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The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (The Drenai Saga #6)

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,202 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
He was known as Druss. The Deathwalker. Though the blood of merciless butchers coursed through his veins, he had found a fragile peace through his love for beautiful, mystical Rowena. Then came the day when Druss returned to their village and found everyone dead--massacred by slavers who had stolen the women to sell for gold. Rowena was among the missing.

Armed with only hi
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 5th 1999 by Del Rey (first published 1993)
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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienMagician by Raymond E. FeistLegend by David Gemmell
Best Heroic Fantasy
46th out of 525 books — 810 voters
The Sacred Band by Janet E. MorrisElric of Melniboné by Michael MoorcockThe Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. HowardSwords and Deviltry by Fritz LeiberThe Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl by Janet E. Morris
Sword and Sorcery
23rd out of 392 books — 321 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Daniel Ionson
Mar 15, 2016 Daniel Ionson rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, re-reads
As always, Gemmell's style is quick, realistic, and brutal.
Nov 21, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An awesome story that was extremely well written...

What made it 'awesome'? Well; You create an outcast youth, outcast because of a butchering grandfather who killed without mercy and with a deadly axe named Snaga. And outcast because of his size and strength, where many viewed him as a bone-breaking thug, though Druss was never mean spirited, or a thug. He was quite introverted and prefered his own company to that of others who always saw just a thug. Then, he met Rowena, who saw the gentleness
Jun 08, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Borrowed this book from my boyfriend, expecting a typical male book (not wanting to stereotype but...) I expected epic battles, blood, gore and men of honour. All of which I got. But I didn't expect to become so attached to Druss and Rowena. This book tugged at my heart strings and I spent the whole time I read this on the edge of my seat, hoping he would find her and all would be well.
This book lived up to my expectations and surpassed them greatly. The characters are enjoyable and easy to bec
Reggie Kray
Apr 28, 2016 Reggie Kray rated it it was amazing
A truly remarkable piece of love, courage and redemption. Gemmell was a rare breed. One who wrote from his heart. Not his wallet - As I see too many writers are guilty of these days. All hail The Saviour of Skeln Pass!!!
Jul 28, 2013 Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
THE FIRST CHRONICLES OF DRUSS THE LEGEND saw author David Gemmell bringing back his his best loved character due to popular demand. It's conceived as a prequel to his first book, LEGEND, exploring the life of Druss and the events that made him a globally-known hero.

This is a light, straightforward novel that follows an action-focused narrative. The battle scenes in the book are almost non-stop, indeed this has the most action of any Gemmell novel I've read. Some of the tension is taken away in t
It was an epic saga in the vien of the Greek Tragedy stories. It was a great heroic story thats not surprsing but it was so large in scope of Druss life,growth,struggles and in took only 300 odd pages. Thats a rare talent for this type of fantasy. The many great supporting characters was nice touch too.

One of the best Gemmell book easily. Only Legend and Wolf in Shadow can compete with it.
Mike (the Paladin)
I'm always tempted to give Gemmell a five star rating. I try to reserve the 5 but DG is among the best action/adventure writers I've run across. When he passed we lost a great talent.
Nov 30, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do you get when you take a headstrong, angry, violent boy, add a dash of star-crossed lovers, a woman who calms him, a demon-possessed ax, some savages, a war in a foreign land, a womanizing poet, a man who loves the woman who calms the angry, violent boy, and a mystic who says that the man will live at least 46 more years? The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (Drenai Saga, #6).

This novel is about Druss. Remember Druss? He's the dude with the ax that dies a good death in the rawly power
Joshua Simon
Mar 28, 2013 Joshua Simon rated it it was amazing
So, I've read the first 6 novels thus far in the Drenai Saga and surprisngly, I think this is my favorite thus far. The larger than life characters and amazing action/battle scenes continue to be Gemmell's strengths. However, I found his dialogue has improved tremendously by this point, becoming far more consistent. Also, the description was top notch.

