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Sword in the Storm (The Rigante #1)

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,355 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
The first in a new series from the master of heroic fantasy

Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land and its gods.

But beyond the border, across the water, an evil force is gathering strength, an unstoppable force that will change the world beyon
Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 3rd 1999 by Corgi (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 14, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Probably my favourite (yes I can spell, I'm English *laughing*) Gemmell. In fact, definately in my top 3 reads of all time. Gemmell's ability to draw an intense and gripping story through the ability to make his character's 'human' was the best I've ever come across. All his heroes had their flaws or weaknesses, with most of his villains having a side that showed them as 'not too far removed from most' or 'even holding some great skill beyond ours'.

I don't rate 'all' of Gemmell's books (though
David Dalglish
Apr 21, 2011 David Dalglish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At what point do you condemn a hero?

This seems to be the overall theme in Sword in the Storm, the third novel I've read by David Gemmell. The first was Legend, the other one of the Troy series. In all three, we have legendary warriors, towering men who can stand at the center of a battle and survive through sheer skill and will. Yet of the three main heroes, Sword in the Storm seems to have the most failings, not in just his character, but in the way he is told.

In Legend, we have Druss. He's old
Jun 17, 2008 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gemmell may be a great storyteller, but there are parts of the story that I didn't care for. Way too many pages that I had to skip over due to sexual content. Let's just say, "Too much information!!!!"
Jul 06, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
4 Stars may be a little generous but how can I reduce it when I found myself shouting at the characters..."No! Don't do it!!" just before they committed an act that will have terrible consequences? Most books don't get you so involved with the players. An excellent story but a very flawed hero figure.
Jan 12, 2013 Lucinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An epic tale of undying love, heroic courage and ultimate sacrifice that is breathtakingly beautiful and uniquely imaginative.

David Gemmell is one of Britain’s greatest storytellers whose inspired imaginative ideas and clever creativity merge together strong themes within a fantasy setting that is astonishing. Whether you are an avid reader of the fantasy genre or simply someone who delights in powerful, affecting prose this author whose accomplished ability and remarkable depth of meaning (tha
Gordon Doherty
Jul 10, 2011 Gordon Doherty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I ever forget what good storytelling is, then I can safely turn to David Gemmell for a sterling reminder.

Sword in the Storm exhibits all the traits that made me love his style (have read Troy series, Lion of Macedon series, Stones of Power series) and in particular the very real-feeling portrayal of Connovar, the flawed hero. Every character has a touch of this, no archetypal villains or infallible good guys in this story, and the people of the Roman/Kelt-like world only become tainted as go
Jan 21, 2016 Shima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gemmell's books are always hard to review, because it's hard to explain why they're great.

This one in particular is tricky, looking back at the plot it seems like it should have been at least a bit boring yet it was captivating and utterly enjoyable.
After some thought I believe there are two main reasons for that :

First there is Gemmell's way of writing in a simple no-nonsense way which holds your attention completely. It actually reminds me of the writing of A Game Of Thrones.

Second there is
Apr 30, 2015 Keri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


This was a good story. It spans many years so there are jumps in time which keeps things from bogging down. The writing is good but very simple, there wasn't a lot of complexity to the technical aspect of the writing but the story was still well thought out and fully developed. Connavar, the MC, is an interesting character. He's a good guy with heroic and honorable tendencies and yet he does some awful deeds. He struggles with who he is and what he needs to do. Again, good st
Jan 08, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In a terrible storm that doomed his father, the young babe Connavar was born. His father died running from battle, and he vowed never to be a coward, never to betray his friends. He grows in strength and skill, but is also impulsive and quick to anger. But this must be tempered if he can save his people from the terrible armies that one day will attack the tribes of the Rigante.[return][return]This is a damn fine fantasy book. Unlike most in the heroic fantasy sub-genre, this book is set at the ...more
Nov 30, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, favorites
This book definitely deserved the five star rating I have given it. Gemmell really knows how to enchant the reader and bring them into the story. It's been awhile since I've gotten that "magical" feeling of being swept away from reality and stepping foot into a new realm.

