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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 July 2015
The Swords of Night and Day is the last book in David Gemmell's Drenai series of books and sequel to his previous novel in the series White Wolf. (They were classed as a subseries known as The Damned book 1 & 2 originally). If you're new to David Gemmell I recommend reading them in the order they were written rather than how Amazon has them listed (Start with Legend) though they can be read in almost any order within reason.

The book's protagonist is once again Skilganon, a legendary Nashanite general and master swordsman. He is brought back to life hundreds of years after his death using forbidden technology in the hopes he can fufill a prophecy and stop a tyrant queen known as the Eternal. Skilganon is thrust into a world he does not recognise with everything and everyone he knew dead and gone. Thrown up against seemingly insurmountable odds in this strange land, his quest seems utterly hopeless but Skilganon never loses.

I thoroughly enjoyed the final chapter in the Drenai saga as I have pretty much every book in the series. The Swords of Night and Day isn't my favourite but has exactly what I come to expect from any heroic fantasy novel of Gemmells, epic fights (The combat is brutal mixing in duels, skirmishes as well as fights against half human half animal beasts), fantastic scenarios and above all well thought out and well written characters. The supporting cast gets great attention with their own pasts and personalities which accompany Skilganon's sense of not belonging in the world he is in.

This is a classic Gemmell book, it's just great. I recommend it highly.

+ Interesting plot change for the Drenai series.
+ Great cast of characters.
+ Epic fights.
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on 16 April 2004
After some 20 years of fantasy, David Gemmell is one of the few writers who continues to produce the goods in heroic fantasy. Following the excellent White Wolf, Gemmell returns to his flawed hero Skilgannon. It is also nice to see some other characters return. Prior to reading the book, I was concerned to see it was set in the future and doubted how old characters would fit in but Gemmell pulls it off. Slightly less action than in some other books, but Gemmells interesting characters and the quirk in the ending keep things up to 4 stars. I look forward to the next instalment.
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on 22 April 2004
I am a big fan of David Gemmell and have bought most of his books.
This story is a "page turner" but not up to the (very high) standard ofWaylander/Shannow books. If you liked White Wolf then you'll enjoy thisstory.
I felt that a little too many fragments of previous books had beenunnecessarily included and incorporated into the drenai timelineretrospectively. The Skilgannon stories could stand alone without manymany links back to "Legend", "White Wolf" etc.
However, there are some excellent ideas/themes and unexpected plot twistswithin the Drenai world.
Good/evil are "shades of grey" in this story and perception is all - quiteimportant to remember this today in our own world.
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on 10 September 2009
The premise of this sequel is the concept of 'Reborns', people brought back from the Void and re-incarnated into new bodies, effectively becoming immortal. In fact the Drenai world is now under the shadow of one such Reborn, the all-conquering Eternal. This is where Skilgannon fits in, for in this book he is also a Reborn, brought back specifically to fight the Eternal and end her reign of terror.

But the whole idea of simply re-incarnating Skilgannon to fight other re-incarnated characters comes across as a little bit too contrived. Even Druss gets a re-hash, making an unnecessary cameo appearance that leaves you feeling he was added just to keep the publishers happy. The story is also very disjointed, with the focus confusingly switching between an array of very disparate groups of heroes and villains, but never staying long enough with any of them to allow the reader to feel any attachment to them.

Another let down is the way everything falls into place just that little bit too easily. A prophecy is made, then gradually all the pieces just start clicking into place, it's all too predictable. Even Gemmell's usually excellent characterisation lacks the believability of the first book. This is best illustrated in a sequence where one of the story's main villains suddenly switches allegiance and goes from a violent maniac to an amiable romantic, there's too much suspension of disbelief here. Then when magic armour and magic eagles get thrown into the mix the cliché count starts to get too high and it all becomes a bit too much fantasy by numbers.

