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Author Profile: David Gemmell

I have never been ashamed to admit that, as an English Literature student, one of my all time favourite authors is a writer of heroic fantasy. There are a lot of books I love, spanning a broad range of genres, but David Gemmell is the author who I always find myself returning to.

David Gemmell, author of over thirty novels, was Britain’s bestselling fantasy author until his death in 2006. In a similar manner to J.R.R Tolkien Gemmell has forged worlds that are unbelievably detailed and intricately woven, for example his Drenai series spans across generations of characters.

His first novel Legend, published in 1984, was admittedly rocky in places. Yet, what made up for his writing was the page-turning plot. With the main protagonist who is an aging warrior with a dodgy knee, Gemmell gave fantasy readers an all too different novel.

What made Gemmell so different from authors such as G.R.R. Martin was his storytelling. Do not misunderstand me, I do appreciate the Game of Thrones world, however Gemmell created characters that the reader could not only relate to but also found inspirational. His novels typically dealt with themes of honour, friendship and loyalty as Gemmell once admitted himself that he didn’t want to write books about “mindless savagery”. Although his writing was occasionally simplistic Gemmell was a brilliant storyteller who could not only paint vivid battles but was also capable of evoking powerful emotions within the reader. A fan once wrote to Gemmell saying that he had been out walking his dog when he saw two men attacking a woman. Filled with thoughts of heroism, having just finished one of Gemmell’s books, he rushed in at the men causing them to run away.

Whether you’re a connoisseur of fantasy or not, you will find that there is a magical quality to his books. Find a book that is suitable for you:

Fancy a stand-alone novel without committing to a series? Read Dark Moon. Three elder races ruled the earth: the peaceful Eldarin, the mystical Oltor and the sadistic Daroth. Yet in one single night the Daroth vanished: along with their cities, armies and terror. Thousands of years later, after the elder races have faded into myth, a dark moon rose and a black tidal wave swept across the land. From this re-emerged the Daroth who only had one desire: to rid the world of humankind. Now the only thing that can stop them are three heroes: Karis, a highly intelligent warrior woman, Duvodas the Healer and Tarantio, a man with a demonic alter-ego.

Copyright: Corgi
Copyright: Corgi Publishing

A fan of Greek mythology? Fancy something a bit different? Read Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow. Not only did Gemmell create worlds but he also wrote alternative-history novels. In his Troy series Gemmell ingeniously twists our perceptions of the Greek heroes. Focusing on the minor characters of the Trojan War, follow Helikaon, Andromache and Argurios as they negotiate the complicated politics of Troy as war begins to brew on the horizon.

Need an inspirational hero? Read The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend. Druss is perhaps Gemmell’s most iconic hero. Throughout all the Drenai books he’s mentioned in passing by characters, even in the novels that are set thousands of years after he has died. In The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend Gemmell shows where Druss’s journey began. Working in a remote village as a lumberjack, Druss’s wife Rowena is kidnapped by slavers. In order to save her Druss travels continents, helps win battles and wars, and becomes known as a Legend along the way.

Or would you prefer to read about an anti-hero? Read Waylander. The Drenai King is dead – murdered by an assassin. In the wake of his death the country falls into chaos and enemy armies invade the land. Stalked by enemies and beasts the warrior Waylander must travel into foreign lands to find the legendary Armour of Bronze to provide hope for the Drenai nation. But can this man be trusted? As Waylander is the man who killed the king.