Having read the Rigante series, but never a Drenai novel, I thought I'd head back to Gemmell's early work which put him on the page. There is an easy comparison to be made for Legend. Imagine a whole book devoted to the Helms Deep siege of Lord of the Rings and you're very close. The first half is character building, slowly and surely weaving emotional threads around the protagonists. There are some stereotypes in there, but this is enjoyable old-fashioned fantasy and no harm is done. When the siege begins, almost in to the last third, you have been lured in to a page turner. The chaos and death that seeps from the page is cleverly written, it paints a big picture of war, and is also full of the small detail of the central chararcters. Although a self-contained novel the characterisation will ensure you want to return to the Drenai saga. A very well written book of man and war; of love and death. This is war up close and dirty - dive in and read the one that started it all.
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