Nonetheless the book has an abundance of good action, some good humour and banter between the main characters, and some delightful villains. This saves the book from falling into mediocrity and just keeps it in 3 star territory, but if you want the definitive Skilgannon book, stick with the superior White Wolf.
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2004
The latest epic in set in David Gemmell's fantasy world of the Drenai, continuing the tale of Skilgannon the Damned but the question is what does it offer the new fan in addition to what does it offer to the fans of his earlier works?
Having read the book back I was initially concerned about the time delay between this novel and the previous works in the Drenai world, I mean a thousand years is a hell of a lot of a time delay, it made me wonder to what level the world had developed technologically. Would we have the Drenai fighting with guns or would they be fighting with something more advanced? This was the quandry that I found myself in and one that I assumed a number of other fans would have as after all basing the fact around the world around the understanding that they developed along the same lines as we did then they would obviously have guns wouldn't they, so how would Skilgannon and Druss be able to face the speed to which these new weapons operated?
As I started the novel these fears were paramount for me, but I shouldnt have worried, Gemmell had taken the approach that the world was a slow developer and hadn't developed any further along the weapons front choosing instead to understand the machines of the ancients that had given us the Joinings in the earlier novels known to this timeline as Jems.
So how does the tale develop, having an understanding of the machines and understanding the evil that is inflicted upon the world by the Eternal one man looks to help in fulfill the prophecy set down by Ustarte, the now revered prophet a thousand years previously in which Skilgannon would stop the evil and end the reign of the immortal. But in order to do that he needed to be reborn from his bones in his hidden tomb. Having located these bones Landis Kahn sets about bringing him back but before he experiments on the bones of the ancient warlord he experiments upon other bones found with him in which he returns Druss. But for these ancient souls to be able to take over their recreated bodies the souls of thier inhabitants are cast into the void. Having never been able to pass through the golden gate Skilgannon is found wondering the void fighting the monsters that inhabit it as to Druss there is no sign so the interesting factor here is to see how a man reborn of the ancients bones will interact with the world and to see how closely he follows the Legends morals.
The tale takes the reader through an action paced tale full of twists as a fan of Gemmell will come to expect and something that will have new readers rushing out to pick up other Drenai novels so that they can follow the whole saga. However something that Gemmell presents us with in this novel is a look back over the history of the lands of the Drenai and fills in some gaps and answers some much asked questions by the fans and gives details about key events in thier history. Its done not to increase the page volume but cleverly inserted in passing comments so that its as if we're discovering things as Skilgannon does which is a sign of a great writer.
To sum the whole thing up this novel is classic Gemmell and should be treated like a fine wine. Something that needs to be sipped slowly to allow the full flavour to be sampled by the taster in addition to allowing it the room to breath and the nuances absorbed. Whilst there are many people who offer something similar it lacks the full bodiness that a master can bring to the fore. Gemmell once tasted, is never bettered. This will become a classic and is a definite must for all fans of the heroic epic.
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2008
Not sure I understand the mixed reviews this book has received. Given that it's twice as long as some of Gemmell's earlier books it has a harder job keeping the attention but succeeds admirably. Skilgannon is an interesting character, as with Waylander he has a chequered history that sometimes makes him a bit difficult to like but you can't help rooting for him.
I'm a fussy reader and having discovered Gemmell only a couple of months ago (Gemmell is the only fantasy writer I read except Tolkien) I have been working my way through his novels one by one. Having read all the Drenai novels in a few weeks, I think I'd be well placed to work out whether he is recycling plots. Sure there are recurrent themes (advancing age, death, doing the right thing even where there's no hope etc) but thats why I like his work. This novel ends with an obvious lead onto a follow-up which sadly, of course, is now never going to be written.
It kept me reading over 700 pages which is one hell of a recommendation!
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on 14 March 2018
A towering novel of good and evil. As is usual in any David Gemmell story, there is no complex tale which could cause a loss of interest by the reader. Great read!
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on 18 December 2012
I am a fan of David Gemmell, I think he wrote very well and can't think of someone else who writes in his way or genre.

This is the second Skilgannon book and it's a massive jump from the first, being 1000 years later. There are a few twists, although I've read this too many times to really be surprised by them, and they aren't overly dropped in or overly foreshadowed, which I dislike.

Best of all the world feels real, dangerous and alive with heroes and villans, which is perfect escapism every time.
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on 17 December 2013
David Gemmell has hit on an adveturous epic givin us a biopic adventure between clans set in a world of magic, sorcery and good old fashion fighting. Waylander has been a personal ride about a man who is an a assassin but who fights against evil and defender of the good. Gifted with extra life he has fought through greif and death countless times for the greater good of humanity and to prevent evil where it exists. Not only Waylander but all of the Drenai series keeps you gripped to the end of every book with the new editions filling the gaps between the main series and giving better insight to the personal background adventures of our heroes. So far I've read twice but it looks a third read of all the series will be on the cards. Brilliant.
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on 5 February 2018
Typical David Gemmell. Great story with likeable characters. Great ending to a fantastic series.
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