Friday, June 20, 2008

Legend by David Gemmell

The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, high in the lonely country bordering on the clouds. There the grizzled old warrior kept company with snow leopards and awaited his old enemy death.
The Fortress Mighty Dros Delnoch, protected by six outer walls, the only route by which an army could pass through the mountains. It was the stronghold of the Drenai empire. And now it was the last battleground, for all else had fallen before the Nadir hordes.
And hope rested on the skills of that one old man...

This is the book that made me really decide that I must buy the book, 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. I say that because I really want to know the logic behind putting Legend on the list. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down in fact. Apart from a slight annoyance that happened at the end of the book, I thought it was constructed well, I liked all of the characters. I liked the planning of the battle, the battle itself. I thought it showed men's courage during war, why people continue to fight even though the odds are stacked hugely against them. And maybe I'm prejudiced against fantasy books in some way that I didn't realise before, but when I finished it I seriously did wonder 'why is this on the list?' Somebody tell me, please. Go out and read it if you haven't already, you'll like it. Then come back and tell me what you thought.

1 comment:

  1. My friend gave me 1001 Books to Read Before you Die as a Christmas present.

    It reads: "David Gemmell's aging Druss the Legend represents one of the definitive characters in fantasy literature. With a man at the end of his life as a central protagonist, Gemmell's book is as much a meditation on a warrior long past his prime, as it is a rip-roaring fantasy. While its story may appear linear, it is the recourse to alternative perspectives and the complex split narratives- in which Druss is largely defined by the people who choose to follow him into his last battle- that sets it apart as a classic of fantasy literature.

    "Legend, the first book in Gemmell's "Drenai" series, is always aware of its predecessors, with clear undertones of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Wallace, but it is also very much a novel of the 1980s, seeking always to present events in a more realist tone. The text is a classic example of a simplistic narrative rendered in a novel manner. Druss is at times an unsympathetic figure yet he is always heroic, and his humanism renders him powerfully empathic. Druss demonstrates the complexities of a man who has become a warrior through circumstance rather than straight volition. At the same time, the unspoken code that e follows throughout his life makes him a powerful, and often fatherly figure, fulfilling the traditional role of reluctant hero by default rather than intent. Overall, Legend provides a fresh perspective in the genre by emphasizing the ordinariness of heroes, rather than resorting to inexplicable heroics.

    Hope that helps. I can recommend the 1001 Books book for guiding you through literature through the ages. I really enjoy having a flick through it every now and then, remembering books I've loved and why I loved them, and finding lots of new classics to get my teeth into.

    I think I'll probably not get around to reading this though. Fantasy is so not my thing.


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