Monday, 6 August 2012
Review: Winter Warriors
Winter Warriors by David Gemmell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Two kings are dead – two parts of the prophecy have been fulfilled. The final part, the fate of the third king, rests in the hands of men. Men, who in their prime, stood before the tide of countless battles. But no man had ever stood before a demon.
A queen is hunted by the demons. Though men protect her, they are no longer of their prime. They are not silvered with age, but grey, worn and weary. Three men, heroes of their time. Nogusta the Swordsman, Kebra the Bowman, and Bison the brute.
The child will decide the fate for mankind as his existence is the difference between life and death for the race of man. But for him to live, the three old heroes need to see him born first.
Following on from my review of Legend I thought it time to spread my wings over yet another Gemmell book. I've had a case of writer's block recently, and with little time to read between work and sleep, I needed a book that I could plough through (read: keep me up long into the night reading it).
Winter Warriors is yet another fantastic example of Gemmell's fireside myth-mongering. It's a legend, a myth, something written with such realisation that you believe every word. You WANT to believe every word. Gemmell has always written inspiring heroes that rise to the call, but Bison, Kebra and Nogusta really shine for me. Not only should they turn their backs on the cards fate has dealt them, they shouldn't be able to even play a hand in their condition – yet they hedge their bets to win all the same.
And my god is this book onto a winner!
Gemmell's voice is light and easy to read. No info-dumps, no loquacious yet endless paragraphs of scenery description or fathomless lore. Winter Warriors is a good old heroic-fantasy romp with laughs, action, tears and a trademark warmth of hope that Gemmell kindles with every story.
The characters...wow. Need I say more? They're believable, they're human. Life isn't black and white, it's shades of grey (and there's more than 50!!!!) and our heroes have more than enough of that in their hair (except Bison – he's bald).
The plot is rich and entertaining, well thought out and fully realised. Little twists here and there keep it more than interesting, but the need to see the characters succeed is more than enough to keep a reader hooked.
Winter Warriors is a book for those who should not, for those who can not – but for those who will, no matter what. If I take one thing away from this book, it is that little glimmer of hope to be a better man.
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