This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Series: Drenai Saga #3
Author: David Gemmel
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
The Drenai Empire, forged by an Iron King, is now under the hand of his son. Said son is soft and would rather play at court than make the hard decisions that a King must. The Vagraim have invaded though, just after the King disbanded the Drenai army. The Vagraim hire an assassin who kills the king thus depriving the country of one leader to rally around.
The assassin, Waylander, goes to collect his money but is double crossed. In retaliation he kills the son of the Vagraim’s most important general. The Vagraim General, Kaem, sends the dark brotherhood after Waylander. At the same time various Drenai forces are after Waylander as well once Kaem releases the fact that Waylander assassinated the king.
Waylander rescues a priest and then a young woman and several children. He is also sent on a mission to find the Armor of Bronze to give to one of the Drenai generals so that said General will become a rallying point. The priest becomes the First of the 30 and Waylander finds the armor. He gets it into the hands of the young woman he rescued and she gets it to the General.
The Vagraim are shattered and Waylander fades into obscurity.
This takes place before Legend and is how the Duke of Brass came into being (the Duke of Brass being the General that the armor was delivered to).
Waylander was supposed to be this soulless mercenary but right off the bat he doesn’t act like and he and everyone who knows him comments on it. In fact, this book is filled with people suddenly not acting like themselves. There is a lot of pseudo-philosophy talk about the Source and Gemmell even goes so far as to introduce an agent of Chaos that goes by the name Son of the Morning Star, the Arch Deceiver. But all the talk boils down to “I’m the center of the Universe and I have to decide what is right and what is wrong”. If you’ve never thought about some of the issues raised, then this might appear to be brilliant stuff but once you’ve done a bit of research into the real philosophy you’ll realize how shallow this actually is.
Gemmell definitely has a thing for writing about sieges and multi-walled cities. That idea played a big part here as it has in the previous 2 books.
It has been cemented in my brain now that I would have liked this a lot more 10-15 years ago, even 25. But the time for this series and this author has pretty much passed for me. I’ve read enough fantasy that was almost exactly like this that I don’t need to read more like this. I “can” read more like this, but there is no need.
I’m going to read the next book and if my feelings are exactly the same as this I’ll probably be done with Gemmell. Not bad, just no longer good enough for me.