on 25 October 2006
Having just read D.Eddings Malloeran, I was scratching my head for what to read when my father lent me this. It was my first David Gemmell book and what can I say but wow. You just cannot put this book down. The character development is second to none. You are drawn into their world of brutal fighting, murder and intrigue with a sense longing for the time of heroes. Even the main characters enemies are explored and their voices heard through the authors brilliant writings.
I found this such a fine detailed book but also extremely easy to read. Some fantasy novels have a habit of stretching things too far and too deep into their complexitites but Gemmell seems to strike the perfect balance. I loved this book so much that I bought the second in this series, Troy:Shield of Thunder, before I finshed it. Having just finished that in a record time for myself of 2 days(3 kids and full time job not withstanding) I feel myself yearning for more. In my opinion the second is even better than the first.That deserves a wowee!!
Sadly, David Gemmell passed away this year at the age of 57 before completing the final installment Troy:Fall of Kings. I feel totally selfish in my yearning for this book, which is to be completed by his wife. I did not know of this author before 3 weeks ago and yet I feel genuinely saddened at the loss of such a talent.
In a nutshell, these books have impressed me so much I will buy this one for myself and continue to buy David Gemmell until I have read all his books. I have yet to see a bad review of a single one. Get it, you won't be disapointed.
on 21 January 2012
Where to start? Yes, Gemmell definitely approaches the myth of the Trojan War with a new angle - but it's fresh, dynamic, and ultimately compelling. The focus is on minor characters from the original legend, and characters of Gemmell's own devising - and this really renews and regenerates the tale. With retellings of the Trojan War, as a reader you tend to go into it expecting certain characters to take centre stage and certain plot points to be hit along the way. That's totally subverted here, and we don't know what's going to happen to the main characters of this tale - as a reader you go through that process of tension and discovery all over again, and it's a delight. Gemmell still hits enough of the key points - the big names are still a part of the story, they're just not the focus, and the Trojan War itself is the trilogy's major arc and setting - to please fans of Homer's original such as myself, but alters other points in such new and interesting ways to make the trilogy's tale a real surprise. As for fantasy, if anything Gemmell's version has far less fantastical elements than Homer's does. Gemmell works hard to really make his version plausibly historical, including elements from the archaeology and history of the real late Bronze Age Aegean, and reinventing elements of divine intervention into an historical alternative.
It's hard to explain why I enjoyed Gemmell's writing style so much. The word was solid. The prose was absolutely solid and tight, its competency really shone through. Its consistency was obvious too - the quality of writing never waivers, throughout the entire trilogy in fact. It's not high-flown stuff, more like tales-by-the-fireside which is where one gets a sense of Gemmell the fantasy author, and this is what makes it so compelling and a real page-turner. Gemmell could write that brand of mixed-up, earthy characters, and a realistic story with just the right blend of grittiness and tension with touching heart-warming moments.
This first book is more of a build up to the Trojan War, a setting of the scene so to speak, and in Gemmell's uber-realistic world of shady political manoeuvrings and complex webs of agenda, it needs to be. That's not a complaint - I adored the set up, the back story, made me feel like these characters really were part of a wider world set in history, not just an isolated fantastical episode of legend. Even though this first book is a build up to the war and just the beginning of the trilogy's bigger story, it still works as a standalone, with its own smaller tale, tension, and climactic, exciting finish. On the flashbacks - they never confused me and never bored me, they always seemed to tie in with the story, and I thought they were a clever nod to the way Homer himself deviates in The Iliad and The Odyssey to tales of past exploits, except that Gemmell makes his past anecdotes shorter and snappier. Personally I found the characterisations unexpected, interesting and grey - just the way I like them. This whole trilogy is definitely a re-read for me at some point in the future.
on 26 August 2014
David Gemmell keeps you enthralled from the start to the end. The characters are likeable and the plot woven with skill. He involves your head and heart and shows that love conquers the viciousness and cruelty that abounds. I would encourage anyone to read his books.
on 9 March 2015
OHMYGOD fantastic book, would recommend to absolutely anyone with an interest in reading and even some who don't. I personally have read the book three times and will continue to re-read over and over.
on 15 October 2005
Being a fan of the epic fantasy genre - the likes of George RR Martin, JV Jones, and Robert Jordan - I hadn't read too many of David Gemmell's books prior to meeting him and having this, his new book, signed. But from the moment I started reading it I found it captivating.
