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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up there with Gemmell's very best novels
Until recently I knew what to expect when picking up a Gemmell novel for the first time. Moreover, I knew I would enjoy it. Then I read Sword in the Storm and my perception changed.

Sword was the first Gemmell novel I've read where I felt the characterisation was (surprisingly) a little weak in places, where the plot was sluggish in parts and where - most...
Published on 8 Jun. 2009 by James Long

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Good but not his best.
This novel started out very well, his development of the characters from Sword in the Storm interesting and the building of the relationship between Father and Son very good. The Gladiator involvement was also highly enjoyable and remaniscent of his best work like King Beyond The Gate or Legend but where it failed for me is he seems to have rushed the story through...
Published on 21 Jun. 2000


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up there with Gemmell's very best novels, 8 Jun. 2009
Until recently I knew what to expect when picking up a Gemmell novel for the first time. Moreover, I knew I would enjoy it. Then I read Sword in the Storm and my perception changed.

Sword was the first Gemmell novel I've read where I felt the characterisation was (surprisingly) a little weak in places, where the plot was sluggish in parts and where - most significantly of all - I wondered, as I read, whether I really cared what happened. Upon completing Sword I realised that it wasn't a bad novel (Gemmell didn't write bad novels) but that it didn't work for me in the same way that his other novels (particularly the Drenai books) did. Of course, part of this could be explained by the fact that Sword was a bit different in the sense that Gemmell was introducing a new world, a completely new setting, and of course this would take time to bed in. Still, I did hope that the second novel in the Rigante series would be a significant improvement, a return to the sparkling form he showed in some of his earlier novels.

Any fears I had upon starting Midnight Falcon quickly proved unfounded.

The story picks up around seventeen years after the events of the first book. The main focus of the novel is Bane, the bastard son of Connovar, a young man capable of great humanity and yet struggling with the bitter resentment caused by his father's rejection. His path takes him to the corrupt and decadent city of Stone, capital of a huge empire, where a single act of violence changes his life forever.

Bane then trains as a gladiator, honing his skills and waiting for the chance to take his revenge. Little does he realise that only he can save the Rigante - his own people that previously rejected him - from the onslaught of Stone's armies. But to do so he'll have to face the ghosts of his past and accept the burden of his own heritage.

I mentioned in my Sword review that one of the main positives of the novel was the character of Connovar, who in my opinion was one of Gemmell's best characters. Bane however, is even better. Possessed of a great warmth, yet driven by bitterness and anger, he's an unpredictable character yet instantly likable. Watching his development over the course of the novel is hugely satisfying, and an example of Gemmell's characterisation skills at their peak. Characters have to change for a story to be believable, and the Bane at the end bears little resemblance to the Bane at the start.

Pleasingly, the supporting characters in Midnight Falcon are equally good. From Rage, the former gladiator given to introspection; to Jasaray, the mild-mannered general; to Voltan, the merciless leader of the Knights of Stone, Gemmell has created a strong cast of characters with believable, complex relationships. I'd even go as far in saying that the characterisation in Midnight Falcon eclipses any other Gemmell book I've read.

The plot was a bone of contention in Sword. Not so in Midnight Falcon. Gemmell has crafted an absorbing story of love and loss, loyalty and treachery, blood and conquest, with a surprising number of twists and turns. It's epic, pacy and utterly enthralling. As always Gemmell uses his characters to explore a variety of themes, in particular looking at the futility of war, the nature of revenge and how mankind can rise above conflict and bloodshed. Gemmell has always imbued his novels with meaning, but in Midnight Falcon he took it to a whole new level. Quite simply, it's hugely inspiring.

I've considered the novel from several different angles, looking for flaws, but I just can't find any. The plot is masterfully constructed and totally gripping, the characters possess great depth and the story itself echoes with all the hallmarks of genuine legends, with an intense climax.

