Gemmell gets better with every book and Lord of the Silver Bow is no exception, his best yet by far. Apart, that is, from one ill-conceived — and mercifully brief — paragraph describing a whore and a sailor on the beach, doing what whores and sailors do.
That's the only blemish on the book and that's all the negative feedback you're going to get from me. I've read all of Gemmell's books, from the original Legend through to this, his latest, and whilst there's less of the fantastical element here, the magic and the mystery are still there as an ancient legend — the legend of Troy — is brought to life. Heroic fantasy is Gemmell's speciality, but it's always rooted in reality: his heroes are human beings with human flaws but gifted with great hearts — capable of both the worst and the best that people can do. And, perhaps most importantly, they know it.
That, for me at least, is one of the key reasons Gemmell's story telling works so well: he gets behind the action and adventure (as always, there's plenty of it) and into the minds and motives of his characters. There are no cardboard cut outs and there's no hiding from the truth. Which means there's always hope: evil may run rampant but in the end, exposed for what it is, it loses to the good.
That doesn't mean it's all happy ever after. Lord of the Silver Bow ends very satisfactorily but there's tragedy waiting in the wings as the mistakes of the past stack up, wheels within wheels inexorably grinding forward.
I'm particularly taken with this volume, however, for reasons beyond the story: a signed copy, first edition, bought for me as a birthday present — my only regret is that I didn't get time to read it on my birthday. Will the next volume be out in time for my next birthday?
Sadly, since this review was written, David Gemmell has died. He will be missed more than words can say.
Phil Groom, December 2005
Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.Transworld: Bantam Press | Order from www.christianbookshops.org
|Reviews Index | EU Bookshops | UK Bookshops|