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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best fantasy book i have had the pleasure to read
I am not a very big fan of fantasy novels. I get turned off from all of the magic, dragons and fairies that litter the genre. Which brings the question 'why did you buy this book?' quite honestly, i picked it out at random. how lucky was I! This book is such a departure from the steryotype of the fantasy genre, which gets pretty tiring after reading so many of the...
Published on 28 April 2001

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid but unspectacular, weakest of the Drenai books
I realised recently that I'd not read a David Gemmell novel for quite some time, so decided to finally crack open the first of his Rigante novels that I bought on the cheap off Amazon well over a year ago. Gemmell's novels are a bit like a favourite old armchair; comfortable and reliable. You know you're always going to get a decent story with a plot that rips along and...
Published on 8 Jun. 2009 by James Long


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best fantasy book i have had the pleasure to read, 28 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
I am not a very big fan of fantasy novels. I get turned off from all of the magic, dragons and fairies that litter the genre. Which brings the question 'why did you buy this book?' quite honestly, i picked it out at random. how lucky was I! This book is such a departure from the steryotype of the fantasy genre, which gets pretty tiring after reading so many of the same books. In Sword in The Storm, we have our hero, Connavar, a legendary future king who saves his people from utter destruction. As Gemmell shows, however, Connavar is just a man, with fears, limitations, and insecurities which we all possess. Gemmell shows us a man with tragic flaws who is ultimately misunderstood by all; a demi-god by the Keltoi, and a demon by his enemies. After reading this book, we know that he is neither. He is just a man, with a deep sense of honour and a terrible burden which he brought upon himself, and must face alone. It does have some magical elements to it, however, but Gemmell places it so perfectly, that the magic seems irrelevant. the story is about men, and ultimately, heroes. Gemmell creates characters which are so incredibly compelling, the reader develops genuine love for them all, much like Robert Jordan or even Ernest Hemingway. After reading this book, it restored my long lost love for fantsy novels, and is the perfect book for one get started in the genre.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, yet another credit to Gemmell's skill as a writer, 15 May 2000
By A Customer
Gemmell does it again. Readers of his books over the years will have seen the changes and developments in Gemmell's writing ability. Earlier novels (Legend...) were in parts, for want of a better description, corny. However, these novels began to progress and we were given legendary characters such as Waylander the Slayer (or Dakyeras......can't be too sure on the spelling of that......! ), Druss the Legend, Tenaka Khan, Chareos the Blade Master, Culain Larch Feragh, Tarantio & Dace, Talaban, John Shannow, Bane and Parmenion. With each new book that Gemmell has written, his characters have developed and become more and more believable. Raw emotions - love, hate, uncertanty, lust, rage, greed, honour, betrayal, kindness, courage. His characters have a realistic amount of each. He deals with the gritty reality of fantasy (a stark parody! ). He has not got glorious fighters with dragons and wzards. He has got moody characters, struggling with the weight of responsibility, never sleeping or eating (sounds like Karis the Ice Queen! ). Bloody, ferocious battles where whole chapters are painted with crimson expertise. I challenge ANYONE to read a Gemmell book and not love it!
In Sword in the Storm, the first book in the Rigante Series, we see Connoavar start his life and career under the watchful eye of his mentor - Ruathain. This book has shades of other classic titles from Gemmell, namely the older ones like Legend, and Waylander. Also the Stone armies are like late Romans (similar to the outlanders in Ironhand's daughter) and the Rigante are like celts or Highland clans of Scotland. Connavar is s fairly well rounded character that does his best to survive and bring freedom to the clans from the empire of Stone. However, the book lacks multi layer plot twists and also the story is one we have all heard before. That being a gross and corrupted empire trying to take over the world and destroy all in it's path while a handful of defenders do their best to survive. Sound familiar - like Legend, like Legend of Deathwalker, like King Beyond the Gate? For someone who has read all of Gemmell's books, this becomes too much of the same formula. Once again there is a saviour, someone who is a master tactition, someone who men flock to. Again, very familiar. This title does not stand up to the scrutiny of readers that like to tear a book to peices, but it does give a very enjoyable read for people that like heroic fantasy. And herein is a message - if you read to enjoy and not make criticism, you will love Gemmell. If you read and are thinking "this should be better, that is not as good as..." and so on, then you are defeating the whole idea of reading a Gemmell title.
I read this and loved it. I thought it was a good story, even if aspects of it were similar to others. The characters were developed and realistic - which is the key to all good characters. Gemmell always deals with basic human emotions with a skill I have rarely read. His books can bring tears to your eyes, make you laugh, make you smile but most of all give you an insight into the person you are. You read a Gemmell novel and you knmow that if you saw someone who needed help, you would be like Druss and stride on in there and lend a helping hand. Well, I would anyway. And no doubt many others would too.
So, yet another enjoyable read. Fans, you know what is coming but you also know you love every minute of it! If you are new to Gemmell, I recommend that you read this and all other Gemmell novels.
As a big fan I am looking forward to reading Hero in the shadows. This is my FIRST EVER review of anything so, please, do not judge it too harshly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning absolutely stunning, 28 May 2002
By 
Mr. Ken Pimlott "Connavar" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
I'll admit it I'm a big fan of David Gemmell. I usually pick up one of his books and know I'll have a good read. However this book far surpasses any of his others in my opinion. His main character Connavar is probably the most rounded, fleshed out one that Gemmell has ever invented. He has weaknesses, he's insecure sometimes but he always commands your attention. Connavar is however supported by other equal figures who Gemmell has made not only likeable but believable. I'm really at a loss to describe just how much I enjoyed this book. It's one of those that when you finish it you just close the back cover and say WOW.
Can't recommend this book enough. Long may David Gemmell continue writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sword in the Storm, 23 April 2012
By 
Steve D (London, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
Sword in the Storm is the first of David Gemmell's four-book 'Rigante' series, and Connavar another of his troubled heroes. In the other Gemmell books I've read to date the hero has been an older character, haunted by his past. Connavar is different, in that the story drops into his life at important moments, starting (naturally) with his birth, then jumping forward as he grows up and eventually learns of an enemy who will eventually engulf the Rigante, and sets about preparing his people for war. He is a character dogged by fate - in fact, the whole book seems to be about fate in one way or another. Each of the characters has a geas, a prediction about their lives that they mustn't break. If they do break it, then death will surely follow. There are characters who receive visions, such as the witch Vorna, and the mysterious Seidh, who have the ability to grant wishes - although, as Conn quickly learns, be careful what you wish for.

