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Legend by David Gemmell
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,595334,560 (4.01)55
  1. 30
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (infiniteletters)
  2. 00
    Sword in the Storm by David Gemmell (Kaczencja)
  3. 00
    Vengeance by Fabrice Colin (corporate_clone)
    corporate_clone: Considérée comme une oeuvre mineure de Colin, Vengeance est pourtant un roman remarquable pour amateurs d'heroic fantasy brutale et masculine. Un très bon choix pour les fans de l'univers de Drenai.

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» See also 55 mentions

English (28)  French (5)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
This is my first David Gemmell book and I confess that I am not a great fan of Fantasy books. On starting to read this book I almost put it down. It seemed a bit juvenile for me at first and the language was pretty modern with little or no attempt to set the language in the past... for me that is a bit of a turn-off.

So I gave it the standard 100 page read before I came to a conclusion and slowly I found I liked the characters and their development. The story line was pretty good too, the battles well described. I liked the section on training and preparations for the seige battles. It was also a bit unpredictable in places.

I think this is Gemmell's first book. I will read more and see if his writing improves with time. ( )
  Lynxear | Aug 19, 2015 |
Maybe if I didn't have so many other books to read, I'd settle down with this as it seems a generic fantasy tale about men and their staffs. Er, penises. Er, swords. But I'm sure there must be better stories told, with better characters and better writing. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Really delightful discovery. This is rattling good military fiction wrapped up in mythical clothing. A page turner with lots of great character building, but also loads of insight and wisdom. ( )
  Matt_B | Mar 19, 2015 |
Firstly, to be clear, Legend isn’t the finest set of words ever committed to paper. In some ways David Gemmell’s writing is rather unsophisticated and technically flawed (in some places its actually rather raw) but this doesn’t matter. Taken as a whole Legend is perhaps it’s one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. Why? Well, a number of reasons:

1. The depth of characterization surprised me. Gemmell’s writing style is crisp and succinct and he retains an ability to get you to really care about the characters. For example, even the antagonist Ulric, leader of the Nadir, is presented as a multidimensional person, to the point where you actually feel he is a reasonable and rounded person: not just a cackling villain who rubs his hands together and then twirls his moustache.

2. Druss the greatest hero of the Drenai. At the start of the book it is clear that Druss is in his sixties and much weaker than his prime but still a formidable warrior and an inspirational leader to the Drenai. His death is foretold; he is to die defending his people one last time at Delnoch or he has the option to prolong his life by lapsing slowly into senility. He chooses the former. This immediately draws you to this man and gives you an insight why he is called Legend.

3. Unlike most novels I’ve read, the premise here is the apparently a useless and futile quest. The efforts of the defenders are pitiful against the unstoppable and infinite surge of the invaders. The characters are going to fight and almost certainly die; the odds they face are too overwhelming to overcome and yet they choose to fight anyway. Isn’t this what makes true heroes? Living and dying for a cause you believe in, even though the outcome may be hopeless for you personally? This raises the question in the readers mind: just how do I want to be remembered and am I leading a worthy life?

4. The parts of the book where Druss trains and leads the men provides an inspiring analysis on what I means to be a man. Several times the point of view switches. The worries, concerns and anxieties are articulated but these are offset by the individual and collective acts of integrity, respect and dignity.

5. Gemmell doesn’t use the usual fantastic plot devices: magic, dragons, etc, which is refreshing. He does however leave the extremely well written and exciting battle /fight scenes (of which there are many) intact.

So in summary, it’s not how Gemmell writes that’s ultimately important it's what he writes. Highly recommended, even if you’re first choice of book isn’t heroic fantasy.

