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The Swords of Night and Day

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With mythic sweep and epic scope, David Gemmell’s bestselling novels of magic and adventure feature brooding heroes who fight to preserve all that is good and honorable in themselves and in the worlds through which they stride like lonely giants. In times of terror and despair, theirs are the swords that carve a shining path, inspiring others to follow. Even after their deaths, their names live on. . . .

A thousand years after they fell in battle, two heroes—Druss and Skilgannon—are revered throughout the war-torn lands of the Drenai. Yet men and women live in abject fear of the Joinings, abominable meldings of man and beast, and of their mistress, the dark sorceress known as the Eternal. None can stave off these ruthless foes.

But what if the soul of one such hero could be called back from the void, his bones housed again in flesh? An ancient prophecy foretold that Skilgannon would return in his people’s darkest hour. To most, this is a foolish hope. But not so to Landis Kan. For years, as the power of the Eternal grew, Kan searched for the tomb of Skilgannon the Damned. And at last, he found it, gathering up the bones and performing the mystic ritual.

But the reborn hero is an enigma: a young man whose warrior skills are blunted and whose memories are fragmented. This Skilgannon is a man out of time, marooned in a world as strange to him as a dream, remote from all he knew and loved.

Or nearly all. Before bringing Skilgannon back, Landis Kan experimented upon other bone fragments found in the hero’s tomb. That ritual resulted in a surly giant who possessed astounding strength, but no memories. To Kan, he was a dangerous failure. But to Skilgannon, this giant represented their last hope. For as the ageless evil of the Eternal threatens to drown the Drenai lands in blood, two legendary heroes will once again lead the way to freedom.

In this engrossing science fantasy, the latest in British author Gemmell's long-running Drenai series (White Wolf, etc.), 1,000 years have passed since the age of the heroic sword fighter, Skilgannon. A priestly class has reawakened ancient technology that allows them to prolong life indefinitely, create lycanthropic man-beast combinations called Jiamads and fashion magical weapons such as the two legendary blades Skilgannon once carried, the Swords of Night and Day. The greatest of the priests, Landis Khan, brings Skilgannon back to life in order to fight against the arrayed armies of another of Landis's resurrections, the empress Eternalâ€"aka Queen Jianna, Skilgannon's former lover and nemesis. Druss the Legend, the ax-fighter friend of Skilgannon from the past, has also been brought back in body. Skilgannon and Harad, the clone of Druss, join forces with Askari, a clone of Jianna, and various temporal locals, in a fight against the Eternal's Mongol-like hordes of were-creatures and ravaging soldiers. Though the story brims with standard swordplay and unremarkable battle sequences, the puzzling out of what a possessed sword might actually be (a nanotech-based artificial intelligence?), or how resurrection works (bio-engineered cloning?) provides delightful diversion and should make this one popular with idea-starved fantasy readers.Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. In the latest of the prolific Gemmell's tales of the Drenai--a direct sequel to White Wolf (2002)--the half-animal, half-human creations known as the Joinings stalk the land, guided by their conquest-mad sorceress mistress, the Eternal, and they and their leader are again well developed and more than adequately terrifying. Various ancient champions also return for this volume, including Druss, who has a new comrade in arms, Skilgannon the Damned, who has been dead for a thousand years. What with the magical swords these two Barbarossa-like figures wield, the already fast and furious action get ratcheted up to virtually nonstop for more than two-thirds of the book. With that much action, Gemmell is guaranteed to hold readers, despite his not-always-top-flight world building and sometimes less-than-lucid prose. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 419 pages
  • Corgi (March 14, 2005)
  • English
  • 7
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Captain on September 3, 2015

    This is a bittersweet experience, as it's the last book in the Druss/Drenai world as far as the internal chronological order is concerned, which is how I read them. The order was determined by David Gemmell in collaboration with the folks at The Gemmell Award and is available at their site gemmellaward.com. I highly recommend reading them that way, they make a lot more sense plus the story flows smoothly this way.This last book ties up some ends that I didn't realize were loose, like Jianna/The Witch Queen/The Eternal's fate. Pretty gutsy way of dealing with it by Gemmell, you can tell he worked hard at this one and really poured his heart into it. Another tear jerker like White Wolf, it's immediate prequel if you will. Everyone is back for at least cameo appearances, and this was necessary for the tale to be told.Now I'm off to Ghost King and the five books of the Stones of Power tale. Thank goodness I have more David Gemmell brilliance to indulge in.

