Wednesday 28 July 2010

Four years on...

...and David Gemmell is still hugely missed by thousands of fans around the world.

Gemmell passed away on 28 July 2006. I still remember the moment I found out, sitting at my desk at work, totally shocked. It was horrible. Still is. The fact I never got to meet him - my favourite author - is still a source of much sadness. That he did a signing in Manchester (which I was unaware of) in the months before his death only makes it harder to take - had I known, I would certainly have gone. Talk about missed opportunities. 

I've waxed lyrical about Gemmell so many times, and don't see the point in doing the same again. It will suffice to say that his books are wonderful, and never fail to raise my spirits. In fact, I just finished reading Winter Warriors for the 4th time, and it was just as good as it was the first time. Marvellous book. Look out for a post about it in the near future.

I'm not the only blogger that loves Gemmell's work - the crew over at FBC love his books as well, and have got a wonderful exclusive: a previously-unpublished excerpt that can be read as a prelude to The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend. Check it out.

I'll leave you with a quote from the man himself:
"I tend to concentrate on courage, loyalty, love and redemption. I believe in these things. If there’s anything I’d like my books to achieve, it would be to increase the desire of people to do good.”
Amen to that.  


Anonymous said...

Perhaps - though it must sadly wait mouldering at the back of a sizable queue of books I haven't read, among them, Vance's Dying Earth, Harrison's Viriconium, Mieville's Bas-Lag novels, and others which I've never managed to pick up in my exploration of the genre but which come highly recommended - I'll try re-reading Gemmell. Someday.

As it is, I've read only two of his books, Legend and Winter Warriors - both pushed on me by a friend - some ten years or more ago. They weren't the books for me, at least at the time. I read them, shrugged, and put them down never to return. Perhaps I missed something, as Gemmell seems hugely popular. He even has an award these days, I see, named after him. Still, he's just one of those writers I've never been drawn too - after sampling him casually, years ago. I wasn't even aware he was dead.

Any recommendations? Are there better ones to start with, or does it much matter where I dip my oar in should the opportunity come along?

Stephen Aryan said...

He's still my favourite author of all time. I have all of his books now I believe, but have two I've not read yet and am saving them, because once I do that's it, there's no more. I missed seeing him on several occasions but then by chance saw he was doing a signing in Leeds and raced along after work one night and met him. Afterwards whilst scoffing down a late dinner, the woman in the bakery asked me if I was alright because my hands were shaking. They say you should never meet your heroes because they usually disappoint you. Not so with Gemmell. He was a big, funny, charismatic man and I a very glad I got to meet him.

Definitely check out his books. He's written all sorts, not just epic fantasy. Fancy some futuristic sci fi western long before Firefly and Serenity? Try his Shannow/Stones of Power books.

Iain said...

We've talked about this before James.

I still haven't touched the final two parts of the Troy trilogy as I don't want unread David Gemmell books in my collection. Every now and again I get a hankering to read them but I resist.

Btw, you should check out Justin Cronin's The Passage. For once, we have a book that really does live up to the hype. Niall's review over at Speculative Scotsman puts across his feeling for the book far better than I ever could.

James said...

Anon - I'd certainly recommend giving Gemmell another go. As to where to start, most of his novels more or less stand alone so it doesn't really matter. Legend, Waylander, White Wolf are probably the best entry points into the Drenai sequence. You could try the Rigante series, which is basically made up of two duologies, one starting with Sword in the Storm, the other with Ravenheart. Or you could try one of his individual titles - Knights of Dark Reknown is very good. Or even his Troy saga, which starts with Lord of the Silver Bow.

Stephen - it's funny how so many people are saving Gemmell books that they haven't read! I'm doing the same - I'm so reluctant to read ones I haven't read yet, as I know there's going to no new ones once I'm done.

Great that you got to meet him. I've heard many people say the same thing; that in person he was just as you'd hoped he would be.

Iain - we have indeed. And yes, I intend to read The Passage at some point.

Jo said...

I went to that book signing in Manchester (if it was the one for Swords of Night and Day, anyway) and it was great - he was hugely entertaining, very warm and clearly thrilled to be there. He told some excellent stories about his life and his experiences as a writer - especially how he wrote Legend as a response to his own illness, and how the siege is a metaphor for fighting cancer.

He's not my favourite author, but I have a lot of affection for his books. Hearing of his death was a real blow.

ediFanoB said...

Just in case you missed this post over at Fantasy Book Critic:

**Exclusive** A David Gemmell Short Story: The Birth of a Legend

James said...

Jo - thanks for sharing that, I'm glad the signing was good. Wish I'd been there.

Jebus said...

For anyone wanting to try him out, I'd suggest "Lion of Macedon" and "Dark Prince", LoM is my favourite of his. That being said, I've only read Legend (didn't like it), the above, the Rigante series and Echoes of the Great Song.

Also, and I like saying this every time I possibly can, I have some great memories of getting pissed with David & Terry Pratchett in 1995 in Sydney, that was fun.

Chilischote said...

Ah, I think, this is the right place to thank you for your execellent comments of Old MacGemmell. I have read all your reviews with great pleasure and found it always fascinating how the impressions over a book are differing. Jep, the old guy has his way. Quite interesting that in Germany he is quite full unknown whereas in GB he was an absolute bestseller author. Mmh.