I was familiar with the heroic nature of Gemmell's characters, such as the legendary Druss, and I found that several of the characters in "Lord of the Silver Bow" are of similar mould. But I can see how much better Gemmell has become since those early days: this is a much more intricate and complex book, but one that never confuses, and manages to weave together many storylines to give each character a great depth and uniqueness.
There's plenty of gritty action, romance, some historical background, political wrangling, backstabbing and betrayal, but above all the greatness of Gemmell's writing is in his ability to capture that strong emotional moment - where you feel for a downtrodden youngster, or sympathise with a misunderstood outcast, cheer for the brave victor, laugh at the outragious stories of a wisened old veteran, or weep for a fallen hero. Gemmell captures all that, but at no point do you sense that it feels contrived or implausible.
The quality of Gemmell's writing is measured, deliberate, and solid - highly descriptive yet econimical, rarely wasting time, and as a result this book of some 475 pages moves along at a fast pace. The only - minor - complaint is the inclusion of two or three awful one-liners that seem entirely out of place, but that takes nothing away from the book as a whole and the 5-star rating is thoroughly deserved. There's hardly any fantasy fiction being written of this high quality, it makes for an immeasurably satisfying read, and heartens one to think that the elite circle of the best authors remaining in the fantasy genre is increasing rather than diminishing.
I read this while waiting (5 years!) for George Martin's new book "A Feast For Crows" and I can honestly and gladly say that David Gemmell is rising up there, to be amongst the very best, and I eagerly await the second novel in his amazing trilogy of Troy.
Famed more for his fantasy work, most notably his Drenai Series and his recent Rigante Quartet, David Gemmell surprised a number of people when he announced that he had ".....nursed a secret yen to write a novel about Troy." And that it was going to be the project that he would be working on for the next 3-4 years, culminating in a trilogy based on Homer's Epic.
When this information made its way to fans of his previous work, a great number of questions came flooding in from around the world, such as : How is he going to do this? Will he depart the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre in favour of Historical Fiction, and if he did would this novel have the classic trademarks of his other tales that have won him fans the world over? Other questions sprouted from that one acorn and left others wondering if he would have perhaps been better writing it under a pseudonym such as he did with White Knight, Black Swan and to keep writing the novels that the fans want. Or perhaps more worryingly, considering the recent plethora of films and novels connected to the ancient past, would this novel be something that would be better consigned to Pandora's box never to see the light of day?
All these questions and more needed answers but on a personal level, the Troy Trilogy is perhaps something that I've been hoping he would tackle since I read Lion of Macedon as well as Dark Prince, his previous excursions set in the time of Alexander and Phillip II of Macedon. Troy which has so oft been hinted at in previous novels (Ghost King, Last Sword of Power) has obviously held a fascination with him for a number of years and to be honest is something that to many people will have been crying out for an author like David to tackle. After all who was Homer but an ancient ancestor to the modern writer, making the time right, in a new millennium for the tale to have new life breathed into it.
But what does this novel have that will attract the public to part with their cash?
As usual with Gemmell's work the writing is crisp and whilst informative with some basic facts, required to give the reader an understanding into the worlds workings, it doesn't overload them, making them lose interest with the way the novel is expanding. The tale also moves at its own pace and as such the author isn't rushing into events that could well see the reader singled out and left wondering, "Why did that happen?" Or "What does it mean?" Allowing them to draw their own conclusions around the events surrounding the principle characters as well as giving them a greater understanding of how they ply their livelihoods. In fact, pace wise, it moves at the speed of the waves, sometimes quickly, whilst at other times at a more sedate pace, allowing each chapter to unfold to the reader as of they also a member of the expedition, sailing the "great green" side by side with the heroes of ancient history, giving them the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of ancestors thousands of years in the past.
