Newest Review: ... Ebay and the Amazon marketplace at just 99p as well. So what do you get for your money? Well you get one of the best examples of heroic... more
Spooky yet Satisfying!
Ghost King - David Gemmell
Member Name: English Lady
Ghost King - David Gemmell
Date: 31/10/04, updated on 18/11/04 (342 review reads)
Advantages: believeable characters, interesting plot, well written
Disadvantages: Not a single one!
This being Halloween it seems appropriate to be writing a review about a book called The Ghost King. Also if you know anything about David Gemmell as a writer you will know he specialises in blood thirsty battle and monsters and ghouls and magic from spiritual plains. Ideal for such a spooky time of year then!
Now my copy of this book is the 1988 vintage (pictured above)but there is not much sense in me describing itís cover to you. The latest edition of this book is mostly a golden colour with a beautiful sun rising over a mountain range. In front of this 3 people are stood on a hill wearing tunics and brandishing swords and bows and arrows. Above this in big dark golden Letters is the Authors name, the title appears in smaller type at the bottom. It breaks away from the typical dark cover that you will find on many Heroic fantasy books and would really draw your eye to it if it were resting with other books on a shop shelf. The illustration is beautiful and very eye catching.
I paid a measly 20p for mine from a church fair and I can safely say I got a great bargain. Full price the paperback will set you back £6.99 in the shops and £4.89 on Amazon. There are second hand copies on both Ebay and the Amazon marketplace at just 99p as well.
So what do you get for your money? Well you get one of the best examples of heroic fiction by the leading author in the genre in the world.
Thuro is the Kingís son. He has a strong mind but is weak in body and as such is a bit of a disappointment to his warrior father. During a state visit to Eboracum Thuroís father is set upon and killed by soldiers of their host Eldred , the Lord of the Britons and with now very obvious sights on the British Throne.
Finding himself lost from his fathers hunting party Thuro is saved from certain death when Laitha finds him and takes him to the house of her Guardian Culain. Thuro learns many lessons at the hand of this man, an ex-immortal who became sick of messing in the lives of men and decided to live his life out as one of them instead. Culain Shows Thuro a vision of what happened at the scene of his fathers death. He died valiantly, killing half a dozen of Eldaredís men before throwing the great Sword of power into the lake where a ghostly hand reached up and dragged it under the surface of the lake.
Civil unrest is rife in the land and Eldared has more than just flesh and blood warriors to do his work. He has an immortal as an ally who can conjure monsters from the mist, horrific Atolls (massive wolf like monsters) and Soul stealers (shadows who can immobilise a human just by the slightest touch.
Thuro as the heir is responsible for putting this to rights. With Culain and Laitha and the help of a hunter cripple named Prasamaccus Thuro ventures into the worlds of Mist to find the lady in the lake and the sword of power. The sword his father drew from a stone decades before declaring himself the true king.
This is a fascinating read. You empathise with Thuro from the start. He is a bright lad, witty and likeable but fate has made him the heir to throne of a country torn by civil war and he is by no stretch of the imagination a warrior like his father.
Each character is crafted with loving attention as you would expect from Gemmell. The story moves along at a good pace, keeping you interested and ever craving to read the next page to see what surprise waits around the corner.
I should warn those of you with a weak stomach that this plot comes close to being that of a horror at times. The monsters and spirits of the Mists are truly frightening and I recommend not reading this book before bedtime!
As always this is not just a story of monsters and battles and heroic daring deeds. It is a book about people and relationships. It is about overcoming disability and ones own mental blocks and self image. It is about friendship, love, trust and courage.
Some of the more eagle eyed of you will have noticed some similarities in the plot of the ghost King to a certain very famous legend. That of the King Arthur. This is Gemmellís take on the Arthurian legend and very much focuses on what happened after Arthurís death.
It is pure fantastical magic. In my mind Gemmell outstrips Tolkien, but I would at least put him in the same league as the author of one of the most classic fantasy books of all time, The Hobbit. To compare him to Authors of this time his style is very similar to the character intensive JV Jones but not as rambling as the Wheel of Time Author Robert Jordan. I honestly do not think there is another Heroic Fantasy Author out there in the same league as this guy. He is infinitely readable and constantly comes up with a thoroughly thrilling read.
If you enjoy Fantasy or horror books then I definitely recommend you give this book a try, it is well worth the read and I cannot fault it in anyway. It is Heroic Fantasy at its very best.
ISBN: 1857236424 (paperback)