Best of all, where before I felt that the ending of Gemmell's books fell short of the tale leading up to it, I thought the ending here was perfect
Jul 05, 2015 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early days of Druss. I kept trying to spot names that crop up later, or earlier depending how you look at it!
I guess I had too high expectations on this one.
It was good but not awesome. I really didn't like the time-hops. Beside that, I enjoyed it.
Troy G
Dec 08, 2010 Troy G rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The Drenai novels are all great. This is the least great of them. David Gemmell writes stories about men that are either past their prime, out of their time, or defective. The central problem with this book is the central character is a man in his prime, in his time with only mild defects. Future books will find Druss in those other scenarios, but in this one, he is a freakishly gifted young buck carving out his legend.

Druss is still wise in this book. It is hard for me to imagine a teenager or
Apr 06, 2015 Wolfdan rated it really liked it
Druss est bûcheron. Mais un jour son village est attaqué et sa femme enlevée. Il ne va alors vivre que pour la retrouver et empilera les cadavres sur son chemin pour atteindre son but...
Très bon livre si ce n'est que c'est un schéma un peu classique. Mais à lire tout de même pour suivre les exploits de la Légende !
Jan 18, 2015 Tangerine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jon Alette
Mar 27, 2014 Jon Alette rated it really liked it

David Gemmells uppföljare till Belägringen är förmodligen den bok som överraskat mig mest genom tiderna. Efter 250 sidor var jag övertygad om att min tid av ungdomsfantasy var över, att läsningen av denna bok var på sätt och vis bortkastad tid, spiken i kistan för Wahlströms böcker. Låt gå att det hade sin mysfaktor, att jag kunde uppskatta att läsa om enkla äventyr, stereotypiska karaktärer och främmande länder uppbyggda efter verkliga modeller. Men den språkliga simplicitet
Matt Jones
Jul 25, 2011 Matt Jones rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite book ever! Druss the Legend is one of the most likeable and endearing characters in a book. If I had to take just one book to a desert island or had to recommend a book to a friend it would be this one. The characters are phenomenal, the story is simple but gripping from the first page to the last, the character development is spot on...I could go on all day. I dare anyone to read it and tell me they didn't like it!
Eugenia O'Neal
Apr 06, 2012 Eugenia O'Neal rated it it was ok
In this saga, women are mostly helpless and passed from man to man, depending on other men to rescue them or marry them while the black characters are depicted as mainly cannon (ok, arrow and axe) fodder. In fact, to anyone who's read the kinds of imperialistic boy's adventure stories churned out by British writers during the late 1800s, the scene with the Panthians would have seemed quite familiar.
P.H. Solomon
Jun 24, 2015 P.H. Solomon rated it really liked it
I've always Gemmell's work and this book was no different. it is high adventure with lots of twists for Druss who is single-minded in rescuing Rowena. Enjoyed the read.
Nov 24, 2012 Todd rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is such a fun book. Well worth reading. I'm reading the the publishing order and it is great to see Gemmell's writing improving over time.
Marco Baier
Feb 10, 2014 Marco Baier rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my all-time favorites, all the more so because it was actually so gripping I read it from start to finish in one day. And I am talking about a busy workday here. Started reading during my lunch and once I came home until I put it down at 4 in the morning.

I love Druss, his uncompromising world view and his adventures. There is a lot of blood and gore, but most memorable were the hardship he and his friends endured over the years. There are few books that satisfy my hunger for
Rob Thompson
Aug 01, 2014 Rob Thompson rated it really liked it
The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend was a novel I picked up almost at random from a second hand bookshop, knowing nothing at all about the rest of the series which it is part of. It was only later that I found out that this was a prequel to the first book, Legend. The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend explores how the Druss became the hero he is. So not a bad place to begin then, I guesses?

