There are currently (as of July 2005) eleven books in David Gemmell's Drenai saga. The first novel published (also Gemmell's first) was "Legend" back in 1984 and the most recent is "Swords of Night and Day". Despite the fact that the Drenai novels are published regularly, they do not adhere to the chronology of events that take place in this land. This guide is for those who wish to read this series in chronological order even though it is not essential to do so. Each book can be read as stand-alone novels.
The first three books refer to the assassin Waylander - the Slayer. The first novel, simple titled Waylander (Drenai Tales, Book 4) (1986) follows the story of the traitor who assassinated the Drenai king and is then hired to find a powerful weapon to defeat the invading hordes by none other than the king's son, who is unaware of Waylander's misdeed. The second Waylander novel In the Realm of the Wolf (Drenai Tales, Book 5) (1992) finds a secluded Waylander and his daughter pursued by bounty hunters. The third is titled Hero in the Shadows (Drenai Tales, Book 9) (2000) and depicts a wealthy, middle-aged Waylander who is forced through guilt to protect the grandson of a previous assassination. Waylander is one of my favourite fantasy characters due to his sense of perspective; the reader can truly appreciate the regret Waylander shows when his actions have a certain impact.
The next five books relate the story of the axe-warrior Druss, including the two most recently published novels. We first encounter Druss as a volatile young woodsman whose village is plundered. Druss kills a number of renegades but his wife is captured. The remainder of The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (Drenai Tales, Book 6) (1993) sees Druss' pursuit of his wife who is sold into slavery and eventually marriage. The The Legend of Deathwalker (Drenai Tales, Book 7) (1999) follows the events ten years after the previous book. We are introduced to a few characters from other nations quite regularly that come in later books, and this novel is no different. Next is Gemmell's 2004 Drenai novel which doesn't carry the Drenai tagline: White Wolf: A Novel of Druss the Legend (Drenai Saga: The Damned) (2004). This is the first novel to feature the deadly Skilgannon the Damned and his legendary Swords of Night and Day. It takes place just prior to the events in the fifth novel Legend (Drenai Tales, Book 1) (1984). Here, Druss is an aged warrior of mythical reputation who helps in the repulsion of a mighty Nadir force at the legendary fortress of Dros Delnoch.
The remaining books refer to new characters and focus heavily on the Mongol-like nation of the Nadir (encountered in Legend). The first being The King Beyond the Gate (Drenai Tales, Book 2) (1986) which relates the story of the half Drenai - half Nadir Tanaka Khan about 150 years after the events of Legend. Tanaka Khan recruits an army to overthrow the evil Drenai king. Quest for Lost Heroes (Drenai Tales, Book 3) (1990) tells the story of a group of legendary warriors who team-up to rescue an important peasant girl taken by the Nadir. The penultimate Drenai novel is Winter Warriors (Drenai Tales, Book 8) (2000) and is set 200 years after Quest for Lost Heroes. Here, a trio of aged Drenai warriors are relieved of their duties by the king and as they question their self-worth, they are called upon to protect the infant heir to the throne.
If you haven't read David Gemmell, I recommend you do so. He writes in a simple, yet effective style which is so addictive. I love reading his novels after something heavy, as it reminds me of how much fun fantasy can be.