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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2003
If you've ever read any of David Gemmell's work before, then you will not be surprised by anything in this novel. The characters are painstakingly and colourfully developed and the storyline is full of his usual mix of bloodshed, injustice and the downtrodden underdogs rising against corrupt and powerful oppressors. I'll say one thing for Gemmell's work - it's consistent! He works to a successful formula, and for the most part his fans will not be disappointed.
My only criticism of this book is that although it is undoubtedly, as is claimed, a Novel of the Rigante, he has skipped so much time from the first two books of the series to this one that the storyline has lost the pace and excitement that he had developed with Connovar and Bane. Yes, the new characters are arguably as good, likeable and powerful, but he has to develop the whole social system again from scratch and so by the end of the 500 odd pages, the story was really only beginning to gather the impetus that he had achieved with the first two books. Although this is the third book of the series, it reads as though it is the first and that in itself made it slightly disappointing.
Gemmell at his best is undoubtedly a five star author, but Ravenheart wouldn't be my recommendation as his best work. It is simply more Gemmell - and that, although good, is a bit of a shame.
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on 29 August 2012
This is the third of Gemmell's Rigante novels. First thing to note: the cover is rubbish! Like Midnight Falcon before it, it's not a typical sequel, in that it doesn't carry on directly from the last book. What Gemmell liked to do was to create a world and then tell different stories about the heroes and villains who made a difference at particular points in time.

Jumping forward 800 years he now brings us to what may be the last days of the Rigante, a beleaguered people who have either been subjugated by the Varlish, or who have been pushed so far north that only a few hundred remain living in 'freedom'. It's another story of heroic deeds, sacrifice, and evil. However, it's quite refreshing in some ways. It's a story that is scaled down to just a few characters and how their troubles impact upon the greater picture.

There are some typically wonderful characters here, particularly in the shape of Jaim, Kaelin, Chara, Maev and Alterith. They are complex and believable people whose actions make perfect sense. Some of the things that happen to them are uplifting, some heartbreaking. When a young Varlish girl falls in love with Kaelin, a Rigante, there is outrage and bigotry. When she is taken, raped and murdered, the suspicion falls, of course, on the wrong people. Kaelin knows who has committed this foul act and pursues them, killing them with his father's pistols (weaponry has moved on a bit in those 800 years). The Moidart, local ruler of the Varlish, sets his best tracker and assassin to find the killer, leading Kaelin to escape to the north.

