Druss the Axe

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Caliban, Nov 13, 2001.

  1. Caliban

    Caliban Registered User

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    A friend of mine just recently recommended David Gemmel's "Drenai Saga."

    Could someone fill me in? I am not really familiar with his work.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Lord Soth

    Lord Soth New Member

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    Short and sweet is the best way to describe Gemmel i think. He's one of my favorite authors. Quick paced and moving.

    Well worth checking out.
     
  3. Cannon Fodder

    Cannon Fodder Registered User

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    It's an on going series of stand alone novels in a harsh medieval world, though there are some recurring characters such as Druss and Waylander the Slayer. Quick paced and gritty. I would recommend them, especially Legend and Waylander, which would both be good to start with.
     
  4. James Barclay

    James Barclay Moderator

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    Gemmell is a top writer, in my opionion and the Drenai saga were the first of his I read. Enjoyed the lot. Both Waylander and Druss are characters to be enjoyed.

    And, if you fancy a change from heroic fantasy after them but still want Gemmell, try out The Jon Shannow books. They are excellent.

    One of my all time favourite writers.
     
  5. Caliban

    Caliban Registered User

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    Thanks a lot! I am still in the midst of GRRM, but I'll definitely check Gemmel out on those reviews.
     
  6. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    I will put in a dissenting view...
    I didn't enjoy it. The characters were extremely two dimensional, and the writing style was a little hard to follow. It is quite strange to see two sequential paragraphs from different characters view points. The plot was extremely simple and that interesting.

    This was in Legend. Not sure if any of his other stuf is worth reading. I wouldn't try it unless it had a really strong recommendation.
     
  7. mundanemies

    mundanemies New Member

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    Two-dimensional?
    More like four-dimensional to me. The fact is that Gemmell writes of the same character, which is probably his biggest weakness. Reading his books back to back soon gets far too repetative. Yet time and againg, over and over, he manages to weave a Great tale and fully-dimensional maincharacters and interesting supporting ones.
    To call Legend's plot simple and (probably, as I think you may have missed a word here) not very interesting is weird. Yes, the plot is very simple, but far from un-interesting. Legend is a jam-packed action galore with deep and emotional meanderings of loyalty, loss and bravery. Druss is an archetype of gigantic proportions; a loner, guilt-ridden man full of vengeange. Gemmell's heroes are almost always like that, a figure that owes a LOT to Ethan Edwards. Ethan Who?
    Of The Searchers, probably the greatest western ever made, starring John Wayne as Druss... That'd been a day!
     
  8. Gilliam

    Gilliam Registered User

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    Read Druss you won't be disappointed while people can argue that the plot is simple I believe that the story is worth reading due to the fact that the plot is "simple". The main story is about a man searching for his lost love and discovering that he is an unstoppable fighting machine.
     
  9. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    <quote>Druss is an archetype of gigantic proportions </quote>
    He is also a two dimensional, predictable stereotypical character. I shouldn't have to read every Gemmel book for him to be fleshed out.

    I won't deny that the plot is full of action, but is it interesting? No. It is mindless fight after fight, and is very predictable. IMO, these books are only slightly above those horrible Forgotten Realms novels.
     
  10. JohnH

    JohnH Abstainer from Foolosophy

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    I find Gemmell to be like snack food. Nothing to make a meal on but certainly fare to tide you over. Certainly I would take Gemmell over the likes of Feist, Brooks, Weis/Hickman just to mention a few that many here dine on regularly.
     
  11. Sammie

    Sammie The Doctor...

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    Can I just give Eventine some support here (now that i've located this topic!) and say that i have tried a couple of different Gemmel books, and found them flat, 'bitty' (ie they jumped between times and places with unsettling lack of continuity), not particularly well written, and boring.

    Oh, and I don't like Brooks, couldn't get into Weis/Hickman, and was disappointed by pretty much everything of Feist's that i read after Magician (except the stuff with Janny Wurts) for pretty much the same reasons.

    k?
     
  12. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Sam82, which Weis/Hickman did you try?

    And to keep to topic, I recently received Tales of the Rigante a Gemmel Science Fiction Book Club omnibus containg Sword in the Storm and Midnight Falcon, so when I finish them, I can put in my 2 cents (or shilling, or pence, or rupies where ever the hell your from) about the books.
     
