LEGEND by David Gemmell

I have read this book many times before, of course, but I picked it up again for something to read on the train trip up to Glasgow for the latest meeting of the Glasgow SF Writer’s Circle.  It says something for Gemmell that I finished it on the way back.  And even though I remembered much of the plot, I still found myself agonising over Rek and Virae’s apparently doomed love affair, Druss’s bull-headed determination to carry the whole of the defending army; I still marvelled at the skills of the Thirty, and gloated when Nosta Khan lost his head.  Legend is nothing more than escapist fantasy fiction, with its clipped prose and violent action.  But Gemmell had a secret which he exploited in all his books: no-one is completely good or completely evil.  This is splendidly demonstrated in Legend, when the defending army saunter out to have a last meal with the attacking army, all of them getting drunk together as they say final farewells to Druss – the legend.  After the meal, the defending army returns behind its walls, and battle resumes on the next day.
   If you haven’t read it, you’ve missed a great book.  And I recommend many of his other books too, especially Lion of Macedon.
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