The book is an easy read and is driven forward by the main protagonist going on a quest, interspers
Dec 19, 2010 BookMarc rated it really liked it
How far would you go for love? Would you travel across distant lands? Would you destroy all barriers in your way? Or would you just believe that there's more fish in the sea and start over?
'The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend' is a prequel to the novel 'Legend' - the first book in the Drenai series - even though it's book number six in the Drenai series. It's the story of Druss who fails to stop the love of his life being kidnapped by slavers and thus starts his journey of heroism with his
Gemmell nous raconte ici la jeunesse de son héros le plus célèbre ainsi que le cheminement de sa légende. Soit du départ de son petit village jusqu’à la bataille de la passe de Skeln. Dans un style vif, précis et efficace où les points de vue, bien que celui de Druss soit majoritaire, divergent souvent ce qui nous permet de mieux connaître les personnages, Gemmell nous livre ici un très bon roman de fantasy. Les personnages y sont légions et même si la quête principale de Druss est de retrouver ...more
My Inner Shelf
Mar 18, 2008 My Inner Shelf rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Mouais…Je suis partie dans la lecture de ce livre vraiment pleine d’entrain. Espérant moults péripéries échevelées, personnages fouillés, et intrigue palpitante. Finalement, ça ne sort pas du shéma de base : un héros part à la recherche de sa bien-aimée, enlevée et vendue comme esclave. Comble du cliché, le fameux héros est une brute épaisse, un sanguin qu’il ne fait pas bon titiller, rendue tout de même presque sympathique par son amour inconditionnel pour sa femme. Sympathique ou pathétique, j ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Nathan rated it it was ok
A Gemmell book is like a rare steak; delicious, easy to get through and leaves you totally satisfied. Druss, however, seemed like a B-grade cut of meat. It has all the hallmarks of a good Gemmell story but it seemed to meander a bit and throw in so many episodes that the story started a get a little cluttered. I found myself asking "what hasn't Druss seen and done?" Fought raiders? Check! Pirates? Check! Giant fire bears? Check! Boxed in a ring? Check! Killed the ghost of his own grandfather? Ch ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Leif rated it it was ok
I read this when it was first released and I thought it was weak but still a good love story and a flash point for when Druss became the gruff man close to death.

Ah, the ignorance of youth.

I am going to wrap this up in one word. "SOFTLY."

That's right, not only does everyone speak 'softly' or 'whisper', the tension and emotion that SHOULD be there is replaced by mailed in emotional telling, sterile direction, and adverbs out the yang. Granted, that last one might be a personal preference, but it
Jan 08, 2013 Hendrik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly entertaining read.

This is one of Gemmell's great books. Fast paced, with a character that seems like, well, a big dumb woodcutter turned hero. Gemmell's greatness has always been in having vivid characters that grow through the story, and that is the case here. Druss is such a simple character, that he has the chance to really grow through the story, and he meets up with a host of interesting characters along the way.

If you haven't read Gemmell before, then don't start with this book if
Éric Kasprak
Sep 06, 2015 Éric Kasprak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite genre is sword and sorcery and by sword and sorcery I mean Howard's Conan. Well Druss gave me the same happy feeling as reading about Conan's adventure. The action scenes are simply phenomenal and totally gripping. Gemmell is a master at simple yet evocative storytelling and Druss is probably is best manifestation. Non-stop bar fights, boat fights, duel fights, siege fights, demonic plane fights and even full on warfare with a good dose of legendary heroism equals a 5 star book.
Jordan Maywood
Feb 19, 2014 Jordan Maywood rated it it was amazing
A redickulous review of this book on a podcast is available here:

Travails & Travels of Druss


Further down the rabbit hole into the Drenai Saga I explore the origin story of the mighty Druss who both kicks ass as well as takes names. In this Book Bwednesday I discuss:

Chronicles of Druss the Legend by David Gemmel.

Feb 13, 2012 Matt rated it liked it
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would-- while it's true that the title character here and many of the supporting cast are so badass they are kind of ridiculous, the narrator doesn't let them off the hook. For Druss, especially, this being so badass has its drawbacks, most of which are well-developed.

Other high points included the interesting and simmering political situation-- it feels like it's patterned on some real historical moment, it's so developed, but what do I know. There are
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Fantasy Book Club...: First Chronicles of Druss 10 25 Jul 05, 2015 01:22PM  
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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 Drenai Saga (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Legend (The Drenai Saga, #1)
  • The King Beyond the Gate (The Drenai Saga, #2)
  • Waylander (The Drenai Saga, #3)
  • Quest for Lost Heroes (The Drenai Saga, #4)
  • In the Realm of the Wolf (The Drenai Saga, #5)
  • The Legend of Deathwalker (The Drenai Saga, #7)
  • Winter Warriors (The Drenai Saga, #8)
  • Hero in the Shadows (The Drenai Saga, #9)
  • White Wolf (The Drenai Saga, #10)
  • The Swords of Night and Day (The Drenai Saga, #11)

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“Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil.
-The Iron Code of Druss the Legend”
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