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on 30 March 2002
'Stormrider' offers the familliar feast of epic Gemmell fantasy. The usual themes are given treatment- advancing age, the redeeming power of love, can evil be fought with evil etc. But what makes Stormrider unusual for me is that there is a subtle attempt to link David's various worlds via a theory which sets the Seidhe up as a sort of primogenitor race overseeing all possible worlds, of which the Rigante world is the jewel in the crown.
If you're a fan of David's writing then further analysis is unecessary. If you're a naysayer, then this book will offer no new element to change your opinion of the grand old man of english fantasy.
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on 28 October 2015
Love love love David Gemmell and EVERYTHING he has written. The Rigante series is by far my favourite (although I'd probably say the same for most of the others!) I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a love of fantasy. Cannot wait to start my next Gemmel book even though I've read them all several times.
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on 5 April 2002
Stormrider is David Gemmell's sequal to Ravenheart continuing his "Rigante" series. While you don't need to be a Gemmell fan to enjoy this book it makes sense to read at least "Ravenheart" first.
Set in the days of pistols and muskets fans of TV series Sharpe will recognise the change in the pitch of battle compared to Gemmell's previous hack and slash battles.
The book revives a darker side to Gemmels heroes who while being men of principle and honour are capable of darker deeds than the blackest villain.
While the last book focused on Kaelin Ring and his indominatble uncle Jaim Grymach this story focuses on the Storm rider Gaise Macon, son of the evil Moidart. Gemmell twists and turns his charecters with rare skill making the evil Moidart a hero and the Valiant Gaise an atrocious killer.
Stormrider while typical Gemmel fare is an amazingly well thought out and thought provoking book, the points he makes on good and evil, on heroes and cowards are intuitive and inspiring.
A brilliant book and a brilliant read, I picked this up and didn't stop reading it until I was finished.
Awesome
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on 3 June 2003
David Gemmell's final installment of the Rigante series is excellent. It picks up where Ravenheart left off and weaves a breath-taking epic around the previous set scenes.
If you have read the previous books you have to read this one. It answers many questions and completes so much of the story. As always in this type of novel, justice is mostly satisfied.
It is also clear that Gemmell intends the book to stand on it's own and there are cleverly woven histories to help a new reader up to speed. I think this is perhaps the only weakness in the novel as it can be frustrating for someone who has read the previous books but not detailed enough to allow for no prior knowledge.
Overall, read this book - you won't be able to put it down.
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on 19 March 2013
For the first half to two thirds of this book I was thinking it was the best of Gemmell's work I have read to date. It has a truly epic quality to it, continuing a while after the previous book in his 'Rigante' series, Ravenheart, and reintroducing many of the surviving characters from that story. For once with Gemmell, I'd say reading the previous novel is essential to getting the most from this one. Kaelin Ring and Gaise Macon, whose soul names are the Ravenheart and Stormrider of the titles, have lives which have seemingly been destined to clash sooner or later. When an ancient magical artifact is unearthed by an inherently evil man, and used for his purposes, civil war looms, inexorably drawing the Varlish Gaise and the Rigante Kaelin together.

Much of the first half of the book concentrates on relationships and conflicts, and this is where the book is at its best. Gemmell was a master of characterisation, and had a marvellously subtle way of filling in backstory without resorting to page after page of exposition. He does that here with aplomb, and also introduces some new characters, such as the Cochland brothers, who bring a welcome bit of levity to proceedings.

However, in the latter stages of the book (and this is a long book by Gemmell's standards, at 600 pages), as the war commences, he seems to lose his way a little. There is very little in the way of the emotional punch that he usually weaved throughout his stories, and certainly nothing to match the ending of the previous book. In fact, I'm not sure I liked the ending of Stormrider, as it seems to rely on a somewhat deus ex machina conclusion which doesn't sit well with the rest of the tale, and certainly doesn't reflect the path the previous three books have taken to get here. Yes, fate has always been at the heart of them, but this ending seemed to me to be just a little bit too convenient, despite the tagged on epilogue. Even the last line of the novel is nowhere near his usual quality. Whereas his books usually leave me with a lump in my throat, or my jaw on the floor, this one did neither.