This tale, I feel marks a change in his writing and as such will win him more fans the world over, not only does it keep the loyal followers of David's writing happy with the way in which he bridges the genres but it also offers something a little different in respect to the hero. Although a hero to all, Helikaon (The Golden One) show's a darker side to his personality, something that we've only ever seen in the reverse, a bad guy going good. Through this novel the reader is allowed a glimpse into the darker side of humanity, to see the reverse and as such its refreshing that a writer is prepared to do something that will perhaps shock a great many but also allows the human, emotional side to show through the characters loss. For me that particular scene in the novel more than justifies the cost and as such, with the way the novel finishes makes sure that a great many others will clamour to follow the latest antihero on his next voyage.
It is for this reason he has become perhaps one of the most popular British writers in the world today. Each character has had an incredible amount of time put into their development, allowing the reader to see the full three dimensional emotional character rather than a plain two dimensions, that make the obvious difference between a farcical cartoon stereotype and the heroes to which we are presented by Gemmell. In my opinion, it is this that everyone clamours for and as such will continue Gemmell's reign at the top of the Fantasy tree for many years to come. I await the chance to sail the "great green" again with Helikaon in Shield of Thunder.
on 29 December 2005
Gemmell once more takes us on an epic adventure of history with his own twist. It has been said that this book is a bit slow and not as action packed as some of his Drenai series or Stones of Power book, but it is a multi part series about the same period of history, where as most of the other books were either stand alone or prequals to previous books, IE, the Druss the Legend series. This book deals with a period of time that has huge interest to me and, as always, I love the personal spin on the truth that David puts into his 'historical' books. This is a must for all Gemmell fans, and I cannot wait for the second book to come out! Buy it, you will not regret it!!!
on 16 September 2005
I'm impressed. Simply put, this book is a new direction in a way for Gemmell, that I hadn't expected from him. I have all his books, and I love him as a writer. I'm also obsessed with Greek legends, and this book covers them in a very unique way. The language of the book is perfect, causing you to imagine the story rather than just reading it. I read it in one day, and nobody & nothing could stop me reading it.
I'm not going to go in depth about the storyline since the two reviews above do that very well, but I will say this is a must buy if you're a fantasy fan. Perfectly written. Has love, betrayal, heroism, joy, pain, and all through this you can relate with the characters. Rather than godlike hero's they're characters you could believe yourself to become had you been in the same situation. Awesome. Has joined the twelve or so books that sit beside my bed, while the rest are in the computer room for the odd read.
I'd give more than 5 stars but Amazon is rather limited in this, lol
on 26 May 2006
I have to admit that I am puzzled by the statements claiming this book to be a slow starter. This book is quite a departure from his previous style in that this is the first time he has set out to write a series, the other series have all started from one book and grown from there.
It is true that the 'hack and slay' element is not present from the start, but I did not find that a problem. There were many characters to get to know, all created with that bit of extra flavour that make David's books so special. Indeed, half the enjoyment is wondering where these character traits will surface and how they will develop in the tale.
The Greek pseudo-historical setting is one that we have previously enjoyed with Dark Prince, but now this comes across with even more authority. The tie-ins with Illiad and Odyssey are dealt with excellently, and the detail given to historical elements leaves you feeling that a lot of research went into this book, but not at the expense of the narrative which I found to be compelling.
My only regret is that I know I will have to wait another 2 books before I know all the answers, and having bought and read this one as soon as it came out (as I have done with every Gemmell book), that could be some time.
on 1 January 2014
It's getting five stars but I wish I could give it more, the book is full of great characters and a well developed plot. It is rare to find a book where even the antagonists are three dimensional characters and where even the protagonists and heroes have flaws, though they only serve to add to the rich atmosphere Gemmell creates in his writing and you can still sympathise despite these character flaws.