This week Jade dips her toes in the fantasy pond…
Sword in the Storm
Fantasy as a genre is a particular favourite of mine; it can be quite a difficult style to get right but when done successfully the results can be breath-taking. David Gemmell is one of those authors who not only gets it right but whose books are so immersive that it’s hard to put the book down until it is finished.
Sword in the Storm (book one of the Rigante series) is set amongst the people of the Rigante, a Celtic counterpart tribe to whom the hero Connavar is born in the middle of a storm. The book centres around Connavar as he becomes the hero of legend but with so many dark shadows and strange twists that you will wonder how it could even happen at all.
Gemmell is a master tale weaver and creates a huge, colourful world for his rich characters, a world that truly comes alive in the reading. The magic is unobtrusive yet is strongly woven into the tale’s undertones, helping the narrative feel natural as the story progresses.
The characters are memorable and well fleshed out with strengths and flaws, an element sometimes missing in heroic fantasy. This element helps you really feel the raw pain, the elated joy, and back again, that the characters experience throughout the narrative.
The plot deals with a number of important themes: familial bonds, heritage, what makes a hero ‘heroic’, the meaning of right and wrong and the fallibility of human beings. These huge ideas are handled simply and cleverly which allows deep connections to develop between the characters and the plot.
Morally grey is the key phrase for all in this book, coated thickly with a wonderfully black humour. Connavar is in turns kind and brutal; Ruathain is fun despite the shadow cast over him; Vorna the witch with fantastic powers but shunned by the community…
This is a truly fantastic book that gets its claws into the reader from the first chapter, however there is one problem… this book is so addictive you will not be able to get to the second book in the series fast enough!
Library & Digital Assistant
Publisher’s blurb, http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/sword-in-the-storm/9780552142564, 25 June 2015:
“Fierce and proud, the Rigante dwell deep in the green mountain lands, worshiping the gods of air and water, and the spirits of the earth. Among them lives a warrior who bears the mark of fate. Born of the storm that slew his father, he is Connavar, and tales of his courage spread like wildfire.
The Seidh–a magical race as old as time–take note of the young warrior and cast a malignant shadow across his life. For soon a merciless army will cross the water, destroying forever the timeless rhythms of life among the Rigante.
Swearing to protect his people, Connavar embarks on a quest that will take him into the heart of the enemy. Along the way, he receives a gift: a sword as powerful and deadly as the Seidh who forged it. Thus he receives a name that will strike fear into the hearts of friend and foe alike–a name proclaiming a glorious and bitter destiny… Demonblade.”
Find out more about this Random House title and more on their website: http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/sword-in-the-storm/9780552142564