Perhaps this was down to a desire to bring a conclusion to the series within this fourth book, and there was a need to tie up all loose ends (bar one, which left me fairly annoyed). Yet, despite my misgivings about the ending, it is still an immensely enjoyable read, streets ahead of most other fantasy. It's just that the three previous books in the series are so good, this one feel a bit of a let down. Shame!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 February 2016
I have had difficulty finding a new adult fantasy writer for some time now, most of the genre seems to be either targeted at the teenage demographic or is a pale imitation of authors such as Feist, Martin, Kerr or Gemmell and so once again I have returned to my bookshelf to revisit the masters of the genre and add their works to my more mobile Kindle collection.

David Gemmell is one of the handful of authors whose books I have kept on my shelves and re-read over and again ranking with Roger Taylor, Raymond Feist and the like.

Stormrider is the final volume of the Rigante series carries on from Ravenheart and brings the saga to a strong conclusion.

David Gemmell was one of the finest adult epic fantasy writers of the last few decades and leaves a vacuum in a genre which produces fewer and fewer real aficionados every year.
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on 3 June 2004
Stormrider the final book in the Rigante series carries on from Ravenheart. At first I was not sure with the complete change in characters, but you soon warm to them and they make more than adequate substitutions. The plot (which spans over two books so I would advise to at least to have read Ravenheart)is well constructed and will keep you guessing to the end. The only fault is that this book seems to be very similar to most of Gemmels other books, and it sometimes feels like you are getting the same characters set on different sets and put in slightly different situations. All in all it is a brilliant book and I strongly recomend it.
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on 7 June 2009
An interesting quality of David Gemmell's work is the addictive quality it has. As I've probably mentioned at some point, I once read all 11 of his Drenai novels in a row, and after finishing I'd quite happily have started all over again. There's just something about his novels that inspire genuine involvement on behalf of the reader, and it's easy to become addicted to his unique brand of storytelling. So after finishing Ravenheart, I figured I'd just jump straight into the final novel in the Rigante quartet - Stormrider.

The novel picks up the story some four years after the events of Ravenheart. The prospect of civil war between the King's forces and the Covenanters (only briefly alluded to towards the end of the previous novel) has now exploded into a grim, brutal reality. As it becomes ever more apparent that the ruthless Winter Kay and his zealous Knights of the Sacrifice are bending the course of the war to their own sinister ends, the Rigante and the Moidart - two sworn enemies - find themselves allied to a common cause.

At the centre of this bloodbath are Gaise Macon, the Moidart's son, and Kaelin Ring, now a respected member of the Rigante. Both are heroes in their own right and share a common ancestor, yet they are enemies and struggle to fight alongside each other. And as the war reaches its height, one of them is forced to make a terrible sacrifice to ensure the birth of a new world...

As with all of Gemmell's work, Stormrider is driven by its characters. Some old faces re-appear, alongside one or two new ones. Gemmell was always fascinated by the idea of redemption and the darkness that lurks in men's souls, and this is reflected in the character of Gaise Macon. The son of the Moidart struggles against his inner demons, and as the war turns against him, it's fascinating to wonder which Gaise Macon will triumph - the noble, dashing young cavalry officer, or the cold, ruthless killer of men. As always, you know pretty well how things will pan out, but this doesn't detract from the emotional impact of the ending (and what a good ending it is).

The Moidart really comes to the fore in Stormrider, and subsequently goes down as one of Gemmell's best characters. Gemmell shows wonderful skill at taking a man you think you know everything about, and then reinventing him. The process of the change to the Moidart's character is subtle and extremely well handled. Gemmell imbues this man with such sorrow and pain, that despite his obvious failings he's still a figure that inspires sympathy. His transformation, in the end, is very satisfying indeed.

Characters aside, Stormrider has the usual enjoyable mix of battles and adventure. The emergence of a powerful magical relic adds a further dimension and enables Gemmell to make use of a number of supernatural devices that were a staple of the Drenai novels. Like all Gemmell novels, various themes are explored deftly (this time around, we have redemption, the futility of war, and the question of whether evil is ever justified) without hindering the novel's plotting or pacing.

