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4.6 out of 5 stars
Ravenheart: A Novel Of The Rigante: (The Rigante Book 3)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2001
As always i was excited by the prospect of a new David Gemmell book. even more so because his other two Rigante titles were so excellent. i was not disappointed, as ever his characters were real and the action gripping. i found myself reading the book in only a couple of days. How ever, this book seems to lack something as a story on its own, the end seemingly waiting for a sequel which i hope we get. whilst not as good as Sword in the Storm or Midnight Falcon in my opinion, it opens up a new angle to the Rigante series which begs to be later explored in great depth. The mixed references to the two previous books, especially the mistaken history as written by the Varlish people adds depth and i found myself smiling time and again. An allround excellent read with top notch characters who, as ever, shift through shades of grey, never wholly good nor evil, David Gemmell remains my favourite author
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2005
David Gemmell continues his entertaining Rigante series with Ravenheart set 800 years after the first set of the series (Sword in the Storm and Midnight Falcon).
The Rigante are now a conquered people living under the rule of the Varlish people. Their great traditions are slowly being erased as they are treated as second class citizens with few rights and basically as barbarians. This brings the some interesting scenes in the book as characters from both sides deal with their feelings towards each other.
Kalein Ring is a young Rigante growing up in this society. The story follows him from being lashed by a Varlish school teacher to leading a Rigante assault near the end of the book.
The real star of the book is Jaim Grymuach, a giant of a man and a 'true' Rigante, always in trouble, a drunkard, but the most likeable character of this tale. He refuses to bow to the Varlish laws and live his life as he pleases. His role in the Spring feast was uplifting and he becomes a legend by the end of the tale.
The trial at the end of the book is well written, exciting and emotionally moving. It was an excellent way to finish the novel. School teacher Alderith turns from dislikeable teacher to heroic defender of Maev Ring.
This book is characteristic of David Gemmell, fans will find nothing new here from the first books of the series. He writes likeable characters and is extremely easy to read, but some may feel that they have read these stories and met these characters before.
The book is not as 'stand alone' as the first two Rigante novels, I am eagerly awaiting delivery of the Storm Rider to find out how the story ends.
Also, as one of the main protagonists, Kaelin Ring is not quite as interesting as his predecessors Connavar and Bane, but I am hoping this will change by the next book.
Overall; a good entertaining read which will not disappoint fans of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2001
Set 800 years after the Connavar and Bane, the Rigante are now a conquered people, under the harsh and cruel yoke of the Varlish. 3 heroes will set in motion the events that may set the Rigante free. Jiam Grymauch, a giant, a rogue and a rascal, the last true clans man. Kaelin Ring, Ravenheart, Jaim's nephew his father murdered by the Moidart leader of the Varlish. Of Connavar's bloodline, quick to anger and violent of temperment. The last is Gaise Macon, stormrider, raised as the son of the Moidart, and destined to free the Rigante. This tale is set in a land of muskets swords and cannons, it tells the tale of racial hatreds and old blood feuds. It is Kaelin's and Jaim's tale, of Jaim's legend and the tradgedy that light's the fires of rebellion. David Gemmell writes a compelling spellbinding masterpiece that captivates and tantalises from the first page. A magnificent read such as we have come to expect and love from David Gemmell. I was unable to put the book down until I had finished it cover to cover. I enjoyed this book so much that I have already re read it twice and have been wrapped in joy and wonder on each occassion. If you are a Gemmell fan this is a must have addition, if Gemmell is new to you then is the ideal book to introduce you to a master writer, who weaves tales of beauty and greatness that stir the heart, mind and imagination. I can not more strongly recommend a book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2003
If you've ever read any of David Gemmell's work before, then you will not be surprised by anything in this novel. The characters are painstakingly and colourfully developed and the storyline is full of his usual mix of bloodshed, injustice and the downtrodden underdogs rising against corrupt and powerful oppressors. I'll say one thing for Gemmell's work - it's consistent! He works to a successful formula, and for the most part his fans will not be disappointed.
My only criticism of this book is that although it is undoubtedly, as is claimed, a Novel of the Rigante, he has skipped so much time from the first two books of the series to this one that the storyline has lost the pace and excitement that he had developed with Connovar and Bane. Yes, the new characters are arguably as good, likeable and powerful, but he has to develop the whole social system again from scratch and so by the end of the 500 odd pages, the story was really only beginning to gather the impetus that he had achieved with the first two books. Although this is the third book of the series, it reads as though it is the first and that in itself made it slightly disappointing.
Gemmell at his best is undoubtedly a five star author, but Ravenheart wouldn't be my recommendation as his best work. It is simply more Gemmell - and that, although good, is a bit of a shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2001
I guess you are either a David Gemmell fan or you arent. Without doubt I am and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book which contained the usual diverse collection of characters who are neither wholly good nor wholly bad. What surprised me about this latest story from Gemmell is that he seems to have developed from his usual formula. Whereas his other books have grown progressively more violent this story seems more subtle, more respectful of the value of human life and is woven around instances of tension and suspense rather than pitched battles involving armies of 50,000 men! I must admit i was pleasantly surprised. However be warned this book does require a sequel as it leaves a few sub-plots hanging and some characters only partially developed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It is probably impossible for Mr Gemmell to write a bad book, his books need to be measured in varying degrees of 'good'. There is no finer writer of heroic fantasy. Ravenheart is more personal then most Gemmell books, and one of the characters has a basis on a real relative of David Gemmell. Sadly this relative has passed away and this book is a kind of tribute to him. Solid characters set in the usual Gemmell mold and a story that draws you in immediately and grips you tightly until the end. With most Gemmell books there is a series link, but they can all be read as stand alone novels. This one is, however, very much part one of a two parter. It's going to be a long wait until the next one....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2003
Ravenheart is a brilliant book although it is a bit dissapointing.
Its dissapointing because although the story line draws you in the book ends before the story has sunkin in. like in all gemmell books there is at least one fantastic character that you just love reading about, and this book dosent dissapoint when you read ravenheart you will be drawn in to a fantastic character which i am not goin to give away but my advice is read it you will love it if you are a gemmell fan but be warned you must read storm rider afterwards because ravenheart leaves the story on a cliff hanger the story dosent end in ravenheart.
so buy the book it is a great buy for gemmell fans.
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on 29 August 2012
This is the third of Gemmell's Rigante novels. First thing to note: the cover is rubbish! Like Midnight Falcon before it, it's not a typical sequel, in that it doesn't carry on directly from the last book. What Gemmell liked to do was to create a world and then tell different stories about the heroes and villains who made a difference at particular points in time.

