By David Gemmell
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, was under threat from Nadir hordes who had destroyed everything else in their path. All hope rests on the skills of one man.
This was the second time I have read this book. The first time I read it on the advice of my father at a time when the only books I enjoyed were horror. After reading this I was hooked on this new genre.
Stories of Druss are told everywhere but Druss has never been interested in fame and glory instead he just wants to relax for the rest of his years in his lonely mountain cabin. But will he be able to resist the lure of one last battle?
At the fortress of Dros Delnoch a battle is coming. The fortress is the only route through which an army can pass through the mountains. It belongs to the Drenai empire and is fortified by six outer walls. It is the last battleground left as all else has been conquered by the Nadir horde. Unfortunately, the fortress is undermanned and the men unskilled.
Their only hope is an old man.
I knew from the first page that I was going to enjoy reading this book once again and I have to say I think David Gemmell is still one of the finest writers in this genre.
On the first page of the prologue he talks of how
the square within the main keep boasted of a small mound of human hands.
I liked the way he described Ulric, the leader of the Nadir. Throughout the book Ulric was never outright evil, he was a human with motives and clear reasons for doing what he did.
He had sacked the nations of the northern plains, but then they had bled his people dry over the centuries with their taxes and raids; they had sown the seeds of their own destruction. Not so the Drenai. They had always treated the Nadir with tact and courtesy.
The first mention of Druss:
The saga of Druss the Legend...the tale of a giant whose eyes were death, and whose axe was terror. Later we learn that Druss has known for years that he will die when he is 60 even before a seer predicted it. Rather than fear death a part of him yearns for it to take him.He calls for death to take him and death answers that he will suffer for years alone on his mountain top and slowly loss his mind if he stays where he is but if he choses to go to Dros Delnoch death will meet him there.
One of the many legends of Druss states,
when he stares, valleys tremble...when he walks beasts are silent, when he speaks mountains tremble, when he fights armies crumble.
Druss' legendary weapon is in axe he called Snaga,
There she hung, Snaga, which in the old tongue means sender. Slim haft of black steel, interwoven with eldritch runs in silver thread and a double-edged blade so shaped that it sang as it slew.
Druss says of himself:
I am Druss. Sometimes called Captain of the Axe. In Ventria I am merely the Axeman. To the Nadir I am Deathwalker. In Lentria I am the Silver Slayer.
One of the other main characters I liked was Regnak or Rek who is described as
Too intelligent to be a hero, too frightened to be a fool. However, the character assessment from a seer at the inn he was in was less favorable:
"You do not wish to hear words of your own death, Regnak the wanderer, son of Argas, and so I will withhold them. You are a man of uncertain character and only sporadic courage. You are a thief and a dreamer and your destiny will both haunt and hurt you. You will run to avoid it, yet your steps will carry you towards it."
I liked the description of a forest early on in the book,
The forest had an ageless beauty that touched Druss' warrior soul. Enchantment hung in the air. Gnarled oaks became silent sentinels in the silver moonlight, majestic, immortal, unyielding.
Second time around I liked how well-rounded the characters were. I liked the ending of the book and found the entire thing an extremely enjoyable read.
Our Final Rating...
Read & Shared 19 Times.