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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 14 July 2010
As a writer of fantasy work, David Gemmell is certainly one of the best. His work is more subtle, there are no monsters, no demons, no elves, no goblins and no dragons, but what you do get is fantasy fiction based on historical fact. Gemmels characters are always well written and are always characters both complex and flawed with no direct difference between good and evil.

This second book od the Rigante series is based on the bastard son of Connavar named Bane. An outcast among the Rigante, Bane sets out on a journey to the City of Stone. Also, the story of Rigante's resistance against Stone continues as Connavar struggles to save the country and people he loves.

Midnight Falcon is not as good as 'The Sword in the Storm' and Gemmel misses out too much from the end of book one to the start of book 2. Connavars limited presence is also irratating for those that wished the series to coninue with Connavar as the lead character. Despite these minor disapointments, Midnight Falcon is still an enjoyable read.
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on 10 April 2017
Just amazing 🖖🏽
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on 5 August 2017
My favourite series by David Gemmell. Bought this kindle version so I can read it while travelling.
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on 9 October 2015
One of my favourite authors, have all his books in paper or hardback and decided to add my favourites to my digital library
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on 13 February 2015
One of the classics.
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on 18 August 2017
A great story teller
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on 8 June 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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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2009
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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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2003
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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on 12 January 2004
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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