Jumping forward 800 years he now brings us to what may be the last days of the Rigante, a beleaguered people who have either been subjugated by the Varlish, or who have been pushed so far north that only a few hundred remain living in 'freedom'. It's another story of heroic deeds, sacrifice, and evil. However, it's quite refreshing in some ways. It's a story that is scaled down to just a few characters and how their troubles impact upon the greater picture.

There are some typically wonderful characters here, particularly in the shape of Jaim, Kaelin, Chara, Maev and Alterith. They are complex and believable people whose actions make perfect sense. Some of the things that happen to them are uplifting, some heartbreaking. When a young Varlish girl falls in love with Kaelin, a Rigante, there is outrage and bigotry. When she is taken, raped and murdered, the suspicion falls, of course, on the wrong people. Kaelin knows who has committed this foul act and pursues them, killing them with his father's pistols (weaponry has moved on a bit in those 800 years). The Moidart, local ruler of the Varlish, sets his best tracker and assassin to find the killer, leading Kaelin to escape to the north.

Gemmell's writing, by this stage, was honed to perfection for the genre. He had me hanging on every plot and sub-plot, building suspense masterfully. And, even if you think you can predict what's going to happen, he always throws in a twist, some spark of originality which sets his tales apart. The final pages contain some of his most emotive writing that I have encountered to date, and genuinely brought tears to my eyes.
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on 7 June 2009
I wasn't totally sure what to expect with Ravenheart, the third novel in David Gemmell's Rigante series. The first book, Sword in the Storm, was something of a disappointment, while the second, Midnight Falcon, is a superb novel that ranks alongside Gemmell classics like Legend and Waylander. I was therefore intrigued to see how Ravenheart turned out.