Quotes from the Book
Here are list of some of the quotes I liked from Legend:

By nature of definition only the coward is capable of the highest heroism.
Ch. 4

Live or die, a man and a woman need love. There is a need in the race. We need to share. To belong. Perhaps you will die before the year is out. But remember this: to have may be taken from you, to have had never. it is far better to have tasted love before dying than to die alone.
Ch. 6

[A]ll men die. ... A man needs many things in his life to make it bearable. A good woman. Sons and daughters. Comradeship. Warmth. Food and shelter. but above all these things, he needs to be able to know that he is a man. And what is a man? He is someone who rises when life has knocked him down. Someone who raises his fist to heaven when a storm has ruined his crop — and then plants again. And again. A man remains unbroken by the savage twists of fate. That man may never win. But when he sees himself reflected, he can be proud of what he sees. For low he may be in the scheme of things: peasant, serf, or dispossessed. But he is unconquerable. And what is death? an end to trouble. An end to strife and fear. ... Bear this in mind when you decide your future.
Ch. 7

We are not made for life at all, old horse. It is made for us. We live it. We leave it.
Ch. 9

No one can take away the freedom of a man's soul.
Ch. 9

Liberty is only valued when it is threatened, therefore it is the threat that highlights the value. We should be grateful to the Nadir, since they heighten the value of our liberty.
Ch. 9

A man must know his limitations.
Ch. 10

None of us can choose the manner of our passing.
Ch. 10

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails at something.
Ch. 10

This world has few redeeming features, and one is the capacity for people to love one another with great, enduring passion.
Ch. 12

You may think life is sweet now, but when death is a heartbeat away then life becomes unbearably desirable. And when you survive, everything you do will be enhanced and filled with greater joy: the sunlight, the breeze, a good wine, a woman's lips, a child's laughter.
Ch. 18

Man alone, it seems, lives all his life in the knowledge of death. And yet there is more to life than merely waiting for death. For life to have meaning, there must be a purpose. A man must pass something on — otherwise he is useless.
Ch. 29 ( )
2 vote Rob.Thompson | Nov 22, 2014 |
This book is brilliant. It is one of my top 5 fantasy books.

I was introduced to it when my brothers best friend, a fabulous story teller, retold the story to me on a long car ride. He got me hooked.

I think listening to a 16yo soon-to-join-the-army bloke tell the story showed me what it is about.

It is about the fantasy of being that Druss. Reading the book is about getting into a teenage boys head space. To be that strong and calm and down right legendary. To be that awesome. This book is about the desire to be the hero, this hero.

This was one of my first Gemmell books. It has a lot of typical elements, the most annoying is his habit of writing himself into an impossible situation and using something ridiculously concocted to fix everything and create a happy ending. I recall one of his books was an epic battle between men and immortals with the men heroically all about to die... When the immortals all decided to become friends again, and that was it all over. Lol... It is so habitually it kind of becomes an enjoyable aspect of reading Gemmell. ( )
  alsocass | Oct 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Gemmellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Máyer Júliasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picacio, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated with love to three very special people. My father, Bill Woodford, without whom Druss the Legend would never have stood on the wall of Dros Delnoch. My mother, Olive, who instilled in me a love of stories in which heroes never lied, evil rarely triumphed, and love was always true.

And my wife, Valerie, who showed me that life can be like stories.
First words
The Drenai herald waited nervously outside the great doors of the throne room, flanked by two Nadir guards who stared ahead, slanted eyes fixed on the bronze eagle emblazoned on the dark wood.
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Book was published as "Legend" and as "Against the Horde" - please don't separate
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345379063, Mass Market Paperback)

Druss, Captain of the Axe, was the stuff of legends. But even as the stories grew in the telling, Druss himself grew older. He turned his back on his own legend and retreated to a mountain lair to await his old enemy, death. Meanwhile, barbarian hordes were on the march. Nothing could stand in their way. Druss reluctantly agreed to come out of retirement. But could even Druss live up to his own legends?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Druss, an old man, and Rek, a top swordsman, band together with the citizens of Dros Delnoch to defend the city against the thousands of invaders of Nadir

» see all 3 descriptions

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