As part of my author guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot.
I am very excited and
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Now without further adieu here is Suzanne’s awesome guest blog.
David Gemmell – the Legend of Fantasy
As I’ve just published my second fantasy novel, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the biggest influence on my writing to date – the late, great David Gemmell.
I decided not to write a long, in-depth study of his work, rather I wanted to use this opportunity to share his legend with the world. Plus it’s the perfect excuse to fangirl over my favourite author.
I read my first David Gemmell book when I was 17 and unsure what direction my own writing would take. His books were a massive inspiration.
Sadly, David Gemmell died in 2006 having amassed an impressive catalogue of over 30 fantasy novels. To this day, he remains my favourite author and if ever I feel the need for a fast-paced, emotional, heroic tale, I know any one of his books will fulfil that desire.
I own all his books and have read each one at least twice, though some are more harrowing to re-read than others. You know what the characters are about to face, the loved ones they are about to lose, the mistakes they are about to make (I’m thinking of Connavar from The Sword in the Storm here) and it’s almost too much to relive those moments.
- For me his biggest draw is his characters. They come alive in your mind and stay with you long after you’ve finished their story. Even when some of them do terrible things, you still care for them and relate to their choices.
- All his stories use his own unique blend of history, legend and fantasy.
- His storytelling skills are faultless – you become completely absorbed in these worlds and root for the characters from page 1.
What David Gemmell has taught me
- Books are all about characters. Each person in the book has to mean something to the reader, even if they only appear for a page or two.
- The enemy is never as evil as you first suspect – when you read deeper, you can relate to them as much as the heroes of the story.
- Duty and honour must often come before friendship.
- The hero can be, and usually is, flawed, and they doesn’t always act selflessly.
Why would you want to read him?
His books are:
- Emotional and heart-wrenching
- Filled with heroes – both flawed and unexpected
- He draws on our history
- He re-writes legends
- He creates epic stories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Body of work
Troy books (Trilogy) (Book 3 – Fall of Kings was finished by his wife, Stella Gemmell after he passed away)
Greek setting, re-telling the Troy legend.
For me the great heroes in these books are Helikaon, Hektor and Argurios, but I also love Odysseus and Andromache. I’m on my third re-read of this trilogy and it’s still just as good.
The Drenai series (11 books) starting with Legend and ending with The Swords of Night and Day
My favourite heroes from this series are Druss, Waylander and Skilganon. The list could go on and on, but I decided to pick the characters that really stay with me years after reading the stories.
Jon Shannow (3 books)
I was concerned about the huge break away from the usual sword wielding fantasy setting, when Gemmell wrote this gun filled dystopian series. I need not have worried. It’s Gemmell after all, and the series is brilliant.
The Stones of Power (4 books)
The first two books – Ghost King and Last Sword of Power are based in the Dark Ages of Roman Britain. The later books – The Lion of Macedon and Dark Prince have a Greek setting. They are linked through the Stones of Power, but it’s been so long since I read them that I can’t remember more than that. Parmenion from Lion of Macedon is still one of my favourite ever characters though.
The Hawk Queen (duology)
Set in the Highlands – Sigarni is the heroine of these two books. I re-read them recently and instantly remembered why Gemmell is the master of heroic fantasy.
The Rigante (4 books spanning centuries)
These books start with a Celtic background. My favourite characters are Connavar – Sword in the Storm, Bane the bastard – Midnight Falcon, Jaim – Ravenheart.
Connavar is a hard character to love because he often acts selfishly and rash, but you still care about him and that’s what makes Gemmell’s writing so unbelievably good!
Knights of Dark Renown
Echoes of the Great Song
It’s impossible to choose a favourite Gemmell book or even a favourite series, every book is the best when I read it.
For those of you unsure about trying Gemmell, I’d say pick a time in history that appeals to you and go for it. I recommend every single one of his books, and I’m sure you will love his writing as much as I do.
Do you have a favourite David Gemmell book, or a character that stays with you? Or have I inspired you to try one of his books?
My final thought
Everyone should read David Gemmell; don’t let his legend die.
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
Social Media links
The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?
Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.
Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.
On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.
Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?
Available at Amazon The Lost Sentinel