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Waylander Paperback – Jul 31 2012
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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
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
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 --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
In search myself of creative inspiration as a screenwriter, I pulled several old favorites from my shelves. It must have been the hand of fate (which looked suspiciously similar to my own manipulative member) that added "Waylander" to the stack. A sufficient interval had passed since my last reading for the force of this excellent work to once again make an impact.
I remember clearly the first time I had the good fortune to experience this particular story, because I immediately followed up by journeying to several bookshops seeking other Gemmell novels. Alas, at that time, I quested in vain.
Since then the Internet has brought mankind out of the dark ages of information (hallelujah!) Thus I came here to Amazon, where fortune smiled and my search rewarded by the discovery of a large number of other Gemmell works.
I shall look forward to returning at last to Gemmell's Realm.
Most recent customer reviews
David Gemmel has been my favourite author since the first time I picked up his books. Having not read the earlier ones, I've come back to them and I'm not disappointed. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Shonna White
Gemmell draws you into a world filled with all the depravity and evil of mankind, but it is accented with the virtue of redemption, honor and courage.Published 2 months ago by Lloyd Swanson
David Gemmell stories are AWESOME!!!
Waylander is AWESOME!!!
This needs to be a movie or TV series. Read more
This novel was teriffic. David Gemmell could stand a chance to win fantasy's best writer award! Keeping in his tradition of heroic charicters and dark deeds this book kept me on... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2004 by Phillip
Reading this book is like watching a brilliant movie; you don't have to concentrate at all reading it. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2001 by Andreas Skylstad
Waylander is the most unlikeable main character. He has little to no redeeming characteristics, yet he becomes the hope of a nation. He was the exectutioner, then the saint. Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2001 by Jarrett Bray
If you like the other Drenai books then you will love Waylander! This story is set before "Legend", and can either be read before or after. Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2001 by Paul Greatrix