Quibbles are few and far between. You could argue that with the exception of Maeve Ring, the novel lacks a strong female character. Some might also find that the novel wears its influences a little too brazenly (Stormrider is very clearly based on the English Civil War, much as the earlier Rigante novels are undeniably based on the conquests of Ancient Rome) but this wasn't a problem for me. In fact, in Midnight Falcon it is revealed that the war being fought is in fact being mirrored on other worlds by similar factions, one of which is directly named as Rome. You could therefore argue that any clear connection to history in the Rigante novels was deliberate on Gemmell's part, as he seems to have viewed his worlds as being part of a larger multiverse that included Earth.

Probably the weakest aspect of the novel is the fact that Gemmell somewhat reverts to type and creates a climax based around his favoured defenders-facing-impossible-odds scenario. For me this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the novel at all, but admittedly the whole situation did seem rather familiar (as I've probably mentioned before, this plot device was used by Gemmell numerous times throughout his writing career).

Verdict: Not up there with his finest novels (in fact, out of the four Rigante novels I'd place it third in terms of quality, behind Midnight Falcon and Ravenheart) but still a solid novel, that encompasses the best elements of Gemmell's work. While at times certain elements seem over-familiar, Stormrider is an entertaining and meaningful read, with strong characters and an absorbing mix of magic, battles and political intrigue.
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on 3 October 2005
This book follows "Ravenheart" detailing the trials of the Rigante and their surrounding lands.

The continent is in turmoil as the civil war pits the King against the covenanters. However a more sinister force is behind the proceeding whose aims are furthered by the continuation of the conflict.

The war gives a real gritty edge to the entire book. There is less of the magic and fairy tale about this story. War is a terrible event as both sides strain to gain advantage, people are killed and atrocities are committed. The battles scenes are well described and the dark side of war is explored here.

Gaise Macon the "Stormrider" is a general in the king's army. As he fights the enemy he also battles his inner demons which arise from his relationship with his father, the evil Moidart, to keep himself becoming like his evil parent.

Gaise's companion, Mulgrave, can barely stand to watch as the young boy he knew slowly turns into a ruthless general who will do whatever it takes to win the war. Can Gaise keep himself a good man, or will he lose himself to inner demons?

He is a very interesting character, much darker than other protagonists in the series have been. However, his father the Moidart has some of the best scenes in the book, one minute he seems to soften, then he ruthlessly cuts down his enemies. The attempted assassination scene is beautifully handled by the character.

The father son relationship is intriguing, as both outwardly renounce any further feelings for the other family member.

Kaelin ring, one of the main characters from the last book, does not play as big a part, which is slightly confusing as he was such a central character in Ravenheart.

In one of the sub-plots Chara has to escape from assassins with her children. This is a nice diversion it forces her to cope with the previous vile assault that has scarred her for much of her life.

The ending was solid, though lacked the magical emotional touch of the previous book. Indeed the entire book lacked the magical and emotional elements of the rest of the series, though this may have been what Gemmell was aiming for.

I would recommend the story to Gemmell fans and anyone who enjoyed Ravenheart, but is far from his best.
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on 7 May 2003
Having read much of Gemmell's previous work (Druss the Legend, Waylander etc) I was eager to read the Rigante series of books (of which Stormrider is one).
However, Gemmell's "tried and tested" formula, which is often to his credit, is arguably his downfall in this series. The descriptions of battle are good, but "typical" Gemmell, leaving the feeling that you have read the book before.
Whilst the plot and characters are very visible, the blurring of fantasy and reality does not seem to work. This is highlighted by the presence of guns and magic - Whilst it seems acceptable to have swords and magic, mixing guns and magic does not seem to gel particularly well. Perhaps this view is caused as a result of reading his past works where guns do not exist, and the world of swords and magic provides simple escapism; In my mind the presence of guns simply diminishes the level of escapism.
In summary, if you have not read any Gemmell, and are reading Stormrider as the finale to the Rigante series, it will be an entertaining, and worthy read. If you have read many of Gemmell's work before, you can probably afford to save time and money by avoiding this book/series
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