Gemmell also does a really good job of portraying human emotions. All too often, I scratch my head when reading a book thinking to myself that some characters do the most ridiculous things for absolutely no reason. Well with Ge
Gemmell has a way of writing about heroes that brings new life into the genre for me. I love how he seems to pack so much into so few pages. By 2 3rds of the book I am wondering how so much has happened already. Not a page wasted. His characters come off the page and into the story and leave a lasting impression, even after they have died. and many of his heroes will die.

He makes courage and honor something real to me. His characters are terribly flawed and their actions have consequences, usua
May 30, 2010 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well-written. I liked the main character and thought his motivations and experiences were compelling. I liked the culture and the interesting fantasy world; stayed up till 3 am reading.

However, I have two beefs with the book. The first was that several scenes had way more detail about sexual encounters than I wanted. I was able to skip over these for the most part, and I was prepared to forgive the author since the book was so well done in other ways.

Unfortunately, near the end, the main charact
Jan 18, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing
I was loaned the Ravenheart series by a good friend and read it during a summer camping trip to a state forest; one of those trips that the extended family goes on and spends a week at a 4 campsites with tents and picnic tables. I was surprised that I'd never heard of Gemmell at the time, but really loved his storytelling! For the past 4 years, I bring the four Rigante books (Ravenheart, Midnight Falcon, Stormrider and Sword in the Storm) with me for this annual trip and have a great time reread ...more
VS Drakkan
Jul 07, 2013 VS Drakkan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much I started writing a screen play for it, and even got about half way through before I had to shelf it.

I was in university at the time, but I will return to the time where I will pick up this tale of the man who inherits the sword in the storm. The young boy born of a lightning storm like Nikola Tesla, who will grow to become a great King.

This is book 1 of 4, and starts an amazing saga of family, fortune, fable, and fantasy amidst a myriad of fantastic characters with b
Aug 22, 2015 Pickle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
fanastic... great characters throughout from thre witch, to the travelling merchant etc.. great story. Need to buy second book.
Jun 12, 2015 Michele rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this. Conn is a great warrior hero - very brave, and a genius, but not without his flaws. Can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Riki Strydom
I don't know how to begin this review as I was very disappointed. A man character should have a flaw or two to keep him interesting, but this one has way too many! A couple of times a passage of time took place and the reader was not informed then you have to work out how long during the conversations.

All you know is a war is coming and only one person thinks to prepare. There was no real story to build up to and once the big war took place it was finished so quickly the reader barely noticed.
Eoghann Irving
Mar 21, 2015 Eoghann Irving rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
David Gemmell has been writing popular fantasy books for years now and anyone who has read any of his previous works will have a rough idea what to expect from this one. In this first book of the “Rigante” series we follow the childhood of Connavar, a member of one of the Rigante clans. As he grows to adulthood he shows considerable natural talents and certain mystical beings take an unusual level of interest in him.

There is nothing really new in this book. It features many of Gemmells favorite
Feb 04, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So... it's good. But, I definitely had some issues with it. Read on.

While the novel begins strong, I felt like it faded a bit. Towards the midpoint of the novel, Gemmell's writing became a bit sloppy and less considered. Rushed, perhaps? The editing felt lacking, and some of the originality went missing - a lot more fantasy tropes began to pop up, in an irritating way.

But, good lord! The pacing is stellar - the book feels so much shorter and reads so much more quickly than you might expect. The
Mar 24, 2010 Dolphe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This beautifully crafted fantasy tale is a true example of David Gemmell at his finest. I know ... I know .. I am running the risk of entering the realm of uber geekdom, but in our current political and social atmosphere which promote lies as truth, scandal as honor and bigotry as acceptable; how could I not find respite in tales where men live by their word, where honor is something done not said and where the greater good extends beyond your own back yard?
Nov 12, 2015 Johanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am very interested in Celtic (and Roman) mythology and history and I love fantasy fiction. So I had to read this book. I was not disappointed. It was well-written, had an intriguing concept and interesting characters. I loved the first hundred pages or so. Then it became chapter after chapter of battles, fistfights, revenge missions etc. And my reason for reading this book became the reason I stopped reading it 260 pages in. It just couldn’t hold my interest. Nothing really new or truly origin ...more
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Ahh the Rigante! A noble and strong race of warriors connected to the earth through gods and magic. Frigging great series The Rigante series. Spanning generations and will be readable for that long.
This was a good epic fantasy read. The hero is the son of a coward, but his stepfather is one of the greatest warriors of their people.

