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In a terrible storm that doomed his father, the young babe Connavar was born. His father died running from battle, and he vowed never to be a coward, never to betray his friends. He grows in strength and skill, but is also impulsive and quick to anger. But this must be tempered if he can save his people from the terrible armies that one day will attack the tribes of the Rigante.
This is a damn fine fantasy book. Unlike most in the heroic fantasy sub-genre, this book is set at the end of the Bronze age, and the beginning of the Iron Age. There is a lot more realism in this book than in many other books like it, more so than Gemmell's Drenai series. There is no black and white, only differing shades of grey, and the gritty undertones make it all the more enjoyable. The story is well told, following the hero and main character Connavar throughout. While not epic, the story is gripping, and the characters are enjoyable, if not quite having the characterisation of David Eddings or Raymond Feist. In recent years little fantasy has caught my interest, but David Gemmell's certainly got my attention, and I will be reading his other books in due course, including Midnight Falcoln, the second book in the Rigante series and sequel to Sword in the Storm.
This review also posted on librarything.com
One of my favourite things about going on holiday is the fact I get extra time to read. In the evening when there is no internet to distract me, only 5 terrestrial channels and a baby in bed the best thing to do is t curl up on the sofa and read. This years holiday book was one I bought from Amazon with a gift certificate I had. It cost me £6.99 but as I spent over £20 at one go I got the Postage and packaging for free. The front cover of the book looked exciting. David Gemmell written in large white print splattered with gold and a coloured picture of a warrior with a sword and shield and a ghostly bear standing by a large knarled tree. Below the picture is the name of the book in plain white bold print and the background colour to all this is a mix of orange, red and black. David Gemmell is one of my all time favourite Authors. He writes what is classed as Heroic fantasy. Basically all his stories involve war, fighting and battles set in fantasy world where high tech is chain mail and a running stream at the end of your field! There is always plenty of love, sex, heroes and villains. Any book by David Gemmell is the perfect way to escape in to another world for a few hours. The particular book I am reviewing is called ?Sword in the storm? and is book one of the four booked Rigante Series. With David Gemmell I find you do not have to read the series in order because each story stands alone but book one is always a good place to start. Connavar?s Father was killed when he was tiny. He was stabbed in the back. Leading to rumours that he was a coward, when in fact he was anything but. This coloured Conn?s childhood as he was determined to show that he was a real warrior and did not carry his father?s perceived cowardice in his genes. Meri and Connavars stepfather Ruathian have an argument and split. They do not divorce but just live in separate houses. This effects Connavar and his 2 stepbrothe
rs a lot and the teenager Connavar takes a trip into the Seidh woods at night to seek out supernatural help for his parents. What he finds is a Fawn caught in a bramble bush. He rescues this fawn and lets it go, not knowing that the Fawn was in fact a Seidh in disguise. The Wood spirits give to him a present of a dagger which will fit any palm and whose blade will ever be razor sharp. Conn?s life is followed closely by the Fey Seidh, in his quest for glory the Malevolent Morrigu sets a bear upon him. His body is ripped to shreds and only the sacrifice of Vorna?s magical abilities used up in healing his wounds saves him but this trial brings him great glory in his village in his clan and the whole world over. This book follows Conn?s early life and trials. Through it you meet his friends, family, enemies and true love?s. Conn has a destiny and in this book you start to see it unfold. This is a meander through the young hero?s early life. If you enjoy your action fast paced and razor sharp this is not the book for you. This book weaves and winds and creates the tapestry of Conn?s existence stitch by stitch. There are no short cuts and sometimes no pattern but it all comes together beautifully in the last few chapters of the book. I loved this book and found it a compelling read. I love the way David Gemmell spends lots of time introducing his characters. Each one is lovingly revealed. His hero?s and villains are not simply black and white/good and evil but they are complex and real. His hero?s are always tortured souls and Conn is no exception to the rule. The world of the Rigante is slowly revealed to you, their traditions and way of life weaved into the story and by the end of the book I could clearly picture the lands, settlements and people of this proud tribe. Now I am a girl who loves her guts and gore and David Gemmell never fails to produce the most graphic descriptions o