This is one of Gemmell's later novels, and I found it noticeable how his writing style had developed by this stage. It is such an easy, flowing read. I would never describe his books as challenging. His stories are marvellous entertainment with strong, memorable, flawed characters, painted in shades of grey, and a thought-provoking, solid moral centre. The way the characters develop over time is beautifully handled, and even those who only appear briefly leave an indelible mark, such is Gemmell's skill. You want to love them and hate them, often both at the same time. They all do what they do because they believe in it, and they all live with the regrets and consequences. Gemmell loved to kill off characters, too, and they are always treated in a believable way, high on emotion but without melodrama.

This is probably my favourite of his books that I've read to date, and I'm starting to find his books a real comfort read. They are object lessons in how to tell an absorbing fantasy tale in 450 pages or less. The ones I've read so far have never been less than entertaining, and always involving and exciting. The epilogue to this one is so ominous and full of foreboding that I wanted to jump straight into the next one, but I've managed to restrain myself - for now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy's king strikes again, 13 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
Sword in the Storm
For a veteran of Gemmell novels, the reader will notice that he has exhibited a greater patience with this story than some of his others, allowing the story to unfold in greater multifaceted richness in its 477 pages (high for a Gemmell novel).
As with all Gemmellian protagonists, Connovar is no caricature-hero, pure good defeating pure evil. He must constantly struggle with his own sin, fear, longing, hate, and pain, capturing the spirit of a man fully alive. The reader will come to love the Rigante people, to commune with them, to long to fight beside them.
Even though this genre of story is not wholly original, Gemmell still manages to surprise and shock with elements of his story, always keeping the reader enthralled. Gemmell remains the undisputed successor-king of fantasy-adventure authors. He pulls us deep into his world and into the souls of his characters, attaching us there, making it wrenching to depart. Most other fantasy literature is pale by comparison. After having read all of his books-to- date, I never touched one that I could put down. Sword in the Storm is no exception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly personal fantasy., 13 Sept. 2003
By 
Ian Tapley "thefragrantwookiee" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
THE STORY:
Connavar grows up among the simple folk of the Rigante, but when he leaves to become a scout for the armies of Stone, he soon realised that one day his own people will by confronted by Stone's invincible war machine.
WHAT'S GOOD:
Just about everything! This book blends fantasy and the history of Celtic Britain perfectly in the form of the life of young Connavar. Gemmel's talent lies in connecting you to his characters on a deep emotional level and in this book you will find yourself lamenting Connavar's failures and celebrating his triumphs as if they were your own. An interesting sub-plot is the conflict between the old magic spirits, such as the Morrigu, and the advancment of civilisation through the armies of Stone.
WHAT'S BAD:
I felt a little annoyed that this book didn't contain the Rigante's first battle with Stone's forces, but I guess that's intended to lead the reader into the series. Also, for some reason I can't quite explain, the use of 'Stone' to represent 'Rome' gets on my nerves.
Truly an unmissable piece of fantasy psuedo-history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sword and Sorcery and Fun, 16 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
I have read quite a lot of books by David Gemmell. So, I knew what to expect: a great story told by a real craftsman. Nevertheless, I approached this book from a different angle: I looked for a bedtime story to tell to my children during a holliday trip. Every evening I told about the (slightly modified) adventures of Connovar. To my great surprise, it was not only the children who were mesmerised by the story: the adults of the two families who accompagnied us on the trip, found all kind of reasons to be present during the telling of the story. But that was two months ago. At this time, I'm still waiting to get my copy back from my co-travelers. But they told me their neigbours are reading it ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Storming Gemmell, 14 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
