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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a « Gemmell feel and touch » with something more?
A number of other reviewers on both the US and the UK site who are familiar with the late David Gemmell's works of heroic fantasy have detected a number of similarities in this book, and, for those that read all three books together, in the whole trilogy. One of the most obvious parallels is between Gemmell's Druss the Axeman and Nathan Hawke's Corvin Screambreaker. A few...
Published 14 months ago by JPS

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great action but needed more depth
Ten out of ten for the cover art, the publishers have boldly gone with just an image, leaving the title for the back page. It certainly is striking and, I am sure will whet the appetite's of many fans of fantasy fiction.

I found the novel went along at a breakneck pace; this is a strong foundation for the rest of the series. There is a lot of action, (and I...
Published 19 months ago by Daniel Cann


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great action but needed more depth, 18 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Gallow: The Crimson Shield (Paperback)
Ten out of ten for the cover art, the publishers have boldly gone with just an image, leaving the title for the back page. It certainly is striking and, I am sure will whet the appetite's of many fans of fantasy fiction.

I found the novel went along at a breakneck pace; this is a strong foundation for the rest of the series. There is a lot of action, (and I know this sounds odd)...perhaps a little too much action. I felt that at times that the fighting swamped the story. Yes it's all thrilling, epic stuff, but I thought the novel really shone when the focus was on the dialogue and interaction between the many interesting characters. Their observations and world-weary humour made this an enjoyable read for me. I would have preferred more development and depth to another description of a warrior being hacked to pieces.

Gallow is an enigmatic and interesting protagonist, but sadly I never felt that I got to know him beyond the tough warrior exterior. Perhaps this is a deliberate ploy, and the layers will be slowly revealed over the series.

Apart from the disconnected feeling I had, this was the literary equivalent of watching something really exciting but without the investment in those involved. I am sure its target audience will really like this, and I look forward to the next in the series, but hope for more characterization and less random violence next time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a « Gemmell feel and touch » with something more?, 29 Jan. 2014
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JPS - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gallow: The Crimson Shield (Paperback)
A number of other reviewers on both the US and the UK site who are familiar with the late David Gemmell's works of heroic fantasy have detected a number of similarities in this book, and, for those that read all three books together, in the whole trilogy. One of the most obvious parallels is between Gemmell's Druss the Axeman and Nathan Hawke's Corvin Screambreaker. A few others have also drawn parallels between Gallow, the main character of this book, and one of Joe Abercrombie's character (Logen Ninefingers).

There are indeed a number of similarities, but these only go so far, and there are also significant differences which help to make this piece into a rather original one and a superb and exciting "page-turner".

With regards to the two main characters, and starting with Corvin Screambreaker, he does resemble Gemmell's Druss to some extent. Both are strong, superb and ageing warriors. However, while Druss may be at times a leader and is essentially a fighter, Corvin is also a general, a strategist, a master tactician, the right-hand man and the long time, loyal and trusted friend of the King of Lhosir. He, more than anyone else, is the one who conquered Marroc and therefore more than doubled the size of his King's kingdom. At times, he also reminded me of Gemmell's Banelion, the White Wolf (who was loosely modelled on Parmenion, the top general of both Philip II and Alexander of Macedon) in Winter Warriors. Corvin seems to be a mix of the two characters.

The other main character - Gallow - owes less to Gemmell. In some respects, he may not be very original since the theme of the former elite warrior who became tired of killing, settled down and founded a family before being inevitably pulled back into a new war is hardly novel. However, the character is made human and likeable through a couple of features related to his divided loyalties. Having renounced the way of the warrior and shaved his forkbeard, he has become an outcast living among the recently conquered Marroc who resent him, fear him and barely accept him. This he did for the love of his Marroc wife (with whom he fights constantly), although he yearns at times for his warrior life and friends and is somewhat torn between his old and his new identity.