  13. Sammie

    Sammie The Doctor...

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    FF, i tried starting about 3 different W/H bks on the extracts on Amazon.com, i don't remember which, and there was just nothing about them that 'grabbed me' (UNlike 'dying of the light', 'windhaven' and a couple of Storm Constantine books, which i now HAVE to have!)

    Also, I say '2 cents' in that expression, and i think most of my English generation do too - just out of interest [​IMG]
     
  14. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    Sam,
    The only Weis Hickman type stuff I have read has been the Deathgate books. They are a light, fun read but I really liked the world they established and some of the concepts they introduced as the series continued. Would I recommend it? Yes. But not to people who look down on light reading. If you are looking for something epic, try Wurts' Wars of Light and Shadow. For an easy, fun, read, that is an OK series.

    And to stay on topic:
    I realise it is a trend in fantasy currently to write big fat novels. Legend is probaby the shortest book I have read in the past 3 years - are the rest of Gemmels books as short? The ones I have noticed in the bookstore seem to be.
     
  15. Caliban

    Caliban Registered User

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    So, should first time readers begin with Legend then?
    I think that is perhaps the only Gemmel novel I have seen on the shelf as of late.
     
  16. mundanemies

    mundanemies New Member

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    Legend is a good place to start. If you don't like that, OK. It's a very good beginning point, being the first book he wrote and got published. His ideology and sense of the world comes out pretty well with that one. The writing has it's raw spots, but it's still n times stronger and more "there" than almost all other heroic fantasy writers can even dream about.

    But again: Gemmell should not be read one after the other after the other. Give him time, savour the tension and grittiness of his books, the shades of grey there. He is definitely a "manly" writer with characters that define manliness. Yet his heroes are not glorified "shining knights" nor are they all good. They are heroes with flaws and some times deep inner demons.

    Gemmell is definitely nothing like Forgotten Realms, nor is he a bad writer. And yes, he writes books that have very little excess in them, thank ghod! His latest ones have turned out to be somewhat thicker than his earlier books, but then again every single book published nowadays has to be over 350 pages, preferably 800! Publishers can't sell slim books, therefore authors have to pad them up. Sad is the state of industry... [​IMG]
     
  17. MattyC

    MattyC New Member

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    2 dimensional? start at legend?

    I have now read most of Gemmells Drenai books in the last 3 months with only a break between 2 of them. I started on Legend and i must say i wish i hadnt, not because its not the best, i loved it, but after reading the books set before it i find myself wanting to finish them all so i can read legend again. Druss is not the main character in Legend in my opinion-which is why some might find him 2 dimensional in it, he is the rock around which the defence is built. I felt the main character was Rek who was far from 2 Dimensional.

    I wished i had started with the chronicles of Druss or Waylander 1&2. Druss is a character which shows up in so many books and you wont fully understand him and appreciate him unless u read the chronicles.

    Waylander is a great place to start because its pretty much as far back to the beginning u can go (i think). There are many characters in these books that are mentioned it Legend, Waylander the Slayer and others. I would suggest reading the books not in order of when they were written but when they are set in relation to each other. it then really feels like u are reading a series of books which link with each other and flow brilliantly.

    god ive been rambling, no one i know has as much love for the Gemmell books so i had to come find the true believers!!!
     
  18. smiler127

    smiler127 Registered User

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    Gemmell was one of my favourite authors from the very first time I read Legend. His works are perfect examples of Heroic Fantasy, with worlds and heroes that are easy to relate to. No high magics, no dragons, just lots of conflict and legendary deeds.

    One of the few authors, who made me feel like I was watching a movie unfold in my head, and got my blood flowing with his swift-flowing action scenes.
     
  19. WyrvenGuard

    WyrvenGuard I Has Good Writing

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    I have to agree with smiler. I read Legends first, then I jumped to Sword in the Storm (which happens to be one my favorite books ever). The story behind him writing Legend is pretty phenominal as well (He wrote it as a parallel to his battle with cancer back in the 70's. He planned on waiting for his diagnosis to finish it, wanting it to mirror what happened to him, but he shelved it when he found out he'd been misdiagnosed. a friend convinced him to publish it many years later. If his buddy had ever read his manuscript he may never have written any of these books!)