Book Review – Legend by David Gemmell

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I first read Legend in my teens and loved it. Recently I was prompted to read it again and I’m delighted to say it has stood the test of time.

There are lots of reasons to like this book. It has a great cast of characters, covering both the traditional hero figures and the men who serve under them. The plot is well done, similar to other stories of a small force holding out against a much larger one, think of films like The Alamo, The Magnificent Seven, Zulu, 300 etc., and the writing is tight if a little functional. That sounds like a gripe, but actually the style suits the book perfectly.

The thing that struck me this time was the wonderful feeling of claustrophobia of a story which is mostly set in a very small gegraphical area, namely between the seven walls of the fortress of Dros Delnoch. This has the effect of pulling you right into the centre of the action, so that when you stop reading it’s like you’ve come up gasping for air.

I’m now going to have to add his other books to my ever expanding TBR list.

Do you have any books you’ve reread after a long time? Did they stand the test of time?

If you fancy a quick fantasy read, why not try The Path Of Swords? Six reviews on Amazon UK and they’re all 5 star.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC for the US

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An Act of Faith

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Gardening is an act of faith. I remember a friend of mine saying “I knew my Dad was going to get better when he went out and started planting up his vegetable garden”. His father had been very ill, and for a while it had looked like he might not recover. Planting the vegetables showed that he himself believed he would be around to harvest them. Gardening is indeed an act of faith.

I was reminded of this when reading a piece on Alec Nevala Lee’s excellent blog entitled ‘Are you a gardener or an architect’ referring to a quote from George R. R. Martin. The idea being that there are two types of writer: Architects, who plan everything beforehand and work to a blueprint, and Gardeners who start with the seed of an idea and then cultivate it and watch it grow. You should read the piece.

It is an interesting idea, but I don’t think I fall into either category. To me writing a novel is like going on a journey. You have a plan, you know where you want to get to, and you probably have a good idea of the route you want to take, but you still have to walk it. As you go along there will be things that surprise you and things that make you wonder, places where the going is hard and places where the view is worth it. Sometimes you can see your goal but you don’t know what’s round the next corner.

I’ve been walking my path for over two years and I’m nearly at journey’s end. I’m keeping up the pace, it’s January 8th and I’ve written 800 words this month, spot on my 100 words per day. Sometimes I feel impatient, I want to rush to the end so I can turn round and enjoy the view, but I know it’s not the way.

Sometimes writing is also an act of faith.

I wrote this a year and a half ago as I was coming to the finish of writing what became a trilogy of novellas. Given that I have now published the first, The Path Of Swords, it seemed a good time to look back. The first week has been pleasing, we’ve sold a few and at one point ranked around 43,000 which may not seem very high but isn’t bad out of over a million books!

Have a look at the book on Amazon.com in the US or Amazon.co.uk in the UK

 

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Pre-match Nerves

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Tomorrow my story The Path Of Swords will be for sale on Amazon and I’m a little nervous. There are all kinds of thoughts that occur at a time like this. Will it look ok on the page? Is the cover right? Is the blurb interesting enough? Have I checked carefully enough for typos etc? WILL PEOPLE LIKE IT?

But I’m ignoring all these thoughts. My goal has never been to publish a book, have zillions of sales and retire to the Caribbean. I mean, that would be nice but it’s never been the plan. The plan is to write a series that people will read and enjoy. This is the first step, and as such it’s an important one but there is a long way to go. It’s a journey that I’m enjoying so far and I’m in no rush. Too often the first time you do something slips by without you realising it. I intend to savour the moment.

Remember that you have until lunchtime today (12th May) to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

Maps and Legends

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I love books with maps so I was very happy to sit down and start mapping out the world of the Second Son series which I did fairly soon after I started writing. At first I had it all straight in my head but I got to the point where I needed to actually see it. I drew this as a working document, it’s not meant to be the sort of map that you stick in the front of a book. Having said that it’s something I want to do and I will probably draw/paint one for the omnibus that will come out after the first three books of the series. Not going to worry about it just yet though!

And if you’re wondering why I’ve added legends to maps in the title then you need to listen to more REM.

Remember that you have until Friday to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

The Song of Amhar

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The Song of Amhar

Five great ships from out of the night

Riding the waves to the land of light

Amhar the strong, with foresight blessed

Follows his destiny into the west

 

Considering I’m the sort of person who a) likes poetry, b) used to write songs and c) read the Lord of the Rings every year for about 15 years, its not surprising that bits of song and poetry crop up in The Path Of Swords. Obviously not too much, you don’t want to slow the narrative down too much, but there a times when adding something different really helps set the scene. This especially true when you consider the type of civilisation that the characters inhabit. Poetry, song and story are the way history is recorded, and knowledge passed on. Also one of the main characters is Mack, an aged minstrel, a wandering bard that befriends Luan and helps him along his way.

Remember that you have until Friday to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

How do you build a world?

 

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There is a certain amount of world building required every time you start a story, but in a fantasy book it’s a fundamental part of the process. In my case the process was based on a series of questions which I had to answer before I could start writing.

What would Britain have been like if it had never been invaded, whether that was by Romans, Saxons, Vikings or Normans. How would our Celtic culture have developed over time?

What if no one had seen horses before?

What if Iron technologies were scarce, but you had the secret while your enemies still used Bronze?

What if the Faerie world of Celtic legend existed, and you could use it to influence events in the real world?

What if you were a man, who saw beyond the petty squabbles of your local tribes, and glimpsed a whole land?

What if you then braved the journey to the spirit world and brought back Iron weapons and horse soldiers and used them to forge a Kingdom?

The answers to these questions led to the creation of the legend of Amhar the Strong, founder of the Kingdom of the young, but The Path Of Swords isn’t his story

That story is set 500 years later.

Remember that you have until Friday to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

Amazon here we go!

 

The Path of Swords will be appearing on a famous book selling website near you this Saturday! That’s right, after a feverish week or so going through the mechanics of getting the book onto Amazon we’re ready to roll, and guess what? There’s a new cover!

So Saturday 13th May is the date. The cost will be 99p or 99 cents, depending where you are, although there will be a giveaway coming up fairly soon.

Meanwhile you have until Friday, that’s just four days, to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

After that it will be exclusively available on Amazon. The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.