Anyone who knows me and my love for the Fantasy genre probably knows that David Gemmell is one of my favorite writers ever. Maybe even my number one favorite. He was the writer that got me into Fantasy and the one I will always value the most. But let’s not get off track here. This is my first book review and I thought I’d start with a novel from the one I consider the father of Fantasy. (I love Tolkien, but I love Gemmell more) So without further ado: here’s my review of The Legend of Deathwalker.
Druss, a Drenai man whose entire life seems spawned from legend, is a contestant in the Gothir games. The insane God-King has prophesied that the Gothir champion Klay will take the gold, and his servants are willing to do whatever it takes to make his prophecy come true. Talisman, a Nadir warrior, is tasked by a Chiatze scholar to travel to the Shrine of Oshikai Demon-bane and to find the Eyes of Alchazzar, and to take his granddaughter Zhusai with him. The magical Eyes will bring forth the Uniter – a Nadir warrior with violet eyes who will unite all the opposing clans – or so the legend goes.
David Gemmell is a renowned Fantasy author, writing mainly High or Epic Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy and Military Fantasy. Violence always occurs in his books, but always alongside honorable deeds, loyalty and chances of redemption. He writes very strong characters, not strong as in physically (though some of them are) but strong of will and of mind. Successes don’t always help the protagonists and the antagonists are often very complex. His novels are fast-paced and concisely written. His characters feel real, his antagonists wicked and his protagonists and even his stock characters are likable.
I really liked this book for several reasons. One of them was the fact that I had already read some of Gemmell’s books and was familiar with Druss, Nosta Khan, Sieben and Ulric. I knew of the back story of the Nadir and the Chiatze, but in this book I finally got to see them next to each other. Finding out how Druss got the nickname Deathwalker was an added bonus.
Another reason why I liked this so much was that the Nadir and the tribes were front and centre. Throughout the book I was both surprised at their comradely nature and fun-loving nature as well as disturbed by their rituals and apparent cruelness. As a reader you understand that the Nadir and the Chiatze were once one race, one people, but there only thing connecting them now (in the present day) is the colour of their skin.
I simply loved that Druss, single-mindedly and simplemindedly, decided to seek the ‘magical jewels’ for Klay, a Gothir champion whom he only met a day or two ago, to save him. And if that happened to lead him into the middle of a battle, then so be it. Druss is a man who stands and endures and who would go to great lengths for his friends. And who would set aside his dislike for a people he doesn’t like, to fight alongside them to protect what is most important to them, just because it’s the right thing to do.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes his or her Fantasy straightforward and epic.