Midnight Falcon is not my favourite David Gemmell novel, but it's undoubtedly one of his best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Gemmells best!!, 31 Oct. 2001
This is one of Gemmells best books. This is becasue he has obviously planned the story out very well, however becasue of this it does make this story highly predictable, and it is obvious that is going to culminate in a huge battle at the end. A very good and well written book which is just as good as its prequel if not better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new legend is born...., 9 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Midnight Falcon (Paperback)
After Sword in the Storm, I was disappointed, because it ended so quickly. I was relieved when Midnight Falcon was released, so i could finish the story. But it was not to be. Midnight Falcon picks up some 16 years after Sword in the Storm, and makes many references to the times between the two book, however, this book is great. The characters, as always, imbued with exagerated and simplistic emotions, that make them seem all the more real. This is a great read, but David, if you ever read thiese reviews, how about filling in those 16 years, tell us of the battle at Cogden Field, tell us of Connovar, and the birth of Bane, we want more Mr Gemmell, we always do, mainly because we can't get enough of the tales you tell.
Read it, feel it, love it..............
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Falcon Review, 12 Jan. 2004
By A Customer
For any fantasy reader this book is a must. I have read this book time and time again and continue to be enthralled by the complexities and subtleties that make this book so real.
The story leads on from Sword in the Storm (another brilliant read) to the leading characters son, following his journey through a universe which is parallel to our own. The writing gives a vivid picture of the emotional torment our hero, Bane, endures and you cannot help but feel saddened by his losses and inspired by his feats of valour on the battlefield.
Obviously it makes sense to read Sword in the Storm first so you can get a feel for the emotional tension that builds up, and to get some extra insight into the world of Bane.
In my opinion, a truly amazing book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome novel, 21 Nov. 2003
By 
Ian Tapley "thefragrantwookiee" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
THE STORY:
The bastard son of King Connavar decides to leave the Rigante, who shun him, and become a gladiator in the city of Stone. However, he will eventually be called upon to save the very people who persecuted him.
WHAT'S GOOD:
Everything! (I seem to end up saying that about all Gemmell's books!) Gemmell manages once again to draw us into the mind, body and soul of the main character so that we can live his life alongside him. Bane's emotional development through the book is remarkable and yet perfectly believable. The supporting characters also hold their own; Banouin's development is also a marvel, Jasaray is both charismatic and also totally amoral, Connavar continues his own development from the first book albeit on a smaller scale and Rage's climatic duel will no doubt suprise you with it's ending. Another great thing about this book is that, although it's a part of the Rigante series, it's entirely capable of standing independently. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that 'Midnight Falcon' is one of those rare sequels that is the equal (if not the better) of the first book.
WHAT'S BAD:
I found the clear historical parallels to be a bit irritating (Jasaray is Julius Caesar, the Tree Cult are Christians, Stone is Rome etc) but Gemmell does tackle this fact by having the Morrigu explain that she has seen the destructive principles of Stone on other worlds under other names (one of which happens to be Rome). Other than these small details, I absolutely loved this book.
(to David Gemmell): "Proud of you boy."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Falcon, 19 Jun. 2012
By 
Steve D (London, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm running out of things to say about David's books. This one's another cracker, but not quite the sequel I was expecting (which is a good thing - I like it when the unexpected crops up). So, rather than follow on immediately after Sword in the Storm and continue Connavar's tale and the Stone invasion, this story leaps forward 17 years and introduces us to Bane, Conn's illegitimate son, who has grown up hating his father, for reasons far too spoilery to go into here.

Bane's another wonderful Gemmell character, and the book tells his tale as grief drives him across the sea to the land of Stone, where he becomes a gladiator in his efforts to seek revenge. His relationships with other characters like Vorna, Banouin and Rage are so well written that it's hard not to sympathise with him, even though he is a cold-hearted killer. Connavar and the other characters from the first novel are largely absent, although Gemmell uses a couple of them at the start to fill in the backstory in such a clever way that it doesn't feel like exposition.

As usual the action, when it comes, is relatively brief. Gemmell prefers character development and the motivations that drive them to the violence (or otherwise) in the first place over lengthy, graphic descriptions of the fights. The violence is there, but I find it has more impact for its brevity.

I did find the construction of his chapters a little odd, in that - where a jump between locations and characters, and sometimes even months and years occurred - there was merely a section break rather than a new chapter. It threw me occasionally, until I got my head around what had just happened. He liked to illustrate the lead-up to certain big events or changes in a character's life then, rather than go into it in detail, leap ahead and tell of the aftermath and consequences instead. It's actually a really neat trick, and I ended up liking it a lot.

I'm also finding that Gemmell had a knack for writing fantastic last lines in his books, and this one's no different.
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5.0 out of 5 stars David Gemmell was a fantasy powerhouse, and Midnight Falcon is one of his best., 15 April 2009
By 
Robbie Swale - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I am currently revisiting the Rigante novels and am struck anew by the utter quality on show. David Gemmell's writing is amongst the best the fantasy genre has on offer, and Midnight Falcon is one of his finest works.

The reasons that Gemmell is so highly regarded by so many fans are abundant and are on show throughout this novel. His characters have real depth (and all sorts of shades of grey) and they inspire genuine and utter involvement. This means that when his pacey (but by no means rushed) plots take hold, the tension and release is enormous. This is on show here - from Bane, the bastard son of Connovar (hero of the first novel in the series, Sword in the Storm) to the aging Gladiator, Rage, to the Julius Caesar figure, the Emperor Jarasay. As the events unfold, you will find yourself utterly caught up in it, and the craft of the story brought all sorts of emotions to the surface even on my most recent (and probably third) read.

