Hello! As a person who talks about books a lot I tend to focus on the newer books that are coming out. However, there is a wealth of books that have been released in the past so I am trying to fit in some older fantasy, sci fi and horror over the next year. 

Some of these books may be new to me and some may be re - reads of books that I haven’t read for years.

To start, I am going to start with a classic of heroic fantasy. Yes, it’s Legend by David Gemmell.

In my teens I started off reading horror. I was well aware of fantasy and had attempted to read The Lord of the Rings many times, but I have to admit that as a younger reader I found it to be quite intimidating, both the size and the prose inside. 

This led me to discover other fantasy authors such as David Eddings (which I loved!) and then one day I went to the local library and picked up Legend. 

After reading this book I was hooked in the genre, and I would very definitely say that Legend (along with The Belgariad) was my gateway into fantasy and what it can do as a genre.


The book starts with Rek who is a cop and a dandy. We learn very quickly that he is an ex soldier, but that he has a strong streak of preservation and that whilst he was well liked as an officer, he retired his commission from the army. 

As he leaves his favourite inn to go on some kind of journey he comes across a young woman,  Virae, who is being attacked by a local band of brigands. Rek intervenes and aids the young woman.  

Soon a storm hits and they need to find shelter. Virae suffers from hypothermia as a snow storm hits and she nearly dies. Rek finds a travellers cabin, manages to revive the girl and finds out that Virae is the daughter of the earl of Dros Delnoch. A fortress in the mountains. They have found out information that the Nadir a northern people that resemble the Mongolian Horde have been united under a new leader, the enigmatic Ulric who has got it in his mind that he is going to expand his empire and march on the Drenai. 

Virae is attempting to get more troops to attempt to stop the horse, which they have learnt outnumbers the defenders of Dros Delnoch fifty to one.

Meanwhile, the earl of Dros Delnoch has sent a message to the legendary warrior Druss, who fifteen years ago managed to hold off thousands of Sathuli warriors by himself and his axe, Snaga.


It’s been many years since I read Legend last. I think it must have been sometime in the nineties. I originally read it when it first came out, and read it again on several occasions, but not in *mumble mumble* years.

It’s always with a bit of trepidation that I go back and read books that I read years ago. You always have that fear that it will either not be as good as what you thought, or that it hasn’t aged well or there’s something in there that is terrible. 

However, I was pleasantly surprised that upon reading it my fears were allayed and in fact I enjoyed this immensely.

Gemmell himself was a massive influence on British fantasy, with an award set up after his death in 2009, which ran until 2018 and was won by such notables as John Gwynne,  Brian McClellan, Brandon Sanderson and Ronin Hobb to name a few. 

Anyway, back to the book!

Legend was Gemmell’s first book and it was praised for how it showed its heroes as fallible humans despite the fact that they were heroes who faced insurmountable odds.

Druss himself is a wonderful character. An old warhorse, who despite his age, aches and pains takes up the call to arms to aid what he knows is a lost cause. 

However, it’s not just the character of Druss that is good. Somehow Gemmell even manages to make the side characters interesting and gives them their own mini arcs within the story. 

The book itself is a standalone, but then had other books written after it to expand the series, and with that Gemmell does not really expound the story with lore and info dumping. Instead he just uses things and expands later. For instance there are a band of warrior knights called The Thirty (for obvious reasons) who are a group of knights that have magical powers. Their main aim is to take up lost causes and fight in their side. Gemmell never really explains them, they are just there, simple! 

The prose itself is clipped and to the point and doesn’t muck about with exposition. There is hardly any build up to the plot and you are thrown straight in. 

One of the things that can sometimes get in my nerves with fantasy fiction is dialogue. I sometimes get annoyed when quasi medieval language is used in dialogue, and I think that this may be because of this book. Gemmell’s dialogue is still quite modern and he doesn’t have his characters using flowery, purple language, which is something that I prefer and I think that due to this book being one of formative reads it coloured my perspectives.

The book itself is fast paced and it’s a very easy read.

Now don’t get me wrong. The book is not perfect and there are things that may be of its time. However, on the whole I enjoyed this book as much as I did when I read it  all those moons ago. 


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