r battle, war and death. I recommend that if you have a weak stomach that you either don?t read this book or you have a sick receptacle to hand as you do! Although his battles are tough and bloodthirsty he writes romances like the best Mills and Boon author imaginable. He writes romance and love and lust with such passion that it often moves me to tears. In this book alone there are many tragic and joyful love stories, each one poignant and incredibly well written. This is not soppy romance, this is not happily ever after stuff but it is real love in real life. David Gemmell explores the human nature thoroughly in this book. Each person has a myriad of experiences and personality flaws or strengths and the way they react and interact is fascinating. Like watching reality TV. There maybe myth and magic, the fickle Seidh Spirits and the chanting druids but the people are real. Connavar and his family and friends could easily be people you know. They are intrinsically human. I think Gemmell is an incredibly talented author to be able to make his characters so very real and believable. David Gemmell is an English Writer, Born in London in 1948. He was expelled from school for organising a gambling syndicate at the age of sixteen He then became a labourer and a nightclub bouncer at night. He started writing in 1984 and has written thirty-Six books up until the present day. All but one being heroic fantasy novels. I am a big Gemmell fan and I really enjoyed this book. I am not sure if it would be the best introductory book to someone who?s not read his works before, one of his faster paced novels like ?Morning Star? would be better I think. This is a wonderful book for those of us who enjoy a good leisurely read. You do not feel hurried or harassed by the plot. The plot wends and winds its way through the descriptive revelation of each character and their lives. It is beautifully detailed and lovingly wri
tten; I definitely feel compelled to read book two as soon as I possibly can!
Sword in the Storm is the first book in the Rigante Series by David Gemmel. I actually hadn't read any of his work before, found my copy in a charity shop and was swayed by the description on the back cover and the price tag of 10p!, but am now completely hooked and will no doubt go out and buy every single book the guy has ever written! This is one of those wonderful books that draws you in from the outset and has you refusing to eat, drink or sleep until you've finished it! It opens with a childs dramatic account of his contact with the famed King 'Demonblade' then plunges into the characters history - rudely spitting you out at some point before the events related at the start, I did say it was book one in the series! Connavar, son of the doomed Varaconn and fair Meria, lives with the stigma surrounding his fathers cowardly death. Alternately portrayed as a hero and villain his character is larger than life and has you despairing at his stupidity and congratulating his cunning with every turning page. His life is one long list of complications; of near death experiences, infidelity, love, betrayal, jealousy, madness and loss. This is by no means a straight forward love story though. Set in a mythical time, that draws much influence from the Celts and Romans, it is crammed full of graphic battle scenes violent deaths and murdered children. Perhaps it is this dramatic contrast between love and hate, peace and war, wisdom and foolishness that make this book so absorbing and moving. I really did feel breathless reading this! If you like works of fantasy then you can't fail to enjoy this! It is beautifully written, engaging, well plotted and crammed with action from the opening paragraph to the concluding sentance. If your taste runs to witches and legends, murder and mayhem then you should find this a thoroughly satisfying read!
As a newcomer to Gemmell, and fantasy in general, I was surprised to find that this book did not follow the formula I expected it would. For a start the plot did not involve heavy amounts of magic or strange happenings that revolved around a character trying to become a God. For a start Gemmell's style was very refreshing and it built up the characters very well, making the reader sympathise with them even when they do things that wouldn't ordinarily endear them to you. The way in which they are built up and so multi-faceted makes them seem very real, and in this I feel that Gemmell does very well. Having said that the battle sequences, especially the one that makes up the climax of the book, can be very trying. One feels that in trying to follow the characters so much Gemmell misses the action happening around. The result is an unsatisfying battle at the end. Personal battles, like duelling or small groups, are dealt with very well however, as are most events that include the central characters. This does manage to make up for the unsatisfying set pieces most of the time, but does fail somewhat at the end. The other problem I found was the way in which male and female interactions were totally glossed over. Whilst Gemmell dealt very well with couples once they were married he seemed to have a tough time describing how they got there. Most of the time these sections were just skipped over. The triumph of his writing style is that the reader doesn't notice this defect until thinking it over after the book. This does have the effect of making this a minor quibble. Even so, this does not detract too much from the plot, which has as many twists and turns as a decent thriller and thus manages to be a page-turner of the best proportions. The prologue sets the story up nicely, which is so often a rarity in some books, and the development really lets you get inside the main characters' heads and care about what happens wit
h them. Even the incidental characters that only pop up to further the plot from a different angle. All in all this a very good book and I would recommend anyone who wants to start reading fantasy to try it.