The combat is dramatic and at times brutal; the battle scenes are exciting and thoroughly believable. The friendships and relationships feel utterly real. The dialogue is sharp and funny, and written to feel old enough to match the setting but not stuffy in any way.

The story itself is set in a fictional world with many parallels to ours, and focuses on Bane, a native of the Rigante tribe who make their home on a land-mass not that loosely based on the British Isles. It takes up the story several years after Sword in the Storm, and is effectively in two parts, both with their own beginnings, middles and epic climaxes. The first follows Bane on his trip to Stone, his adventures in the gladiators' ring and Stone Knights' attempts to subdue the mysterious Tree Cult. The second returns to Rigante lands and concludes the story begun in Sword in the Storm as Bane meets his father Connovar and Stone return to the lands of the Rigante.

If you haven't read Sword in the Storm, then I would recommend that you start there, although it is by no means necessary. All the details are here for what is in effect a stand alone story. If you have, then I can tell you that this is most definitely more of the same.

If you are new to David Gemmell, then I hope I have enticed you in. My life has definitely been improved by reading his work. It is exciting, and it is life-affirming.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best and most unputdownable Gemmell yet!, 10 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Midnight Falcon (Hardcover)
You really need to have read Sword in the Storm (but then that's no hardship...),though this sequel adds a new dimension. It rewrites the history of British Celtic (="Keltoi") tribes and Rome (= "Stone") as an alternate timeline at the time of Christianity (=here the "Tree Cult" led by the Veiled Lady). Mr Gemmell gives us an insight into what might have driven the Celtic peoples as they resisted Roman might.It portrays the Romans as the true barbarians rather than the Celts: the cold and calculating imperialism of the emperor, the savagery of the arena, the passionless efficiency of the (Roman) Stone army, and the smothering of the living Earth's spirit with soulless stone buildings. The Celts are portrayed as living in a pure and pristine land, still in touch with the spiritual forces which underlie Nature (though of course it wouldn't be Mr Gemmell, or in touch with history, if Bane and the Keltoi didn't solve their disputes by indulging in quite a bit of sword-slaying and internecine strife...) I don't know how Mr Gemmell manages to hold in his one massive brain these serial plotlines, but he must do so because unlike Hollywood films, the sequels engage as much or even more than the originals and follow on without flaw.
More than any other of the twelve or so David Gemmell books I've recently read, "Midnight Falcon" came the closest to purging me of my negative emotions and unveiling the deeper yearnings of my soul. The single criticism I have of this book is that Lia's death seemed so absolutely certain before she suddenly reappeared, miraculously resurrected; -but I can't say this too vociferously because I'm looking forward too much to seeing how she can bring the "Tree Cult" (a new Gemmell-improved Christianity, perhaps) to the savages of the White Mountains (presumably somewhere beyond Hadrian's Wall or in Viking territory) in the next book of the series...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Again and again to read is to learn, 19 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Midnight Falcon (Hardcover)
From tactical Genius to philosophical Mentor, reading DG's works is to learn of heroism, loyalty, deceit and cruelty and all the shades of grey that surround these vices and virtues. Sometimes all we need is the right opportunity and any of us can be a hero and a Legend. A glimpse at characters that do not yet must have existed, as fictional as the propaganda we see each day, as real as the lives we must all live. Inspiration in a book that teaches that War may be necessary but not necessarily liked.
I have read each and every volume and have never been let down by DG. His words are inspirational because it outlines those simple truths that encompass our most complicated lives. Starting from Legend and the unforgettable Mentor and unstoppable warrior Druss, to the deadly yet more than human Jon Shannow, to the story of the life of the DG's Spartan General, each step he takes we follow and we grow stronger, wiser, and better for his teachings.
I only wish that one day I could contribute to the world a piece of the wisdom, strength and heroism that has been taught by my Mentor. The world is full of heroes, we just need to quit feeling selfish and sorry for ourselves and step forward to help others for reasons unknown or even no reason at all.
May you keep writing, to entertain us and inspire us to better ourselves, and may the Source Guide us all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Falcon - "The best just got better - Amazing", 3 May 2000
David Gemmels books never fail to send me to a far off place away from the stresses of the real world. I always look forward to his next release and on this occasion he has surpased my expectation. Midnight Falcon deals with a story of rejection, honour, revenge, bravery and forgiveness. This is heroic fantasy with man and his weapons. No magic, no monsters, no nonsense. As ever you can see the characters and landscapes clearly in your minds eye - Gemmel is fantastic
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Midnight Falcon
Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell (Hardcover - 3 Jun. 1999)
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