- 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: 282 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Legend (Drenai Tales, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1994
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“David Gemmell tells a tale of very real adventure, the stuff of true epic fantasy.”—R. A. Salvatore
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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After reading a little about Mr. Gemmell, I understand even more why this book drew me in like it did. His favorites are Louis Lamore, J. J. R. Tolkein, and Stan Lee. I have come to appreciate Lee in the last 20+ years. I have been a fan of Lamore and Tolkein far, far longer. I had thought of them during the reading. Similarities, not duplications. I even pictured how this would look as a movie with the influence of Stan Lee! When I read a brief biography by Mr. Gemmell's publisher and read about his favorites, I laughed out loud! Something I try to avoid when I'm sitting alone. Then again, it does keep people guessing!
Legend is a fantastic tale of an underdog trying to overcome horrible odds (50 to 1). The Drenai are a people long considered superior in their part of the world, but over the years they have grown complacent and lazy. The Nadir, under a strong ruler, have come together after many years of internal toil to challenge the superiority of the Drenai. The only thing standing in the way of the Nadir is a single Drenai fortress, that of Delnoch. Manned with few soldiers and many farmers, Delnoch rests its hope on one man, Druss.
Druss is such an improbable character to be a hero. He is old, his knee is killing him and his shoulder is arthritic. But his legendary status pushes him to muster every bit of strength he has left into training the farmers that man Delnoch and defending it against the Nadir. The question is whether or not the courage he instills in the farmers will be enough.
Rek, a former soldier, doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He is uncertain of his fighting skills and afraid of death, but that changes once he rescues a girl from some bandits. With that one decision, he changes his fate, yet is still uncertain and hesitant in many ways.
Each Legend character questions himself or herself, which allows the reader to appreciate the characters more so for the tasks that loom before them. Who wouldn't want to root for an old man of 60 with a bad knee and a bad shoulder trying to fight against people half his age? I know I did.
Lastly, if not for anything else, read Legend because of the battle sequences. I was completely enveloped by the utter vastness of their scope and range in depicting each aspect of the battle, from the walls of the fortress to the plans for defense. This book is definitely heavy on the sword side, but there are parts of sorcery that make this book even more enjoyable. All in all, Legend by David Gemmell is one that I highly recommend. Everyone enjoy!
Later, Gemmell went on to examine many aspects of men and how they behave when the chips are down. Others of his books are easier to read, like Morningstar or Waylander. But it all begins with Druss the Legend. Having read all of Gemmell's 20+ books this is still seminal in it's statement of what it means to be a man. Gemmell's experience as a 16yo boy, defending a girl picked on by a gang in a subway train, to his years as a nightclub bouncer and then a journalist all honed his skills and experience to convey this powerful story. Later books continue the theme but this is where it begins. Some may read this as a good fantasy, but for some of you this book will strike a deep abiding sense of "rightness" that is courage, selfless giving, honour, gallantry, persistent and so much more, all rolled into one book. Gemmell had said people told him how this book changed their lives and I can believe that. Even if it doesn't for you though, it's still a damn fine read.