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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 28 April 2001
I am not a very big fan of fantasy novels. I get turned off from all of the magic, dragons and fairies that litter the genre. Which brings the question 'why did you buy this book?' quite honestly, i picked it out at random. how lucky was I! This book is such a departure from the steryotype of the fantasy genre, which gets pretty tiring after reading so many of the same books. In Sword in The Storm, we have our hero, Connavar, a legendary future king who saves his people from utter destruction. As Gemmell shows, however, Connavar is just a man, with fears, limitations, and insecurities which we all possess. Gemmell shows us a man with tragic flaws who is ultimately misunderstood by all; a demi-god by the Keltoi, and a demon by his enemies. After reading this book, we know that he is neither. He is just a man, with a deep sense of honour and a terrible burden which he brought upon himself, and must face alone. It does have some magical elements to it, however, but Gemmell places it so perfectly, that the magic seems irrelevant. the story is about men, and ultimately, heroes. Gemmell creates characters which are so incredibly compelling, the reader develops genuine love for them all, much like Robert Jordan or even Ernest Hemingway. After reading this book, it restored my long lost love for fantsy novels, and is the perfect book for one get started in the genre.
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on 15 May 2000
Gemmell does it again. Readers of his books over the years will have seen the changes and developments in Gemmell's writing ability. Earlier novels (Legend...) were in parts, for want of a better description, corny. However, these novels began to progress and we were given legendary characters such as Waylander the Slayer (or Dakyeras......can't be too sure on the spelling of that......! ), Druss the Legend, Tenaka Khan, Chareos the Blade Master, Culain Larch Feragh, Tarantio & Dace, Talaban, John Shannow, Bane and Parmenion. With each new book that Gemmell has written, his characters have developed and become more and more believable. Raw emotions - love, hate, uncertanty, lust, rage, greed, honour, betrayal, kindness, courage. His characters have a realistic amount of each. He deals with the gritty reality of fantasy (a stark parody! ). He has not got glorious fighters with dragons and wzards. He has got moody characters, struggling with the weight of responsibility, never sleeping or eating (sounds like Karis the Ice Queen! ). Bloody, ferocious battles where whole chapters are painted with crimson expertise. I challenge ANYONE to read a Gemmell book and not love it!
In Sword in the Storm, the first book in the Rigante Series, we see Connoavar start his life and career under the watchful eye of his mentor - Ruathain. This book has shades of other classic titles from Gemmell, namely the older ones like Legend, and Waylander. Also the Stone armies are like late Romans (similar to the outlanders in Ironhand's daughter) and the Rigante are like celts or Highland clans of Scotland. Connavar is s fairly well rounded character that does his best to survive and bring freedom to the clans from the empire of Stone. However, the book lacks multi layer plot twists and also the story is one we have all heard before. That being a gross and corrupted empire trying to take over the world and destroy all in it's path while a handful of defenders do their best to survive. Sound familiar - like Legend, like Legend of Deathwalker, like King Beyond the Gate? For someone who has read all of Gemmell's books, this becomes too much of the same formula. Once again there is a saviour, someone who is a master tactition, someone who men flock to. Again, very familiar. This title does not stand up to the scrutiny of readers that like to tear a book to peices, but it does give a very enjoyable read for people that like heroic fantasy. And herein is a message - if you read to enjoy and not make criticism, you will love Gemmell. If you read and are thinking "this should be better, that is not as good as..." and so on, then you are defeating the whole idea of reading a Gemmell title.
I read this and loved it. I thought it was a good story, even if aspects of it were similar to others. The characters were developed and realistic - which is the key to all good characters. Gemmell always deals with basic human emotions with a skill I have rarely read. His books can bring tears to your eyes, make you laugh, make you smile but most of all give you an insight into the person you are. You read a Gemmell novel and you knmow that if you saw someone who needed help, you would be like Druss and stride on in there and lend a helping hand. Well, I would anyway. And no doubt many others would too.
So, yet another enjoyable read. Fans, you know what is coming but you also know you love every minute of it! If you are new to Gemmell, I recommend that you read this and all other Gemmell novels.
As a big fan I am looking forward to reading Hero in the shadows. This is my FIRST EVER review of anything so, please, do not judge it too harshly.
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on 28 May 2002
I'll admit it I'm a big fan of David Gemmell. I usually pick up one of his books and know I'll have a good read. However this book far surpasses any of his others in my opinion. His main character Connavar is probably the most rounded, fleshed out one that Gemmell has ever invented. He has weaknesses, he's insecure sometimes but he always commands your attention. Connavar is however supported by other equal figures who Gemmell has made not only likeable but believable. I'm really at a loss to describe just how much I enjoyed this book. It's one of those that when you finish it you just close the back cover and say WOW.
Can't recommend this book enough. Long may David Gemmell continue writing.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 February 2016
David Gemmel 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, Katharine Kerr, Raymond Feist and the like.

