The Legions of Fire (The Books of the Elements) Hardcover – 11 May 2010
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Praise for David Drake:
"David Drake writes fantasy with the texture of the legends of yore."
"David Drake's work . . is original, engrossing, and instantly credible."
--Stephen R. Donaldson
"David Drake is thought of as a military SF author, but he's actually written more fantasy than anything else in his long and impressive career. If you want to know why, read "The Legions of Fire". Drake is one of the best fantasy writers this genre has ever produced."
--Eric Flint, author of "1632
""Drake vividly recreates the attitudes of patrician Romans in this fantasy tale....Fans of fantasy and historical fiction will enjoy the decidedly non-contemporary characters and their adventures."
"--Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
David Drake lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina.--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
1. A nice blending of Norse, Roman, and Babylonian mythology. This is the kind of thing you would expect from some trashy pulp-fiction novel or even fan-fiction stories but Drake makes it look natural without making it look like he's showing off. He puts his PHD to good use!
2. Magic from mythology. The magic in this novel is the magic our ancient ancestors thought was real. This is not Dungeons and Dragon magic where you cast a spell and get a +2 modifier to your armor. This is the magic we find in stories like Beowulf and the tales of Hercules.
1. Starts slow. Being the first book in the series the book has to take some time to explain the setting and the characters. About midway through the story it does pick up though.
Well worth buying and well worth reading. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the series!
Drake's writing is masterful. He can describe more about a setting or person in a sentence than most authors can in a paragraph, and more in a paragraph than most could fit in a chapter. Compared to him, most other authors seem repetitive and long-winded, or even boring. I discovered Drake at an early age, and his writing spoiled me to the point where I find many legendary authors, such as Tolkien, almost unreadable.
The characters are interesting, and develop noticeably during the course of events, both in themselves and in their relationships with one another. Drake has become a master at twining separate plot threads together over the course of the story, so that characters separate and come together at crucial moments, each one working and developing separately but also working together.
The book uses historical Rome, elements of Greco-Roman mythology and Norse mythology, and Drake's unique, somewhat-surreal fantasy-land building to create a world that is gritty and realistic while still bizarre and fantastical. The characters are realistically frightened and perplexed by the mystical places and things happening, but don't get stymied or require other characters to explain every detail of the magical world to them like most fantasy. They just deal with it as it comes, despite their confusion and fear, triumphing through their unique skills, their courage, and their friendship. This is what makes Drake's heroes different than most fantasy heroes who either luck into their victories or are utterly unflappable and do not know the meaning of "fear."
That said, I give this book four stars because it's not QUITE as good as Drake's Lord of the Isles books, which may be the best fantasy series ever written. This may be unfair, as this is only one book and the Lord of the Isles series is ten. Regardless, if you liked the Lord of the Isles books, you'll like this. If you haven't read the Lord of the Isles books, read them. You'll probably read this when you're done with them, anyway.