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Waylander (Drenai Tales, Book 4) Mass Market Paperback – September 27, 1995
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From the Publisher
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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Top Customer Reviews
At no point does Gemmell falter in his plain-spoken, yet insightful writing style. He delivers a world both with a complex and detailed history as well as chock full of shades of gray. I'm inspired to write stories like this.
Waylander is one of my favorite characters of all time. Complex, detailed, unexpected, and sort of realistic. He reminds me of Jason Bourne in a fantasy setting. It seems to me that after a lifetime of assassination, that one becomes both a stellar hunter, but also skilled in many areas required to survive.
Gemmell is a good writer and his Drenai series are generally very good compared to a lot of the stuff out there. I reread the series once in a while and I'm thankful that he keeps putting out books in this universe. I recommend this book (and the whole series, in fact) to all who call themselves fantasy fans.
I once read an interview from Mr. Gemmell stating that this was his first attempt at writing a redemption story. As such, there are some areas that are, well, less than his normal stellar writing. Then again, I consider him leagues ahead of most writers, so he gets 4 stars.
The basic plot is that the Drenai are being ethnically cleansed from the face of the earth. Waylander, the protagonist, helped start the war by assassinating the king of the Drenai. As a means of atoning, he is commissioned by the father of the dead king to find the Armor of Bronze, which will rally the Drenai against the invaders, win the war, and save their nation. Along the way, he falls in love, indirectly leads to the creation of the Temple of the Thirty, and helps redeem several other characters who, like him, operated on the edge of society.
Sounds trite, no? Well, yes, actually, it does. The key to Mr. Gemmell's writing is that he's very good at characterization. Everything seems natural, nothing is forced. He's always a joy to read. The consequences of his characters' acts sometimes ring down for generations...in one moment, a single act leads directly to the creation of one of the world's greatest forces for good. Likewise, Waylander still faces repercussions from his slaughter of the Drenai king 50 years later, in Hero in the Shadows.
Go. Read him.
All that being said, David Gemmel brings back to the fantasy genre something it has sorely missed. In countless other throw-away "epics," authors fling shallow characters and weak plots at us as if we were playing some kind of printed video game. In Waylander, we are treated to characters with enough personality to actually form opinions on them. We grow to like and dislike them on their own merits, rather than through some contrived description.
I especially liked Gemmel's development of the theosophy of Drenai. The conflict between good and evil with some strongly Gnostic flavoring is something everyone can appreciate. The deeds of magic were kept at a dull roar with every one of them requiring little or no suspension of disbelief.
I haven't read any of the other Drenai books, but I intend to based on the strength of Waylander.
Waylander is known throughout the land as the most deadly assassin. He is known for his deadly accuracy and uncaring heart, but one good deed, the rescue of Dardalion, changes Waylander's path forever. With the past haunting him, Waylander takes on a quest from the most unlikely of people that could help win the war against Kaem and his army.
Dardalion, a Source priest, has committed his life to love and kindness. Even while he is being robbed, he refuses to defend himself. When Waylander saves him from the robbers, he rethinks his place in the world and decides to fight for good.
These two new characters will try to help change the shape of the Drenai world. Whether it is for the good or the bad, only the ending will determine that. The magic might be subtle in Gemmell's books, but he includes just enough sorcery to quench the reader's thirst for a complete fantasy book. Enjoy the wonderful characters. Enjoy the fast-paced action. Just enjoy the book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unpredictable twist and turns in the plot kept the suspense going. Hard to put the book down so give yourself a weekend to relish it.Published 9 days ago by Michael DUFF
David Gemmell was one of the best storytellers ever. All his books are fast paced, easy to read, very suspenseful and they leave you with a strong desire to read more of his books... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Howard Brauner
Gemmel is one of my favorite writers and Waylander is one of his best stories. The third book in the Drenai series features an assassin who is tasked with a dangerous quest to... Read morePublished 8 months ago by James Anthony
Gemmell is to fantasy what Tyson was to boxing. Violent, entertaining, and popular in the 80's. His books don't awe you with new ideas but they're fun and they keep you reading. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jgilson
Gemmell's simple and effective story-telling paves the way for an epic redemption saga in this novel about a former Drenai officer and family man who's turned into a wandering... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Tiberius
Waylander like many of Gemmells books explores a Heros humanity. Gritty, powerful and rich - Waylander goes through evil to rediscover his real identity. Love these booksPublished 12 months ago by Parakaleo
The third book of the Drenai Saga reads just as well as any standalone fantasy book that is available today. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Greggorio!
Another outstanding entry in the realm of swords and sorcery by Mr. Gemmell. Logical and interesting plot. Strong character development. Solid writing. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Micah Tapman
David Gemmell is the best heroic fantasy writer to ever write. His words weave a magic beyond that of others, only the great J.R. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer