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Legend (Drenai Tales, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1994

226 customer reviews

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Legend (Drenai Tales, Book 1) + The King Beyond the Gate (Drenai Tales, Book 2) + Quest for Lost Heroes (Drenai Tales, Book 3)
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Editorial Reviews


'Has pace, conviction and gritty resolute vitality...The result is a book that will be enjoyed by Tolkien fans' TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

David Gemmell is so committed to his work that he's offered to leap naked out of an airplane if it would appeal to readers. We haven't taken him up on the offer. However, David has also acknowledged that three of his major influences were Louis Lamour, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Stan Lee. Tolkien wrote back, Lamour passed away before David had any opportunity to contact him, and Stan Lee lived thousands of miles away from David's British home. One out of three wasn't bad, but it could be improved upon.

We were at the San Diego ComicCon, rustling up new readers, and David had just finished a two-hour continuous signing. A friend of mine spotted a familiar face, so I excused myself and darted away, returning a few moments later to say, "David Gemmell, I'd like you to meet Stan Lee." A tall, ruddy, and normally poised individual, David was struck speechless. Here was the man who, through his Marvel Comics stories, had reinvented the relationship between heroes and villains, forever blurring the barriers between good and evil. Before long the two fantasists were chatting away happily. Stan's wife, Joan, being British, was especially gracious to the London-born Gemmell. And Stan quickly demanded an autographed copy of LEGEND.

David's a dynamic storyteller. His lands live and breathe. His heroes are mighty swordsmen, ax-wielders, and post-apocalyptic adventurers. In their prime they were the best in the business, but in David's tales, they've often passed their prime, so all they really want is peace and quiet. But life (and the author) aren't that kind, and these heroes are forced out of retirement, forced to face bloody hordes of the undead, armies from Hell. Worse, his heroes are generally saddled with young, green heroes. (Nothing drives you crazy more than a cocky kid.) But they overcome, and the cocky kids become heroes, too. This is great reading.
                                                                        --Steve Saffel, Senior Editor

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Product Details

  • Series: Drenai Saga (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (October 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345379063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345379061
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Gemmell was born in London, England, in the summer of 1948. Expelled from school at sixteen, he became a bouncer, working nightclubs in Soho. Born with a silver tongue, Gemmell rarely needed to bounce customers, relying instead on his gift of gab to talk his way out of trouble. This talent eventually led him to jobs as a freelancer for the London Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Express. His first novel, Legend, was published in 1984 and has remained in print ever since. He became a full-time writer in 1986. His books consistently top the London Times bestseller list.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on January 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...Legend is one of the most refreshing books I have read in a good long time (probably since the last time I read it). It is not great literature, and it doesn't try to be. What it is is a grand heroic adventure full of awesome, bloody, inspiring battle scenes, motivational speeches and pep talks to shame BraveHeart, brave warriors, beautiful women (most of whom also happen to be brave warriors), magic, sieges, true love, valor, and all that other good stuff. It is the story of a vast empire, soft due to complacency, that is being threatened by the barbarian hordes basically. All that stands in the way of the main barbarian armies is one fortress, vastly undermanned, and the soldiers there aren't really soldiers at all but farmers volunteering as soldiers. And at fifty to one odds against, their chances of holding the fort until their empire can raise a REAL army aren't looking good. Enter Druss, fat old man and legendary warrior, who has never lost a battle, who has never given up, who has never sacrificed his principles. The main point of this book is, can the defenders hold out long enough, can this living legend fighting with them give them enough hope to survive. The question isn't whether they will win, but rather how long until they lose. Don't look for deep characters or character development here, look for grand heroes and grander villains, who make their point with actions much more than words. But what action! This has quickly become one of my favorite books just to pick up an read. Try it, you'll love it!
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Justin G. TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just heard the news that David Gemmell has died at the age of 57. He had recently undergone heart surgery, but was unable to make a full recovery.

I've read a lot of fantasy novels, but very few excited and inspired me like David Gemmell's. He wrote dozens of novels, and while the characters and situations changed, the essential message remained clear - that every person, however flawed or tormented, has inside them a seed of nobility and courage that can change the world around them.

You see this clearly in Legend. Druss is an old man who comes to a hopeless situation knowing it will mean his death. His wife is dead, his friends are dead. All he has left is to make a final stand. Will it make a difference against such a vast invading army? I'll let you find that out when you read Legend. Druss was clearly the main character in Legend, but the book was full of other characters - normal men and women - struggling to overcome their own weaknesses and do the right thing in the face of impossible odds.

This, I think, is the lesson I continue to learn from David Gemmell's work. You don't have to be a warrior with a magic axe. You don't have to lead a perfect life. You can be a normal, messed-up human being like everyone else. And when you find yourself faced with that tough decision, whatever it may be, you have it within you to make a stand...to do the right thing.

I'll miss that sense of anticipation I felt waiting for each new Gemmell release, but I'll continue to treasure the many novels he gave us, and look forward to the day when I can share them with my son.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By RG69 on November 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading this book, I went out and bought everything that David Gemmell ever wrote, and I buy every new novel he writes. This is a classic tale, full of adventure, and tremendous battles. This is the story of Druss, a man so powerful, even his enemies respect him. Druss is not perfect however, he is a man who sees things only in black or white. You can either be right or wrong, no inbetween. If you like fast paced adventure and terrific writing, pick this one up along with all the Drenai tales.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eric Donaldson on August 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you like the work of Robert E. Howard, especially his original (unedited and longer) Conan stories, you will love the books of David Gemmell. Gemmell is a storyteller; his books make no pretense of grand opera or intricately twisted social/political thriller. They are very entertaining at the least, and gripping, tense, and emotionally involving at their best. His Drenai Saga is my personal favorite (all those books are great, but heroic fantasy is my overall favorite, personal taste), but I like almost all of his books. Legend was the first of his books I read and I was immediately hooked on his vivid, gritty, you-are-there writing style. In their setting, his characters are believable, consistent, and easy to identify with which gives you a real attachment to them. (NOTE: much weaving of the tale at the beginning of the book for greater immersion in the world; you will have read to about page 60 before you find the first mention of Druss the Legend himself, and then on another 16 pages or so - his "meeting" with Dorian, heh heh, classic Gemmell - to shift the focus to Druss) While each book in the series is self contained and enjoyable in itself, reading the other books in the Saga add a great deal to the depth of the series. Each book is staggered in its place in the timeline of the Drenai world, and it is great fun to see the contents of a previous or later book in the series to now be the history, "legends" and myths of the current book you are now reading. It gives the Drenai Saga a cohesiveness that adds greatly to the feel that you are reading about the exploits of real people.Read more ›
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