Gemmell's writing, by this stage, was honed to perfection for the genre. He had me hanging on every plot and sub-plot, building suspense masterfully. And, even if you think you can predict what's going to happen, he always throws in a twist, some spark of originality which sets his tales apart. The final pages contain some of his most emotive writing that I have encountered to date, and genuinely brought tears to my eyes.
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on 12 September 2013
Let me make it clear that this is not just a review of Ravenheart; 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 3 April 2001
As always i was excited by the prospect of a new David Gemmell book. even more so because his other two Rigante titles were so excellent. i was not disappointed, as ever his characters were real and the action gripping. i found myself reading the book in only a couple of days. How ever, this book seems to lack something as a story on its own, the end seemingly waiting for a sequel which i hope we get. whilst not as good as Sword in the Storm or Midnight Falcon in my opinion, it opens up a new angle to the Rigante series which begs to be later explored in great depth. The mixed references to the two previous books, especially the mistaken history as written by the Varlish people adds depth and i found myself smiling time and again. An allround excellent read with top notch characters who, as ever, shift through shades of grey, never wholly good nor evil, David Gemmell remains my favourite author
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on 20 February 2015
David Gemmell strikes again another fantastic book with legendary battles, hidden love, deceit and heroisms! Such books can pass for any genre but once again Mr Gemmell has blessed us with the combined forces of a tore de force to create the perfect read!
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on 27 April 2002
This book is good. Honestly. It is different from your standard David Gemmel story. The characters have more deph, romance is built up at a more realistic slow pace, the fighting is interesting, and the battles epic. Why then do I not give five stars?
Because the ending is shocking. It stinks so much of a sequel that it had me in tears. "How?" I moaned in my semi-delirous tantrum, "Can he end a book like that?"
Granted, some of the ends are tied up, but even more are left loose. Without giving away too much of the excellent story line, there is the normal Gemmel situation. A few stranded good guys are being forced to fight a whole load of angry bad guys. As usual the balance is in favour of the bad guys because naturally, there are lots more of them. The good guys get sneaky and clever, and then... the book ends! It was such a let down.
Don't get me wrong - the book is good, Gemmel's writing style has matured dramatically, but still retains it freshness for battle and fantasy. A genuinely good read, - it carries on the ringante saga beautifully, but the ending won't fail to disappoint.
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on 5 July 2002
What makes the Rigante series so interesting is that Gemmell blurs the lines between Good and Evil. Every hero is capable of heinous acts and fights constantly with inner demons. Every villain is misguided, acting for what he believes to be righteous and honorable causes. This creates a much more accurate description of human nature and makes the characters much more believable.
I'll second an earlier review in my only criticism of this book - when the book ends, the story is still far from finished. Thus, the ending feels abrupt and definitely begs for a sequel. If you're one of those people who hate seeing a "To Be Continued," I strongly suggest you order both Ravenheart and Stormrider at the same time.
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on 9 November 2001
Once more David Gemmell weaves yet another swashbuckling web of imagery. Germmell's aproach to the characters gives them life in all 3 dimensions and you feel drawn into the story, into the adventure. This is a great continuation to Midnight Falcon, but also stands as a heroic story in itself. If you like Fanatsy, you'll love this.
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on 29 December 2001
Which are
1)An original good story of Gyrmach.I was hooked on his story and he can be considered a true and interesting hero. I cannot express how good his story and charachter were in the novel and Gemmell wisely concentrates on him not on Kalien (God I hope I spelt that right) who is just a rather boring clone of some of his previous charachters ala Connovar/Bane/Parmenion.
2)Set up for his next novel. There were some scenes that just screamed SET UP. And it does not work to the books credit.
3) Lack of originalty in the Ravenheart Charachter (A Connovar/Bane clone) and his story. The angry youth who leads the rebellion and wins freedom for his people Gemmell has done a million times before including his last two Rigante novels and to be blunt I expect better from an author of his caliber. There are some scenes that are so glaringly predictable with this charachter you do not even have to turn the pages to guess what happens next.
Overall an enjoyable novel but apart from what I have said above I just wish he would concentrate on his Drenai series and the war between the twins that just begs for him to write.
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on 15 June 2005
David Gemmell continues his entertaining Rigante series with Ravenheart set 800 years after the first set of the series (Sword in the Storm and Midnight Falcon).
The Rigante are now a conquered people living under the rule of the Varlish people. Their great traditions are slowly being erased as they are treated as second class citizens with few rights and basically as barbarians. This brings the some interesting scenes in the book as characters from both sides deal with their feelings towards each other.
Kalein Ring is a young Rigante growing up in this society. The story follows him from being lashed by a Varlish school teacher to leading a Rigante assault near the end of the book.
The real star of the book is Jaim Grymuach, a giant of a man and a 'true' Rigante, always in trouble, a drunkard, but the most likeable character of this tale. He refuses to bow to the Varlish laws and live his life as he pleases. His role in the Spring feast was uplifting and he becomes a legend by the end of the tale.
The trial at the end of the book is well written, exciting and emotionally moving. It was an excellent way to finish the novel. School teacher Alderith turns from dislikeable teacher to heroic defender of Maev Ring.
This book is characteristic of David Gemmell, fans will find nothing new here from the first books of the series. He writes likeable characters and is extremely easy to read, but some may feel that they have read these stories and met these characters before.
The book is not as 'stand alone' as the first two Rigante novels, I am eagerly awaiting delivery of the Storm Rider to find out how the story ends.
Also, as one of the main protagonists, Kaelin Ring is not quite as interesting as his predecessors Connavar and Bane, but I am hoping this will change by the next book.
Overall; a good entertaining read which will not disappoint fans of the series.
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