“For anyone who appreciates superior heroic fantasy, David Gemmell’s offerings are mandatory.”—Time Out London
The blood-drenched lands of the Drenai are protected by a man who has been hated and feared as much as he has been loved: the living legend known as Druss, Captain of the Ax. But this is also the land of Skilgannon, a man who is armed with the mythic Swords of Night and Day, and perhaps Druss’s equal on the field of battle. Brought together by a brutal attack, the two lone warriors form an unlikely alliance. But as Druss and Skilgannon face the supernatural threat of the Joinings—monstrous werebeasts with unholy strength and more than animal savagery—respect and trust will grow. Their alliance will become a friendship destined to change both men—and the lands of the Drenai—forever.
“[Gemmell’s] fiction has always carried the genuine flair ofthe classic sword and sorcery pieces of the 1930s and ’40s. This installment is no exception.”—Starlog
“A multitude of good battle scenes! . . . Readers will be carried along by the nonstop action and heroic characters.”—Booklist
This new heroic fantasy in Gemmell's engrossing Drenai series takes place immediately before his first published novel, Legend (1984), but stands well on its own. Skilgannon, swordmaster and former general of Queen Jianna's army, walked away from the queen's service after his forces sacked a city with such savagery that his name is ever after followed by "the Damned." He's spent three trying years submitting to monastic discipline in hopes of understanding the places of man and evil in the world. His dreams are disturbed by a white wolf; his thoughts by memories of his dead wife and hopeless love for Queen Jianna. Now the surrounding town is torn by civil unrest and the monks debate fleeing: Skilgannon might have stayed with them but for the price on his head and the futility of his disguise as Brother Lantern. The abbot sends him to the capital, Mellicane, escorting an unworldly monk. In the woods outside town, they pick up the boy Rabalyn, whose troubles with a town bully ended with the torching of his aunt's house and the killing of the aunt and the bully; his ne'er-do-well parents are said to be in the capital. Thus begins a journey that will continue beyond Mellicane and draw in the author's most famous character, Druss the axeman. The plot seamlessly supports the predictable violence. Magic plays little part in everyday life, but when it affects the deeds of rulers and leaders, Gemmell describes it in a concrete, nuts-and-bolts way in welcome contrast to much airy-fairy fantasy.