Another interesting set of features is the novel's context. The Marroc seem to be loosely inspired by the Saxons, except that if you take a look at the map, you will see that the Marroc coast vaguely resembles that of North Africa. The Forkbeards are more clearly derived from the Scandinavians/Vikings of the Dark Ages, although here again, the comparison is not entirely meaningful. The Forkbeards seem to be some kind of "idealised" Norse/Swede/Danes who, in reality, were much more "sensible" warriors who thought nothing of running away to fight another day if the odds were obviously against them. The Forkbeards are, unlike the historical "Vikings" (used here as `shorthand" for the three above-mentioned groups), always ready to fight regardless of the odds, supremely confident in their tremendous battle skills, and seemingly utterly fearless.

Two other people either take centre stage in this book or as mentioned as part of the general background. The first are the nomadic Vathen. I could not quite find the historical nomad "horse lords" from which they are derived and there are several possibilities including, for instance, the Scythians or the Huns. The second people, who do not appear explicitly in this book but are often referred to because of the remnants of their previous Empire (including their roads and bridges), are the Aulians, Romans and the Roman Empire come to mind.

Finally, there is the story itself, which I will refrain from telling. Suffice is to say that the book is fast-paced, with plenty of action and at least one rather extraordinary rendered battle towards the end that made me think of Thermopylae with a sort of "happy and different ending". Four strong stars for a quite superb start of what I am very likely to find a fascinating trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb fantasy, 7 Aug. 2013
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I would say that this is far closer to Joe Abercrombie than Gemmel, the writing style is similar, and Gallow reminds me of Logen Ninefingers. The battle scenes are good, though not up to Cornwells standard, and the story is intriguing. I am a keen fan of this type of fiction and would strongly reccomend it to all the fans of Gemmell, Cornwell, Abercrombie,Lawrence,Kearny,Kristian, and the new Anthony Ryan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars cli, 6 Dec. 2013
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Just not great. Its good in parts and you can see the attempted symmetry with recent trend of dark gritty fantasy, only problem is that the writings just that bit short and Gallow just isnt anywhere near as cool as heroes (or anti heroes) such as Logan nine fingers in the Joe Abercrombie series'. Most of the time I merely wished for Gallow to grow a set and go on a rampage
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series, 30 Oct. 2013
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Excellent fantasy story full of excitement, battles and a good characters too. Have read them all and they are worthy of equal praise
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 4 Oct. 2013
By 
N Skellon (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Let me say right from the start that this is an excellent book. I very rarely write reviews on here but felt compelled to with this. Gallow is a fantastic leading character; as another reviewer has mentioned, he reminds me strongly of Joe Abercrombie's fantastic character Logan Ninefinfingers. I don't like my fantasy novels to have much of the supernatural in them and Gallow's world has no magic, witches, demons or monsters. It's just a totally believable, authentic alternative world. Strongly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking storyline if you like Vikings, 3 Oct. 2013
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I am not in the habit of writing reviews but in this case i will make an excemption. Started reading this book but i mostly read historical fact or fiction. Found this book to be up with the best i have read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good adventure, 24 Jun. 2014
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very enjoyable, easy read. The Gallow series looks like it will be an exciting read. good fantasy drama by the author
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5.0 out of 5 stars Norsmen saga., 28 Mar. 2014
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A good read and gripping stuff. I did not know that there was mystical creatures involved just thought it would be about the norsemen. Still ok.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bloodthirsty but familiar, 11 Mar. 2014
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Unless you're new to this genre this won't be the first story you've read featuring a weary, disillusioned and battlescared veteran whose been dragged back into one final fight.

Put simply it's everything you expect it to be, done well.

I like simple but intriguing plots with a couple of twists and turns. This offers that plus plenty of fights and battle scenes with limbs and innards flying all over the shop.

It's good i enjoyed it, give it a go.
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Gallow: The Crimson Shield
Gallow: The Crimson Shield by Nathan Hawke (Paperback - 11 July 2013)
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