Waylander by David Gemmell
Waylander, published in 1986, was David Gemmell's third book. Once again set in the land of the Drenai in which Gemmell brings us his best known anti-hero, Waylander.
The King of the Drenai is dead and troops are invading the Drenai lands killing men, women and children. The hopes of the Drenai are with one man - Waylander - the traitor who killed the King. Waylander must travel deep into Nadir lands to recover the legendary Armour of Bronze with which he can turn the tide and save the land of the Drenai.
After bringing us Druss the Legend Gemmell changes tack and brings us an anti-hero in Waylander. Strangely enough, this makes Waylander a more sympathetic character and in my opinion a far better character. A recurring theme in Gemmell's work is of the character who once had an idylic life, wife and children but evil men came and killed the character's family and all that is left are closed shells who kill without mercy. Waylander is one such man.
"The monster watched from the shadows as the armed men, torches aloft, entered the darkness of the mountain. He backed away as they advanced, keeping his huge bulk from the glare.
The men made their way to a rough-hewn chamber and placed the torches in rusty iron brackets on the granite walls.
At the centre of the twenty-strong group was a figure in armour of bronze, which caught the torch-light and seemed to blaze like fashioned flames. He removed his winged helm and two retainers erected a wooden skeletal frame. The warrior placed the helm atop the frame and unbuckled his breastplate. He was past middle age, but still strong - his hair thinning, his eyes squinting in the flickering light.
He passed the armoured breastplate to a retainer who laid it on the frame, rebuckling the straps."
In Gemell's debut novel Legend, he mentions the characters the Egel and Karnak as legends of distant times and the warrior monks named The Thirty play a part in both books. The events in Waylander are set before the events of Legend but as no dates are given, it is hard to say for sure when. The forming of The Thirty happens in this tale and it a very important and enjoyable part of the story, particularly the tale of Dardalion, the first warrior monk.
"Moving forward silently he came up behind the man, slipping the noose over his head and jerking it tight. He fell back, scrabbling at the noose, but Waylander pulled him from his feet and dragged him across the hollow to a tall elm. Swiftly he hurled the rope over a branch some ten feet from the ground and hauled the struggling man to his feet. The attacker's eyes were bulging and his face above his dark beard was purple."
Chapter 13: Waylander
There is a feeling of hopelessness and despair surrounding this tale but Gemmell also shows a softer side. There are genuinely touching moments where he shows that he has a great feel for character study.
This is an entertaining story of love and redemption in a land in turmoil and ravaged by war. There are no safe places. A fast-paced adventure in which Dardalion, Danyal and Waylander all make engaging characters in a story that makes you care and holds you until the end. Gemmell near his best.
"While the men shrank, their skin hanging in flapping folds, the wolves stretched, paws swelling into fur-covered fingers, nails darkening and curving into talons. Rib-cages expanded, bloated with new muscle; shoulders formed and the creatures loomed upright, dropping to the ground what appeared to be wizened sacks of old bones."
Chapter 18: Waylander
This Waylander book review was written by Floresiensis
All reviews for: The Drenai Novels
The Legend Of Deathwalker
The Drenai Novels
Druss the Legend, the dark axman known as the Deathwalker, must join the warrior Talisman on a mission of blood and glory. Only the stolen Eyes of Alchazzar--mystic jewels ...
Knights of Dark Renown
The Drenai Novels
The Knights of the Gabala, legendary protectors of the Nine Duchies, have disappeared through a demon-haunted gateway between worlds. Only one held back - Manannan, whose e...
The Drenai Novels: Book 1
Druss, Captain of the Axe, whose fame was legendary, had chosen to wait for death in a mountain hideaway. But mighty Dros Delnoch, the last stronghold of the Drenai Empire,...
The King Beyond The Gate
The Drenai Novels: Book 2
Once the mighty fortress had stood strong, defended by the mightiest of all Drenai heroes, Druss, the Legend. But now a tyrannical, mad emperor had seized control of the fo...
The Drenai Novels: Book 3
The King of the Drenai is dead and troops are invading the Drenai lands killing men, women and children. The hopes of the Drenai are with one man - Waylander - the traitor ...
The Drenai Novels: Book 5
In the mountains of Skeln live Dakeyras and his daughter Miriel. Assassins hunt Dakeyras; there is a price of ten thousand in gold on his head. Why? Dakeyras is Waylander t...
Have you read Waylander?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Waylander reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Great Reawakening has left Latent people with a stark choice: either use their newfound magical powers in the service of the government, or choose the path of the Selfe...
The Divine Cities Trilogy
Robert Jackson Bennett
A special omnibus edition, collecting all three books of Robert Jackson Bennett’s acclaimed Divine Cities trilogy in a single volume. &nbs...
The Poppy War
R F Kuang
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who cou...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Ascendants of Estorea
The Estorean Conquord has stood for 850 years. Its Advocate, Herine Del Aglios, knows that she presides over the greatest civilisation in history. But she wants more. And i...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: