I like Legend, it's a good, heroic sword and sorcery story. I intend to read more of the books in The Drenai Saga.
The basic plot is that the Nadir empire is threatening to swallow up the Drenai kingdom. A lone castle stands in the way of the Nadir horde, can it stand up against the invaders and save the Drenai people? Coming out of retirement and to the defense of the castle is Druss, a legendary warrior.
The story takes a little bit to really get cooking and the end is a bit contrived but in between it is a real page-turner.
This book is excellent! It was a great story, with great characters that you really care about. The war scenes in it a top notch and fast moving. There is only one tiny problem, the character, Rek, seems to go from loveable loser to hero very fast. Other than that this book is GREAT!
Steve B. reviewed Legend (Drenai Tales, Book 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
Gemmell's first novel, the one that started it all. I read the other Druss books before I read this one, so I was familiar with the Legend of Druss already. I have to say that this is my favorite book of all time.... and I have read a lot!! David Gemmell is surely missed by me. All of his books are better than good, you find yourself immersed in the story and want it to go on. The saddest part of this book is that it had to end. I say it is a must read for any fantasy fan, you will fall in love with Druss and David Gemmell.
A top-flight fantasy effort, on par with the best written. Based around an effort to repel an onslaught of barbarian invaders, an outmanned, under-equipped, underdog band of heroes from disparate backgrounds rally a group of farmers, bandits, and city-folk to the height of heroism. Intriguing, fleshed-out characters, and a pleasing, engaging style of writing make this book very difficult to put down.
I've never been a big fan of fantasy novels but decided to read this one because it is on the "1001 books you must read before you die" list. After reading it, I would say it was an OK novel with a pretty straight forward storyline about a fortress under siege by a barbarian horde and a retired "lengend" (Druss) who comes to the aid of the Drenai. It includes elements of heroism, magic, valor, love, etc. I am assuming this novel takes place in an alternate reality since Earth is mentioned and the elements of the story are seated in Medieval Europe. I don't think it takes place in a pre-history like the Conan stories. Gemmell also borrowed from other literature like Robin Hood (the character Bowman), the Arthurian legend (Excalibur), and even fairy tales -- the ending was straight out of Sleeping Beauty. There was one aspect of the story that kind of bothered me: The fortress was under siege by a huge hoard of barbarians numbering over 500,000 yet, people were able to leave the fortress on the South side to escape the siege. Wouldn't the invading army have surrounded the entire fortress?? This novel is the first in a series about the Drenai but I doubt if I would seek out others in the series.
This author was recommended to me by my friend Blaine. It had taken me months to pick it up after I bought it, and another month (or more) to finish it, but in the end I have to say that I loved this book. I admit, it was a little hard to get into when I first started. David Gemmell's way of transitioning between POV's really bothered me, and I have to wonder, is it like this in all his books? If so I don't know if I could stand to read anymore.
As for the story itself I really did enjoy it. It is based in the Drenai Empire as it is going to war against the Nadir Empire. I couldn't decide if these people were Vikings or just barbarians, but whatever, in my head they were all bearded fur laden Vikings with horns on their helmets and axes. The odds were basically 50/1 for the Nadir with their 500,000 and the Drenai with their 10,000 and the Drenai had to hold a fortress for at least a month before reinforcements would arrive. The Nadir a war race and the Drenai made up of farmers, towns people and a few soldiers.
Their only hope a 60 year old man called Druss the Legend. Can he whip the men into shape in order to hold the fortress?
The book centers mostly around 2 main characters. Druss and Regnak and their struggles inwardly and outwardly with a war that seems hopeless and their mortality. I loved how other characters were drawn into the plot to help move the story and let you get a feel for what the main characters were like on the outside view as well as the inside view.
David Gemmell helped draw the picture of war from the POV of some rather minor characters and their thoughts and feelings and the temporary-ness of everything. I think he wanted you to feel what they felt and for their desperation at such a hopeless time.
It was slow going at first as characters were introduced and the plot set up. I had a hard time staying focused on reading. It got better as the book went on (ignoring the POV annoyance) and by the time I was 2/3 of the way through I found it hard to put down. There was just so much build up for the last few chapters of the book it was almost annoying, The preparation for war, the love story, the struggles of common man, the supernatural aspects... it all came together in the end. I liked the characters and I cried a little as our heroes fell and cheered for their victories.
It does have a happy ending though as happy as an ending it can be after everyone pretty much dies and you're left thinking about how terribly sad it is. However as a whole the book leaves you with a sense of good triumphing over evil in whatever ways they can.