his main inspiration (Robert Howard) or as good as the master of the subgenre (Fritz Leiber) or the alternative (Michael Moorcock), but he's keeping alive a dying subgenre.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:29 pm
by Mornara
Glad I found this thread, Gemmel is one of my favorites! He was the second fantasy author I read after Tolkien, if memory serves correctly, and for him to stand beside Tolkien, means I like him! He is very different from Tolkien of course, but is a master of his own.

I think that where the "simplicity" of his works is seen is simply purity of story, he does not need to have 100 characters and five plotlines going at once to be entertaining. His Legend books are good, and they are simple and straight forward. I can easily read one in a couple of hours if I let myself.

But to me, it's the simplicity of life, and what makes them so memorable. The characters seem real, and easy to identify with. Gemmel does not apply a pretty gloss-coat to his writing. They have demons, most of them have massive weaknesses, aren't the smoothest or best looking people. The writing style is blunt and straightforward, and he does not shy away from killing off main characters, which is a nice change of pace, as much as I hate seeing them die.

But he also has a second tier, books that while they have the same simplicity and reality, have more of a mind challenging aspect to them. Echoe of the Great Song is the best example of this. I won't go into it now, it would take to long, but it makes you think, and it challenged me a few times. One race was dying, and as he was writing from their perspective, you wanted them to live, to do well. But they were slavemasters, cruel and arrogant. They had discovered the secrets of immortality, but it was based on taking others lives. They were wise and knowledgable, highly advanced, but they regarded all other races as inferior. In the end they faced an enemy that was so similar to them, but even crueler, and they were forced to face their own arrogance and foolishness. They were now the prey, rather than the master, and they died. If I remember correctly, only two of the race survived. And they were both monsters, especially at the beginning of the story. The good characters died, horribly but bravely.

To me, the grreatest strength in Gemmel's writing is his ability to put a reader in the characters mind, making them feel every emotion and thought, and his ability to write the gritty and painful stuff that most fantasy authors shy away from.

That's my 3, or probably more like 20, cents!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:16 pm
by Chaeronia
It is with a most heavy heart that I bring the news of David Gemmell's passing away. He died whilst working at his word processor in the early hours of Friday, July 28th, a few days shy of his 58th birthday. He was recovering from recent open heart surgery.

I sit here, having just learned the news, struggling for words of grandeur and beauty that will give the Big Man the send off I feel he so richly deserves, but all I have are my tears and my prayers. I hope they are enough; I think they are.

David was a hulking man, a bruiser and a fighter: an indomitable spirit, who believed in hope, morality and redemption. I know this partly through researching his past, and completely through reading his stories.

I've never cried for the death of someone I didn't meet, but David is a man I felt I knew. His themes were simple and consistent (a criticism of some, a resounding commendation of mine), and told with an emotional verve that continues to set the (so far elusive) benchmark for my own writing. His characters were his strength: Druss, Waylander, Jaim, Riamfada, Connavar, Shannow, Bison... so many, too many to mention here in one callous list.

His stories appealed to me in a way few things ever have; they taught me more than most things ever will. He is the sole reason I took up writing, and remains the chief inspiration for me still. I planned to meet him one day on one of his book tours and explain all this to him, but, as happens to people who postpone and procrastinate, thinking they have all the time in the world, I have missed my chance. Well, David didn't miss his; he used his time well, telling stories that have found a unique place in thousands of hearts. For that is what he was: a unique story teller.

He leaves behind a wife and two children, a legion of fans, and a legacy as one of Britain's finest fantasy authors. A man, as he might have said himself, to walk the mountains with.

I'll miss you, David.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:42 pm
by Dragonfleet
Ah yes I heard about that. Sad to say that I've only ever read Sword in the Storm. I'm so behind on a lot of good books these days, both scifi and fantasy. ;_; As for Gemmel's death, well at least he'll be remembered through his family and his fans. That's more than anyone can ask for really.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:13 am
by Dunedain
Maybe some minor spoilers





I think that the brilliance of Gemmell's works isn't so much the simplicity of the stories, but the superb characterization. I'm an emotional reader usually, I shed tears easily, but there have been very few books that hit as hard as Gemmell's did.

Druss and Waylander are my favorites. Through several books Gemmell built them both up into real persons in my mind. I felt their joys and pains and wept at their passing.

Mr. Gemmell will be missed. And I have to admit, I feel a bit of guilt that the first thought I had when learning of his passing was a gut wrenching despair at the thought of no more Druss or Waylander stories...ever.