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Waylander (Drenai Tales, Book 4) Mass Market Paperback – September 27, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
Book 3 of 11 in the Drenai Saga Series

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$7.99 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews


Several rungs above the good right into the fabulous Anne McCaffrey Has pace, conviction and gritty resolute vitality...The result is a book that will be enjoyed by Tolkien fans TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT David Gemmell manages to take a familiar, generic scenario and infuse it with meaning...it's a thoughtful genre fantasy, a bit chewier than most, and quite, quite tasty LOCUS --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 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; English Language edition (September 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345379071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345379078
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,202 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Every time I've read this book, I'm continually amazed at how well it's done. Gemmell has a definite formula (or formulas) from which he rarely strays. I didn't know this the first time I read the book, but even now it doesn't detract from what may be some of his best work.

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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Note: There are a few spoilers.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read Waylander when i was 13. I'd never heard of David Gemmell and had no real interest in books either. The only reason i was in the library was to get away from the teasing i received in the schoolyard. Had it not been for those people teasing me i still probably wouldn't have heard of David Gemmell to this day. I don't quite remember what attravted me to Waylander, maybe the nice cover or the blurb, all i know is that every lunch time for the next 2 months i was in that library reading Waylander. Althought there were things that i didn't understand in it i was nonetheless enthralled by the story and i still am today. I've graduated from high school and am now in my second year at university and Waylander is still my favorite book to read. To a 13 year old boy it was an escape from reality to a world of adventure and heros, to the 18 year old who reads it on average 3 times a year it has become a close friend who takes me on a journey down a path that i have often walked but never tired of. Thankyou David Gemmell for introducing me to Waylander and his family. Without them my life would be infinitely different and much less bareable.
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The only complaint I would have about this book was that it was not long enough. Gemmel seems to develop the plot and characters at lightening speed, sometimes at the cost of depth. In fact, some of the more well-developed characters in the book were secondary to the plot (for example, Jonat, Kai, and several others). The ending was very disconcerting since I expected about 150 pages more and suddenly, it was over, with a Dragnet-style epilogue.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
...But It Does! David Gemmell infuses a brand new character, Waylander the Slayer, in the Drenai Series, making this book even better. I couldn't wait to learn more about Waylander's past and where he fell in the sequence of events from the previous three books in the series. The same crisp and clean style of writing is seen throughout this book and the furious pace of the book makes this one of the best in the series so far.

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!
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