Gemmell was a master story teller and the story of Parmenion is up there with his best. The blending of fact with fiction is seamless and the resulting story is breathtaking. I only wish the author had lived to write more like this.
After the superb - and for Gemmell slightly groundbreaking - Lion of Macedon, I found Dark Prince to be a bit of a disappointment.
It is in some ways unfair to compare this to Lion of Macedon, to which Dark Prince is a sequel, but I think for this review it is necessary. If you have read Lion of Macedon you will have experienced Gemmell at his best; it is also quite unusual amongst his work as being almost solely `historical' fiction, without the usual element of fantasy that abounds. Here, in Dark Prince, Gemmell swings the pendulum the other way. This is a fun, fantasy romp complete with monsters, time travel and parallel worlds, but it somehow lacks the edge of its prequel. Whilst I wanted to see how Parmenion's story continued after the end of Lion of Macedon in the historical sense, we are - for long periods - robbed of this.
It comes in the end, but I wouldn't recommend this novel as strongly as Lion of Macedon. It is a fun, fantasy romp with some lovely touches (the character of Aristotle, particularly), but without the story-telling prowess that Gemmell has exhibited before and since.
Unlike the first book in this duology, The Lion of Macedon, which was mostly historical fiction with a dash of fantasy thrown in, Dark Prince is full-blown historical fantasy. A few historical chapters set things up, but pretty soon we're into pure fantasy. Generally speaking, historical fantasy is not my thing, but in actual fact I rather enjoyed Dark Prince. Firstly, Dark Prince doesn't pretend to be anything other than historical fantasy and is upfront about it on the cover. One of my gripes with historical fantasy is that it so often masquerades as historical fiction, which can be irritatingly misleading. Secondly, Dark Prince is still such a good novel. Admittedly, in this novel the characters no longer resemble what I would think of as their historical counterparts, but the characters are still so well-written - grey, complex, gritty, empathetic - that I was interested to see what would happen to them and how events would play out. The style of Gemmell's writing was just as consistently compelling as ever it is, except this time I was reading it in a fantasy setting. The story contained classic elements of adventure, the epic journey, illusion and transformation, all rendered expertly and making for a genuinely enjoyable story. I wasn't quite as gripped by this book as much I have been by the other books by Gemmell that I'd read thus far, but I think that's simply down to reduced interest in the subject matter - history is my passion, and I do prefer it straight up. Nevertheless, absolutely a well-written and enjoyable story.
Not quite my cup of tea, but very well executed and a good read.
This predecessor to this book is a personal favourite, it has been a book that has lit the fire or reading in my heart and it has been there ever since, before this title, I was happy to pick up the odd book here and there, but could easily be distracted to other things, since...well my house if full of them.
Most people know this as a fantasy title, but would be surprised to know it started life as a Historical Fiction title, but due to the way publishers don't like their authors crossing genre it was change it to fantasy or release as another Ross Harding title. Lucky for us we got the book we did because it is brilliant. The characters so real and so lifelike, I doubt anyone could read this book and not feel real emotions as the book progresses. Gemmell has a way of creating heroes from villains, villains from heroes and a whole lot of grey that we need to decide ourselves, the world is not black and white, but also points out that we all know our own little evils, the things we have done right, a real be true to yourself and treat others as you would like to be treated aspect, but there is no preaching it is just a moral message that pervades this and his other books.
anyone who has read Lion of Macedon will then have been forced to read Dark prince will notice the heavier fantasy element to Dark Prince, written just for fantasy, and while not the pinnacle of writing that Lion of Macedon is it's still a fantastic read, as are almost all gemmell books
I cannot think of anyone who would not enjoy this book, it really has been great to read and i have read it over a dozen times.
David Gemmell again demonstrates why he is the master of the flawed and tragic hero with this tale.
'Dark Prince' will convert any reader who is unsure of the fantasy genre. Indeed, 'Lion of Macedon' was the first David Gemmell book I had read, and being three-quarters historical fiction, one-quarter fantasy, it led me gently away from my usual haunts of historical fiction.
After that I was only to happy to let 'Dark prince' pull away all my preconceptions of how a story should unravel, as Parmenion and Alexander descend into a world where nothing is impossible. Oddly, 'Dark Prince' took me back to my childhood readings of 'The Chronicles of Narnia' in this respect (although DP is certainly a darker tale).
I started this book not to long ago and was rather taken back by the direction it goes in comparison to the previous book. While still a good book it seems to change the dynamic set in Lion of Macededon and seems to go in a completely different direction, but this isn't necessarily a negitive thing as the story is told in a typical Gemmell way, so you can expect deep character driven fantasy and plot twists which you never see coming.
Yes, it borders more on the bizarre at points but still makes for a compelling read and the fact that it says Gemmell on the cover should be enough to let you know that regarless of the alternate path it leads you down it will still be a well thought out and intrueging story.
I discovered D. Gemmell some years ago thanks to a guy in a bookshop. Since then, I've read all of his books as I've able to get a hold on to. This is one of the best...it has some more fantasy and "alternate-world-stuff" than its predecessor "Lion of Macedon" but this doesn't distract from the story. "Au contrair" it adds onto it, making it colourful, descriptive, real fun. The book seems to be very well researched, and it's amazing how the story plot blends into the few storic facts that we know about those times. If you like Gemmell, this one is a must!
Dark Prince is the second of a two part series (book one is Lion Of Macedon). While not as strong in my opinion as it's predecessor, Dark Prince is still an excellent novel that's well written, full of action and a varied and interesting cast of interesting characters.
This series is in the historic fantasy genre though this book leans more heavily towards fantasy than Lion of Macedon though it still revolves around historical figures such as the Maceadonian general Parmenion and Alexander the Great. The plot for me isn't really fully cohesive enough, it kind of meanders around for a while but some of the scenes that happen are fantastic and it does conclude well at the end wrapping things up rather nicely. Gemmell's easy to read writing style and his typical shades of grey characters really are what keep this novel flowing though. He was a master at writing character in my opinion, sculpting unlikeable heroes or likeable villains, nothing is ever clear cut.
To sum up I have read every book by David Gemmell and liked every single one, Dark Prince being no different. I highly recommend giving this a go. (though obviously read Lion of Macedon first if you haven't).
+ Great characters. + Some epic scenarios. + Wraps up nicely.