Picture of author.

David Gemmell (1948–2006)

Author of Legend

90 Works 27,221 Members 294 Reviews 108 Favorited

About the Author

Disambiguation Notice:

(ger) Pseudonym: Ross Harding

Image credit: from Lifeinlegacy.com


Works by David Gemmell

Legend (1984) 2,509 copies
Waylander (1986) 1,382 copies
The King Beyond the Gate (1985) 1,282 copies
Lord of the Silver Bow (2005) 1,217 copies
Sword in the Storm (1998) 1,100 copies
Quest for Lost Heroes (1990) 1,066 copies
Hero in the Shadows (2000) 939 copies
White Wolf (2003) 904 copies
The Legend of Deathwalker (1996) 884 copies
Midnight Falcon (1999) 872 copies
Troy: Shield of Thunder (2006) 849 copies
Winter Warriors (1997) 834 copies
The Swords of Night and Day (2004) 795 copies
Ravenheart (2001) 777 copies
Wolf in Shadow (1987) 749 copies
Fall of Kings (2007) 740 copies
Stormrider (2002) 729 copies
Dark Moon (1996) 682 copies
Ghost King (1988) — Author — 674 copies
Lion of Macedon (1990) 666 copies
Knights of Dark Renown (1989) 661 copies
Echoes of the Great Song (1997) 621 copies
Last Sword of Power (1988) 613 copies
Morningstar (1992) 598 copies
The Last Guardian (1989) 557 copies
Ironhand's Daughter (1995) 544 copies
Dark Prince (1991) 513 copies
Bloodstone (1994) 482 copies
The Hawk Eternal (1995) 459 copies
The Lion of Macedon (1/4) (1991) 40 copies
The Lion of Macedon (2/4) (1991) 33 copies
The Lion of Macedon (3/4) (1991) 32 copies
The Lion of Macedon (4/4) (2000) 31 copies
Rhyming Rings (2017) 29 copies
White Knight/Black Swan (1993) 24 copies
Legends of the Drenai (1991) 18 copies
The Lion of Macedon (2/3) (2000) 6 copies
The Lion of Macedon (1/3) (2000) 5 copies
The Lion of Macedon (3/3) (2000) 5 copies
Le lion de Macédoine t.2 (2010) 2 copies
Le Masque de la Mort (2019) 1 copy


Ancient Greece (61) David Gemmell (292) Drenai (437) Drenai Series (73) Drenai Tales (83) Druss (62) ebook (146) epic (54) epic fantasy (91) fantasy (4,681) fantasy fiction (86) Fantasy Stories (88) fiction (1,371) Gemmell (278) heroic fantasy (229) Heroic Fantasy Stories (84) historical (105) historical fantasy (63) historical fiction (187) isbn (63) Jon Shannow (59) mythology (56) novel (104) own (79) owned (165) paperback (190) PB (67) read (300) Rigante (133) science fiction (189) series (130) sf (92) sff (177) speculative fiction (69) Stones of Power (76) sword and sorcery (166) to-read (975) Troy (115) unread (151) wishlist (64)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Gemmell, David Andrew
Other names
Harding, Ross
Date of death
Burial location
Udimore, East Sussex, England
London, England, UK
Place of death
Udimore, East Sussex, England, UK
Cause of death
Coronary artery disease
Places of residence
Hastings, Sussex, England, UK
Gemmell, Stella (wife)
Hastings Writers' Group



I obtained this book as it had good reviews, and I am reading quite a few retellings of the Trojan War and Greek mythology in general. Unfortunately I found it a bit disappointing. The characters are for the most part not well delineated. The male heroes are rugged men of action, dark and brooding etc, apart from Hektor who appears at the end of the story and is a giant of a man, unbeatable in battle, and coming across more as a 'hale fellow well-met' type but just as cliched. The only surprise is Priam: much more physically vigorous than usually portrayed and a sexual predator, who not only forces himself on slaves but insists on a kind of droit du seigneur with the wives of his sons. He also enjoys humiliating people in other ways, especially family members, and has various members of his family executed.

The character I liked best was Odysseus who is interestingly portrayed as a larger than life raconteur - the various iconic stories of the Odyssey are tall tales he invented - although with a lethal edge underneath the bonhomie. I also liked Andromache, who is a crack shot with the more powerful Phyrgian bow, having spent a few years as a priestess of Thera before her sister died, and who is sent to Troy to marry Hektor in her place. She is the only one with the guts to stand up to Priam. But both characters play a relatively minor part.

The story veers around a lot, taking up some characters which the reader might be justified in thinking would be a main part of the story and then dropping them. For example, it starts with Gershom, shipwrecked at sea, but although his real identity is later revealed, he remains a bit part in the story so it's an odd choice to spend so much time in his viewpoint early on. Another character is deftly sketched but is soon horribly killed off, and it seems was only there to act as a catalyst for Helikaon, the main male character, to go off the rails and commit an atrocity to avenge him. Similarly, a bedfellow of Helikaon (for some reason the alternative name for Aeneas) appears early on in the book but is then dropped because she lives in Kypros which is not the setting for the rest of the novel.

The author developed the Mediterranean culture quite well, though with the focus always on the warlike aspects. I wasn't convinced by the side references to Ancient Egypt though: if the version of Troy is the one that fell in 1300 BC (I consulted the Wikipedia article after finishing the novel), since the later ones showed gradual decline and no indication of a prestigious ruling class etc, the Prince Rameses mentioned must be Rameses II otherwise known as Rameses the Great. Despite the references to killing slaves to bury them with Egyptian Kings, that practice had ceased centuries before, and the workmen who built the royal tombs were respected craftspeople who had their own village which has been excavated. Similarly, Ancient Egypt granted more legal and social freedoms to women than most other Middle Eastern countries of the period so I found the references in Gershom's backstory to be anachronistic.

The title is a bit odd: I think it stems from a child mistaking Helikaon for Apollo early on. At some point, he is called that but I can't remember if he ever fires a bow and the title almost fits Andromache, who does something heroic using her bow, much better.

For me this was a slow read: I would read a chapter then set it aside to read something else. It took me a lot longer to get through than any other book during the period and left me with no desire to read the rest of the trilogy. So for all these reasons, for me this was only an OK 2 stars.
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kitsune_reader | 26 other reviews | Nov 23, 2023 |
DNF at like 72%

Fun world, interesting magic, but a super plain plot.

Also the book is just overtly sexiest. I can’t comprehend someone thinking that every females character arc ending in boosting up the main character at their own detriment was good writing…
CasualShino | 10 other reviews | Jun 2, 2023 |
I kept hearing how good and seminal this book was, but also kept putting it aside in my Tbr list because i feared it would feel dated. And it's true. It is a great book and it does feel really dated.
milosdumbraci | 45 other reviews | May 5, 2023 |
Tells of the political maneuvering and warfare tactics of ancient Greek, though the eyes of one of its finest generals. The first half of the book builds the protagonist, then jumps ahead to introduce a second protagonist in the latter half. Both halves together really just set the stage for the second book in the series "Dark Prince". The adventures and relationships individually are fine, and the material is well researched, but the whole tome reads more as positioning for things to come.
CapusCorvax | 8 other reviews | Apr 17, 2023 |



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