David Gemmell's LEGEND

Heroic fantasy has never been this good. This novel currently earns the 4.5/5 (132 reviewers) rating of approval from Amazon and Shelfari readers and 4.18/5 (3580 reviewers) from folks at Goodreads. Originally published in 1984, this first published book of the Drenai series is actually the final story for Druss the Legend. Just like the lead character Paul Atreides in Frank Herbert's DUNE, Druss owns a lot of monicker to his friends and enemies.  In Ventria he is known as Druss the Sender and in Vagria he is known as the Axman. To the Nadir he is Deathwalker while in Lentria he is the Silver Slayer. As a living hero of his land, his reputation as Captain of the Ax precedes him to any place or territory of operation. He is the thinking man's version of Conan and King Leonidas. It is important to know that this hero already accomplished a lot in his adventures and this book---the final story will also be his final adventure.

There is complexity and realism with the story, and the main plot here about defending a fortress from a military siege can easily compete against any memorable siege story like Battle for Helm's Deep or Battle for Minas Tirith from Tolkien's ultra popular Lord of the Rings trilogy. The forces of Dros Delnoch will recieve reinforcements but still the enemies greatly outnumber the defensive ranks. Druss the Legend will need everything to lift the morale of the defense by inspiration and strategy. The Battle for Dros Delnoch lasted for months (3 months at least) and if you're a military historian, this novel might remind you of the 13-day Battle of the Alamo, or more recently World War II's Siege of Leningrad that lasted 872 days.

It is a fantasy given the magical elements of dream visions, mind reading, mystic skirmishes and rituals, the resurrection, but it has also some scientific and real life elements like cancer, poisons, gangrene, military strategy, spies, and war casualties. David Gemmell never overused the fantastic elements and like Tao or the "force" for Jedi Knights, the mystic group of Serbitar believed in the eternal Source. I already stated about Conan and King Leonidas before and additionally I also saw characters resembling King Arthur, Robin Hood, Lady Marian, and King Xerxes including their background stories. The notoriety of Druss' equally legendary ax--the Snaga is also one of the highlights in the novel. The gritty realism of war is the novel's rallying point, you will feel the chill of unexpected decapitations and the anticipation of when will they happen next. Just like GRR Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series, look out for betrayals, assassinations, and coup. A lot of characters and people were involved but its good to see that most of the characters grew up with the story. One of the main characters dying from a disease before the great siege also adds up to realism and shock value.

Gemmell's multi-perspective narrative is also helpful in this novel. There is no black & white in this book. As a common reader who encounters any heroic fantasy or epic fantasy, I assumed that this novel would be all about Druss and what makes him a Legend. But I was completely wrong. The legend here does not belong to one man. The legend belongs to all men and women who served, fought, and died defending the six walls of Dros Delnoch. David Gemmell admits of growing up hearing idealized stories of heroes that never lied, evil never triumphed, and love as always true and it's here in this novel that we would see these undying themes without boredom.

All in all, it was a frikkin good trip. Listed in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, it is highly recommended for lovers of epic and heroic fantasy before they die.

Category: Genre, Epic, Fantasy, Mature Reading
Rating: 4.5 bronze armors out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your comments here!