'Sword in the Storm' is described as the 'Book one in the Rigante series' - how many times have we heard that? Oh, no not another trilogy (however we do not yet known how many books will appear in this sequence yet). Gemmell normally avoids this, most of this books are 'stand alone' or sequels to earlier works. The exception to this is 'Ironhand's Daughter', which was marketed in the UK as the '1st Book of the Hawk Queen' though only one other volume has appeared (The Hawk Eternal'). Actually it's rather good, well up to Gemmell's best. In terms of his other works, better than 'Waylander II: in the Realm of the Wolf' and 'Echoes of the Great Song' and on a par with the excellent 'Dark Moon' and 'Winter Warriors'. Fans will not be disappointed and new reader will enjoy Gemmell's rich glorious style. The main characters are typically Gemmell: passionate, resourceful and proud. Full of revenge and destiny, envy and greed. Gemmell's plots often revolve around simple passions and motivations. Not one dimensional, but just driven by basic human nature. This fits with Gemmell's often Bronze-age feel to his fantasy. His other characters are mixed and believable. Although 'Stone' is clearly late Republican Rome and the 'Rigante' probably Celts, this does not matter as it's handed well. But I did see an echo with the 'Outland' i.e. Roman Legions of 'Ironhand's Daughter' with Gemmell's new world of Rigante. And that's my one criticism of Gemmell, 'Ironhand's Daughter' was written only 3 or 4 years before the new Rigante series, but already we have a repetition of themes - he does seem to do this fairly often. This is of course just his style, and fans come to expect certain things of a writer. He would argue that basic human emotions such as revenge and lust for glory have driven great men and women throughout history and his characters are no different. I look forward, as always, to the next volume by this great British writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and Sweet...., 22 Jun. 2007
By 
A. Cresswell "Bubblefish777 - Born again Diver" (london, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
There are but a few truely great fantasy authors that I read again and again. David is one of the few authors that if I find myself with a layover or 4-5 hours stuck in an airport I'll actually buy one of his books, knowing I've already read it. Simply because within a few page turns I'm completely imerresed in his world and the hours that would otherwise have dragged by, quiet literally zoom past. I always finish his books uplifted and slightly wistful. Another great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The stuff of legends., 7 April 2009
By 
Robbie Swale - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) (Paperback)
I have just read Sword in the Storm. I have read it before - probably three or four times - but not for the last three or four years. Coming back to it now, it reads like the legend it will become for the fictional Rigante tribe. The amazingly vivid images - Connovar rescuing the fawn from the brambles, and then later, turning to fight the bear armed only with a knife - feel as mythical and important as the sword in the stone, or Robin Hood winning the Silver Arrow contest in Nottingham.

Sword in the Storm is the beginning of what I would call David Gemmell's finest series. The Rigante series - which continues with Midnight Falcon, Ravenheart and Stormrider - comes after Gemmell has spent years honing his writing (always brilliant) and more importantly his plots. The classic Gemmell characters are here, but it feels like this is where they were meant to be. And that in his previous works he was merely building up to this moment.

This may not be my favourite Gemmell book - it is probably not my favourite in the series - but still feels like a vital part of my life. It is inspiring, uplifting and life-affirming: the stuff of legends.

This story is part of my folklore, and I thoroughly recommend it.
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Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1)
Sword In The Storm: (The Rigante Book 1) by David Gemmell (Paperback - 3 Jun. 1999)
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