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Following Sword in the Storm, Midnight Falcon is David Gemmell's second novel in the Rigante sequence. Sufficient information is provided to enjoy this volume alone, though the series will be more accessible if read in order. Seventeen-year- old Bane, illegitimate son of King Connovar, comes to the city of Stone, a place of gladiatorial combat, corruption and religious terror. Embittered by his father's refusal to acknowledge him, Bane's wildness leads to bloodshed, before friendship and betrayal force him to accept the complexities of power and responsibility. The novel builds to an epic climax, as Bane must accept who he is in order to lead his people in a desperate battle for their very survival. David Gemmell has created a detailed and realistic world in which the action is vividly described and often thrilling. Yet there is a melancholy tone, for the author is as concerned with the consequences of war and the nature of men of violence, as with conflict itself. There is a sense of the tragedy of war, lending the sad grandeur of history to a strongly characterised and intelligent adventure. It is something the series has in common with Stephen King's haunting fantasy western epic The Dark Tower. David Gemmell is Britain's best selling author of Heroic Fantasy. He has written 23 previous books, finding immediate success in 1984 with the highly influential and acclaimed Legend.