  • By Howard Brauner on August 5, 2015

    David Gemmell was one of the best storytellers ever. All his books are fast paced, easy to read, very suspenseful and they leave you with a strong desire to read more of his books and adventures. He paints his characters and worlds full of color and makes you feel part of his stories. I have reread all his books many times and they never fail to thrill me and make me want to read them yet again.

  • By Scott Masterton on April 13, 2004

    David Gemmell has done it again. All of Gemmell's books are formulaic; however, that does not take away from the power of his message. Gemmell is the master of the archetypal, heroes journey story, and his characterizations and deep insight into the human condition always make his books memorable and lead the reader to examine the nature of evil, heroism, and the dark and light sides within their own being.Skilgannon has been resurrected after 1,000 years. We learn that he has been fighting demons in the void (similar to the Catholic Purgatory). He has returned to fulfill a prophecy that he will destroy the Eternal...an old foe/lover from a thousand years ago.As always, Gemmell's characters are never one thing; never one dimensional. The truly evil are capable of the highest good, and those that appear without flaw are shown to be anything but.For Gemmell fans, there are no big surprises in "Swords of Night and Day", but both new readers and lifelong fans will come away entertained and as always somewhat enlightened concerning the nature of man and his place in the Universe.This book is worth every dime.

  • By varnya on April 6, 2016

    I have read all of David Gemmell's books and am very sad that he has passed away and there will be no others. That said, there is not one of his books that I would give a bad review, but I read this too long ago to give a detailed review of the story.

  • By S E Lindberg on July 15, 2012

    The Swords of Night and Day is just okay. Given the amount of material Gemmell had to work with, this book falls flat but is still somewhat enjoyable. It merely recaps events explained in the previous books, but in a confusing way. Having read and enjoyed Gemmell's books (i.e. Legend, White Wolf, The King Beyond the Gate) I was anxious to delve into another. However, it does not add much to the series.- The Drenai series spans eleven books, though it really is several mini-series with connections to the same land. In this case, "Swords" is a sequel to "White Wolf" in which Skilganon was introduced. Swords of Night and Day explores the magic/technology of resurrecting him (and other heros and villains). Although the magic/technology of resurrection is loosely explored, it is done inconsistently. One moment, these powers are causing everyone to have cancer and become mutated, the next moment the powers are healing people and allowing them to live indefinitely. I am okay with unharnessed powers doing uncontrollable things, but here the powers are told to be controlled... then shown to be uncontrolled for select people.- Despite their rebirth, the characters and motivations are not developed what so ever. I would have hoped to learn more about Skilganon, Jianna, etc.- The book has nothing to do with the titular "Swords of Night and Day", other than the fact that their owner is a key character; nothing about the demons inside the blade, the weapon's history, its creation, etc. are explored. In fact, the book has several cool powerful items re-emerge from ancient history, but then they are not really used. Seriously, the Armor of Bronze marks a guy as a leader, which elevates his power over a regiment of humans, but it really doesn't do much. One may expect that the armor be magically protective, or impart some supernatural strength to those who wear it--not here.- Many contrived scenes exist that just appear odd. These instances fail to ratchet up the tension and could have been handled much more smoothly and convincingly.(1) In one case, the hero mysteriously detects "undetectable" wraiths approaching...has 30min or so to prepare for the fight???...decides to leave the group he is supposed to protect so he can fight the wraiths... but he doesn't actually know where the enemy is (even though he could detect them???) so he goes to a random location to get ready (so the weaker folk are now vulnerable)...then the shadow creatures find him... but our invincible hero begins to lose the battle... until his less-capable party finds and rescue him???. Why not have the wraiths just attack the group directly?(2) In another case, a women Askari learns her village has been destroyed, and her response is to do nothing emotional... but immediately seduce the man who failed to protect it (and the language is lighthearted...the man calling his wolf-like friends silly rascals as they try to watch).(3) Stavi spends 250pages building a special pack of warrior creatures, helps them join ranks with the human Legion who is afraid of said creatures (they all join a single "pack" and have a mini ceremony), drags his land-lubber pack many miles on barges to do battle because "the creatures want to fight with him"... then when the battle starts, he dismisses them, commanding them to "go hunt and be free" ??? ... so his pack does leave ... but guess what? surprise ... they come back to fight.


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