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4.6 out of 5 stars
The King Beyond The Gate (Drenai)
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 October 2014
The King Beyond the gate is the second book in David Gemmell's Drenai series (the first being Legend). Set many years after the first book (which have become legend as you'd expect), with a whole new cast of colourful characters attempting to start a civil war against Ceska, the current king of the Drenai who is both mad and a tyrant killing his own people and turning many others into joinings, half man half beast killing machines.

The characters are once again larger than life heroes I love in Gemmell's typical style, Annaias, a former vain soldier from the best unit in the world the Dragon, Pagan, a black warrior king, and Rayvan, a middle aged farmers wife who becomes the leader of the rebellion through her great courage and tenacity amongst others. The cast is great, but unfortunately I feel like their stories don't get quite enough attention outside the odd chapter here and there, I would have liked to see them fleshed out more, The King Beyond the Gate feels a little bit like there should have been a book before it with the rise of Ceska and the fall of the Dragon to fully utilize the characters and story more.

It's still a brilliant heroic fantasy book though, with exciting action scenes, heroes to root for and some melancholy moments here and there. If you liked Legend then definitely move onto The King Beyond the Gate because although not Gemmell's best, it still makes it a lot better than most others and the next book in the series is Waylander, one of my favorites.

(Like Legend, the kindle edition has a few typos here and there that don't ruin the experience but should be noted)

+ Imaginitive characters.
+ Great set pieces.
+ Balances action with emotion nicely.

- Feels like the sequel to a book that was never written.
- Kindle edition has some weird typos here and there.
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on 9 June 2011
Ever since reading David Gemmell's 'Troy' series of books I have been hooked on Gemmell as an author. I have since begun to read all of his books and the Drenai books are simply wonderful reads.

I was originally unsure about whether to read the Drenai books as I've never been a huge fan of heroic fantasy - however given just how much I enjoyed the Troy books and the wonderful writing style of David Genmmell I decided to try them. I am so pleased that I did and I have now read nearly all of Gemmell's books and urge anyone considering the books to do it, you will not be disappointed.

All of the books are great and can be read as stand alone books or in order. The characters are wonderfully bought to life, there's love, romance, humour, twists & turns, betrayal, revenge, heroes, villains, sorcery, savagery, battles, noble deeds and you will simply fall into the world the Gemmell creates for you. These books deserve to be read and its a an absolute tragedy that Gemmell is no longer with us.
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2008
Having read and re-read Tolkien from a young age, I had never actually finished any other fantasy novels (except the Discworld books) before completing Legend (the predecessor to this book) since those that I read were just not in the same class.

Now, I'm not comparing Gemmell with Tolkien but what I will say is that I have at last found a Fantasy series I can truly enjoy. In writing style, Gemmell's novels are closer to Bernard Cornwell and his books read more like military historical fiction than fantasy as the "magic" is given only a light touch (as in Tolkien's works).

His first two "Drenai" novels featured a falling empire reminiscent of the end of Rome holding back the Nadir (thinly disguised "hordes of Genghis Khan") and in this novel, the protagonist is a half Drenai, half Nadir.

As with Cornwell, Pratchett and Rowling, Gemmell was a true master of pace. This book is close to un-put-downable because the action starts early and doesn't let up at any point. The characters are engaging, complex and memorable and Gemmell, in this his second book, produced a mature, accomplished work that was a real joy to read.

My only criticism is that the cast of characters we grow to identify with is jettisoned at the end of the book as with Legend.

A better book than Legend in every way, you certainly don't need to have read the first to enjoy this.
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on 23 February 2016
If you like fantasy fiction and blood and guts then there is no writer that does it better. David Gemmell will undoubtedly be on the big screen some time in the future the characters are brilliant and his writing brings everything to life in an energetic and story driven manner. I have now read ever one of his books. An incredible talent that is sadly no longer with us.
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on 26 December 2017
Once again David has written a brilliant book ,tales of friendship, betrayal, loyalty ,a fantastic read but all his books are
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on 10 December 2012
Gemmell fans know that his work is astounding in its ability to capture the nature of humanity. When reading any of his books you feel you are there alongside the warriors preparing for battle. Their anxiety and worries are ones you can share in. Yet their heroism is to never give up and strive against the odds no matter what the cost. If you haven't read any of the Drenai series then the advice is simple - start today.
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on 6 August 2015
More of the very best from outstanding author David Gemmel. Once you have read one you just have to read them all. And if you think fantasy isn't for you Gemmel will make you think again. Great plots and characters along with epic battles and heroes too.
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on 25 January 2017
Another classic from the great David Gemmell. I real page turner for fans of classic fantasy. This is the best fantasy series I have read in a long time.
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on 18 December 2016
No such thing as a bad David Gemmel book. This is a great read, especially for lovers of the Drenai.
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on 4 December 2013
A reasonable read, quite a good follow-on to Legend (though it only really links to that story, without actually continuing it), and very readable as far as sword and sorcery goes, with interesting characters that could have been better developed.
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