Fine heroic fantasy.
David Gemmell’s Knights of Dark Renown is an addition to the author’s Drenai series but is a stand alone novel in its own right. If you have not read any other books in the series, there is not need to worry as this is not necessary to fully enjoy this title. Gemmell is back on excellent form and this is a tale of heroic fantasy, magic and honour.
The story centres on a young boy called Lug and the once-knight called Manannan. Lug is coming of age and this will begin a life as a slave although he possesses great magical talent. Manannan, once a legendary Knight of the Gabala until he refused to travel through a demon-haunted gateway to another world and is now fighting to once again regain his honour.
Gemmell has once again written a page-turner and the main characters quickly take form to make you care about their destinies. The man that links both Lug and Manannan is Ruad Ro-fhessa, once called Ollathair, the legendary armourer of the Knights of the Gabala. He teaches the young Lug skills in building magical birds, made of gold and bronze that can fly with a simple spoken command. He was also once Manannan‘s armourer and cast a curse upon him when he failed to entered the gateway. Manannan can no longer remove his silver helm.
“Lug nicked the skin at the base of his right palm and held his hand over the bird’s metallic head. A single drop of blood splashed on the beak.
‘Now the wings,’ Ruad ordered. ‘Swiftly now.’ Lug followed the instructions, then stepped back. ‘Press your finger over the cut and stop the bleeding.’ Lug did so, but his blue eyes were fixed on the bird.
At first there was no movement, but then the golden head jerked, the plate rings grinding together. Slowly the wings spread and the hawk rose from the bench, soaring through the open window in search of the sky.”
Knights Of Dark Renown
As the story progresses more characters are introduced and their fates intertwine. There are chapters of bravery and stupidity, hate and love. Manannan must travel through the demon-haunted gate that he once fled from in order to rescue his fellow Knights and friends who have been lost for the past six years. At the same time an army is forming in the Forests of the Ocean that may be able to rise and fight of the oppression of the Duke and the mad King. This will need their own knights wo fight the evil that threatens them.
"Groundsel? You think Groundsel would become a Knight of the Gabala?
He can be the first, Nuada. The first of your Knights of Dark Renown."
Knight Of Dark Renown
One of Gemmell’s strong points is having his heroic characters travel into a version of hell or netherworld. It is here that he is able to add a certain horror / dark fantasy element to the story. He does this extremely well and this is one of his strengths which he utilises fully within this book.
Nearing the end, we are once again faced with a small army facing seemingly insurmountable odds and are left to see who will prevail and who live and die. If you have read Gemmell before then the style of this book will be of no surprise to you and he does follow a trusted formula that works extremely well. The characters are interesting and well formed and the story is another fine example of heroic fantasy. This is a worthy addition to the Drenai series and a must for all Gemmell fans.
Review by Floresiensis
2 positive reader review(s) for Knights of Dark Renown
Darryl from New Zealand
One of Gemmells best and that is saying something. A must read. I especially enjoyed all the philosophy behind how magic works. Amazing intricacy and character depth. Trust me, read this book.
Dominic from Bournemouth
This book is a must for all Gemmell fans, or perfect if you have never tried him before! From the opening page where a knight offers his enchanted blade to his opponent in a duel to the death, you sense you are in for a treat! It won't let you down! Once again the heroes of the story are misfits and flawed to the core, but still they manage to win through... well some of them! The book moves along at a cracking pace and if you are not too careful you will devour this in one sitting! Gemmell at his majestic best! Buy the first edition @ www.Fine1stEditions.co.uk
9/10 from 3 reviews