Swords of Night and Day
by David Gemmell
Reviewed by Coral
Make no mistake, this may be billed as the second book of the Damned series, but it is so intricately connected with so many plots and characters from the whole of the Drenai series it's hard to see it as a separate entity. References used in ordering:
1000 years after Skilgannon's death at 54.
Around 900-1000 since Decado's death.
Post War of the Twins.
The Eternal has ruled for 500 years
Current Drenai Novel #11
Okay, now all that is out of the way, I can say I loved this book. Of course, I love all of David Gemmell's books (so far) but it's nice to know I haven't hit an exception just yet.
Landis Kan is a desperate man. He fears his small kingdom will soon be attacked, and not just by any ragtag force, but by the army of the Eternal herself. The Eternal is a Reborn - someone resurrected from death, either with or without the soul of who they used to be - who sits at the head of a Jiamad army - known in the past as Joinings, man melded with beast.
In a desperate bid to save his kingdom, Landis calls the spirit of Skilgannon back from the Void. But can he be the salvation that Landis needs?
One trait of Gemmell that I enjoy is seeing how legends can change and grow over time, so they end up so twisted the reality is hard to find. Faults slip away, replaced by godlike qualities, brave deeds become heroic exploits, and realistically written men and women have become Legend. I think in some ways it's very true to life. We can wonder if behind the myths of Hercules and Odysseus there lies the truth about real men who lived long ago.
Even though his books are fantasy and filled with man-beasts and people coming back from the dead, they feel so real to me. His characters read like real people and not characters acting out what a writer wants them to do. Nothing is as simple as good or evil in his books.
I also love that he doesn't feel it necessary to let all his characters live happily ever after. Sometimes I hate that about authors (I won't mention names). Their characters are in the midst of the biggest battle their world has ever known, but somehow not even one of them ends up dead at the end of it all. Instead they can all ride off into the sunset with their true love.
So his endings may not always be as shocking and surprising as Guy Gavriel Kay's but nothing unfolds in exactly the way you expect - okay, the way I expect.
A must read for fantasy lovers.