The action kicks off some 800 years after the events of Midnight Falcon. The Rigante are now a conquered people, living under the yoke of their cruel Varlish conquerors, led by the black-hearted Moidart. The story centres on Kaelin Ring, a young Rigante descended from the legendary King Connovar. Along with his mentor, the huge highlander Jaim Grymauch, Kaelin rises up against the Varlish and becomes a figurehead for the Rigante rebellion.

With Sword in the Storm, Gemmell had to introduce a new world and new characters, as well as laying the foundations for the events in Midnight Falcon. The same is largely true of Ravenheart; the world has changed much since the events of the previous novel, and Gemmell is forced to spend some time illustrating this (although all four Rigante books can be read on their own, they technically form two separate duologies that are only tenuously linked). Fortunately, he manages to do this without hindering the pacing of the novel (which I felt was one of the problems with Sword in the Storm).

The world itself is roughly equivalent to early eighteenth century Europe, and as the novel progresses it becomes clear that the English Civil War was a strong influence in the novel's development. This new level of technology means that we have guns and cannons, and this adds a fresh dynamic to the mix. Gemmell was always good at traditional battle scenes, and here he proves equally adept at describing black powder warfare. The strong mystical element of the previous novels remains intact, so the end result is an appealing combination of magic and technology which works extremely well.

Anyone who has more than a passing familiarity with Gemmell's work knows the sort of characters he always created - heroes with a touch of evil in them, villains with a touch of good, courageous men that commit cowardly acts and cowardly men that commit brave acts. Gemmell's most enduring quality is his characterisation, and this is again evident in Ravenheart. Kaelin Ring at first is perhaps a little similar to his ancestors Connovar and Bane, but he eventually develops his own personality and soul. Jaim Grymauch is a vintage Gemmell hero. Physically strong, brave and kind-hearted, he's a lovable rogue that always does what is right rather than what is easy, and the sacrifice he is forced to make lends tremendous emotional weight to the novel's climax.

Yet interestingly for a Gemmell novel, one of the most interesting characters is not one that wields a weapon. The Varlish schoolmaster, Alterith Shaddler, goes on to play a crucial role in the story. The subsequent character development and progression of Shaddler is extremely satisfying to watch unfold, not to mention inspirational (in fact, the sacrifice he makes - and the strength it takes him to do so - is comparable to that of Grymauch). As always, the villain of the piece - the Moidart - is not all he's cracked up to be, and the flaws of his character (of which there are many) are convincingly explained.

The plot of Midnight Falcon was more expansive and unpredictable than many of Gemmell's other work, and Ravenheart continues in this vein. The result is a number of sub-plots that weave skilfully around the main plot and all reach satisfying conclusions. Interestingly, rather than ending with a huge battle (the staple Gemmell ending) the novel's climax is much smaller scale, but packed with action and emotion. Interestingly, it involves a court case - and Gemmell shows he could handle this sort of scene just as well as battle scenes.

Thematically, the usual Gemmell themes abound: loyalty, courage, justice and so on. But this time around Gemmell explores something that he's not really touched on before - discrimination, and the negative affect on society this causes when widespread (and encouraged). Like most of Gemmell's major themes, this aspect is explored deftly without the novel ever becoming preachy, and it adds another layer of depth to the proceedings.

Verdict: Like most of his novels, Ravenheart packs a real emotional punch, is filled with well-drawn, believable characters, and has some excellent combat sequences. But more than this, the exploration of discrimination and the focus on less martial characters show how Gemmell really matured as a writer in the last few years of his life. Ravenheart doesn't scale the lofty heights of his best work, but it's a damned fine read all the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2001
This book might not have been the ALL action book that we normally expect from Mr Gemmel, however, it was a very moving, and thought provoking read! I personnaly found the subtle intricasys of the story line beyond compair... I moved with the book experiancing vertually ever emotion imaginable, joy, anger and as the pages drew to a close loss. I would rate every book Mr Gemmel has ever written with five stars... This one I would give SIX! I long for the next book in this series, WONDERFUL!
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