We watch the hero grow up and fall in love and try to do the right thing. But he loses his temper when bad things happen and when he wakes up from his rage, he's done terrible things.

I liked the battle scenes and there were lots of interesting characters I wanted to know more about.

Negatives: I really hated the woman the hero fell in love with. I also felt lik
John Engedal
Mar 31, 2015 John Engedal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sword in the Storm presents a kind of montage of moments in the life of a legend. Some were a bit rushed, and some very beautiful, especially anything to do with the strange Seidh and the characters of Three Streams, while the ones dealing with preparing for war and the wars themselves went by too fast to create any real tension, because I was just waiting for characters do die or survive based on prophecies and hints from earlier in the book.

Still, most of the story was great, and recommended
Silvya Mazerolle
Considering how many fantasy epics and stories I've read, I am surprised David Gammell is a new author for me. And ever so thankful. I enjoyed this book of a hero with definite character flaws. The writer gave Connavar a heroic soul with all the possible errors of judgement and regrets we all have. He lives with his terrible mistakes and can still be loveable for us to read. Gammell's world reminds me of Roman times and the conquest of Britania. How inevitable war can be orchestrated and whole w ...more
Mundy Carroll
Dec 21, 2015 Mundy Carroll rated it really liked it
This was great.

I had just read Robert Jordan's "The Eye of the World", and had enjoyed it as a fantasy book. This however seems as if it's in a different league. Purely (I think) because the main character is more developed, and more sympathetic. The fact that there is a seeming mixture between fantasy and historical fiction (this could have just been Britain before the coming of the Romans) makes the story somehow more understandable I suppose.

I read Gemmell's "Legend" a while back - and thou
Mayank Agarwal
Great Read, in fact it's my favorite Gemmell book yet( having read his Drenai Saga). His writing has improved over time and it's shows here.

As always with most of Gemmels book we have the flawed hero, this time around he took time in developing his character. So the readers actually get to know him and he feels realistic. A big plus is introducing the cultures similar to our ancient time - Romans, Celts, Gauls ad Norse. Loved the way witches/gods play part and how the prophecies play out. As al
Jun 18, 2010 Cass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This series is my favourite. Especially the first book.
Mauro Padovani
Jan 27, 2014 Mauro Padovani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece!
Dec 28, 2015 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Novels of the Rigante: Sword in the Storm, Midnight Falcon, Stormrider, and Ravenheart.

I don’t know how I managed to not have read any David Gemmell before this, considering how much time I have spent lurking in the sci fi/fantasy aisles of every bookstore I’ve ever been to, but I picked the first of these after reading about them on Beth Schaefermann’s site. She doesn’t keep archives posted but I can tell you that the post was titled “Total Bad-Ass Warrior Who Wields Really Big Swords” and does
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David Andrew Gemmell was a bestselling British author of heroic fantasy. A former journalist and newspaper editor, Gemmell had his first work of fiction published in 1984. He went on to write over thirty novels. Best known for his debut, Legend, Gemmell's works display violence, yet also explores themes in honour, loyalty and redemption. With over one million copies sold, his work continues to sel ...more
More about David Gemmell...

Other Books in the Series

The Rigante (4 books)
  • Midnight Falcon (The Rigante, #2)
  • Ravenheart (The Rigante, #3)
  • Stormrider (The Rigante, #4)

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“It is hard to be angry when one has seen the sun rise,' she said.
It seems to be true,' he admitted. 'I wonder why.'
Because it makes one feel so small and insignificant. It has been rising forever and will rise forever no matter what we do or do not do. All our problems are as nothing to the sun.”
“Not one of the creatures of blood can escape death. We all face it, and succumb to it. It follows us like a dark shadow. Yet if we live in terror of it, then we do not live at all. Yes we are born alone, and yes we will die alone. But in between, Tae, we live. We know joy.” 10 likes
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