As always an excellent novel packed with action.

Classic David Gemmell. Yet another of the most brilliant of fantasy writers no longer with us and greatly missed.
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on 23 April 2012
Sword in the Storm is the first of David Gemmell's four-book 'Rigante' series, and Connavar another of his troubled heroes. In the other Gemmell books I've read to date the hero has been an older character, haunted by his past. Connavar is different, in that the story drops into his life at important moments, starting (naturally) with his birth, then jumping forward as he grows up and eventually learns of an enemy who will eventually engulf the Rigante, and sets about preparing his people for war. He is a character dogged by fate - in fact, the whole book seems to be about fate in one way or another. Each of the characters has a geas, a prediction about their lives that they mustn't break. If they do break it, then death will surely follow. There are characters who receive visions, such as the witch Vorna, and the mysterious Seidh, who have the ability to grant wishes - although, as Conn quickly learns, be careful what you wish for.

This is one of Gemmell's later novels, and I found it noticeable how his writing style had developed by this stage. It is such an easy, flowing read. I would never describe his books as challenging. His stories are marvellous entertainment with strong, memorable, flawed characters, painted in shades of grey, and a thought-provoking, solid moral centre. The way the characters develop over time is beautifully handled, and even those who only appear briefly leave an indelible mark, such is Gemmell's skill. You want to love them and hate them, often both at the same time. They all do what they do because they believe in it, and they all live with the regrets and consequences. Gemmell loved to kill off characters, too, and they are always treated in a believable way, high on emotion but without melodrama.

This is probably my favourite of his books that I've read to date, and I'm starting to find his books a real comfort read. They are object lessons in how to tell an absorbing fantasy tale in 450 pages or less. The ones I've read so far have never been less than entertaining, and always involving and exciting. The epilogue to this one is so ominous and full of foreboding that I wanted to jump straight into the next one, but I've managed to restrain myself - for now!
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on 12 September 2013
Let me make it clear that this is not just a review of Sword in the Storm; instead the rating is given for the entire Rigante series of books, each of which deserves 5 stars in its own right.

I have never read a bad David Gemmell book, but these are quite exceptional. The variety and depth of the characters is wonderful, and the ease of the dialogue throughout is always engaging. It is as if the characters are actually speaking, not just a set of empy words on a page. There is no needless padding in the book either - every passage has a purpose and each chapter brings a worthwhile new development.

It is such a shame that David Gemmell is no longer with us. The positive news is that his books can be revisited time and again and still bring a huge deal of enjoyment with them.
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on 13 August 2015
I have read a lot of Gemmell. Only one have I felt slightly disappointed, with the first of the Damned books. Sword in the Storm the first of the Rigante books, why did I wait so long to read this one! I find Gemmell is a goood choice when stuck for something to read. Nothing taking your fancy, just finished an epic size series or need a break from one. Great after just finishing a bad book.

The characters are developed increadibly well as always. Connavar the lead character is a tormented soul and you hope he just ends happy. Does that happen? Not quite. He is a damaged character, he makes bad choices, he is not a great person but you like him. He is so single minded that he makes mistakes with everything else around him.
My next favourite character was his brother "can't remember his name now." The impact of everything that occurs to Connavar on him is done wonderfully as he turns into a jealous and bitter man.

This book is slightly different to Gemmells others as the character is developed from a young age growing up, were usually they are already adults. This was done masterfully and I would advise everyone to read this book if they are a fantasy fan.

My favourite Gemmell book you should read is Knights of Dark Renown, a stand alone but brillant.
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on 24 January 2015
From beginning to end this book takes you on a brilliant journey, brilliantly written you are taken from the hefty heights of fast paced battle to the somber stories of love won and lost! Humorous and as a matter of fact Mr gemell has delivered a masterpiece! A must read.
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on 30 August 2013
I have long been a fan of David Gemmell and his books have called me back again and again. The Rigante series are the only ones I haven't read, what a fool I've been, all the characters are deep and rich and painfully real.
Con is a heroic and somewhat tortured figure which makes him engaging and all the more interesting I can't wait to see where the story goes from here....
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on 14 February 2014
One of my favorite Gemmell stories.All of his work is based around redemption and overcoming massive odds against yourself,your fellow man and hoping for "right" to prevail. Hey,the guy does heroic fantasy like no one else.
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