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Legend (The Drenai Saga #1)

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  17,984 Ratings  ·  747 Reviews
His name is Druss.

The stories of his life are told everywhere. But the grizzled veteran has spurned a life of fame and fortune and retreated to the solitude of his mountain lair.

His home is Dros Delnoch.

And it is the only route through the mountains for the army laying waste the country around them. Once the stronghold of the Drenai, the fortress of Dros Delnoch will now
Paperback, 337 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Orbit (first published 1984)
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Tom Stacey Not sure if this has been answered (apologies if it has). 'Legend' is a standalone novel, but chronologically it is (technically) the last novel to…moreNot sure if this has been answered (apologies if it has). 'Legend' is a standalone novel, but chronologically it is (technically) the last novel to feature Druss. Set before but written afterwards are 'The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend' and 'The Legend of Deathwalker.'

The other Drenai novels are set at differing times. The only ones I would recommend reading in order are 'Waylander,' 'Waylander II: In the Realm of the Wolf' and 'Hero in the Shadows.' These are set about 600 years before the events of Legend.

Hope this helps.(less)
Grog Wilsnatch The series ended properly, all of David Gemmell's books finished and closed the holes, I wish that he had lived longer and written more books but that…moreThe series ended properly, all of David Gemmell's books finished and closed the holes, I wish that he had lived longer and written more books but that is selfish of me. All of his books I rate 5/5 and reread them periodically (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 01, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never read any David Gemmell until I was already published. And even then, he first came to my attention after someone e-mailed me, saying something along the lines of, "I'm glad someone like you is here to carry on Gemmell's tradition now that he's dead..."

After I got a few more e-mails along a similar line, I went out and bought Legend, read it, and was terribly flattered by the comparison.

Since then, I've actually won the Gemmell award. Which is flattering in its own right. Plus awesome,
Nov 18, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The quality of a book is generally judged by the words in it, in addition to the story. It's not just what you say, how you say it also matters.

If not a complete counter example, Legend is a book where the rule loses its effect. Legend is certainly not the best written book ever, but it is most definitely one of the best books ever written.

David Gemmell never finished school, since he was expelled at the age of sixteen, and the unrefined writing is apparent throughout the book. He struggled
Sep 01, 2016 Conor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, gemmell
This was a masterclass in pulpy, old-school fantasy with all that entails both good and bad. The characters were fairly 1 dimensional, the world-building wasn't particularly unique or inventive and the plot was fairly straight-forward. For most books these would be criticisms and yet for this one it's almost praise: Gemmell seems entirely happy with this formula and he executes it very well. The skillful execution of these reliable tropes combined with the addition of some other nice features ma ...more
Dan Schwent
Apr 13, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Nadir army heads for Dros Delnoch, a keep guarding a mountain pass. Druss the Legend comes out of retirement for one last battle. But even with Rek the baresark and the earl of Delnoch's daughter help Druss and eleven thousand men stand up against an advancing army many times their size?

I'll be honest with you. My brother pushed this on me almost a year ago and I wasn't in a hurry to read it. I've read a few David Gemmell books before and it takes a special book to get me to read Tolkien-esq
In a word, awesome! Druss is now one of my favourite characters. This was my first Gemmell and I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

The multiple point of view was well done and kept things interesting. I liked all of the main characters and enjoyed watching them grow as the book progressed. Gemmell doesn't pull his punches and it was brutal at times which is something I always appreciate. I was hooked from the beginning and my interest didn't falter.

A most enj
Anthony Ryan
Nov 09, 2014 Anthony Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that really put David Gemmell on the map as an exceptional exponent of heroic fantasy. Gemmell's ability to take archetypes and depict them as real people was always one of his greatest strengths, and he succeeds admirably here. Legendary axe-wielding warrior Druss marshals a mis-matched group of Drenai to defend the mighty fortress of Dros Delnoch from the Nadir horde. All the classic Gemmell ingredients are present; gritty action, breathless pace and a depth of characterisation that h ...more
An unfathomably numerous Nadir army heads to the mighty stronghold of Dros Delnoch to either accept surrender or slaughter their defenders. The old legendary warrior Druss known by many names such as Captain of the Ax, the Axman, Deathwalker, and the Silver Slayer comes to Delnoch in search of a worthy fighting death. When he arrives he realizes he can't just fight because the warriors of Dros Delnoch need him to lead.

Much of the tale of Legend seems to revolve around dying well. There are a lot
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 27, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The five star rating is of course a matter of taste.

David Gemmell is (was) one of the most gifted writers of this type of fantasy ever. It's hard to compare him to anyone else as he's sort of in a class by himself. Some compare him to Glenn Cook (whom I also like) but there are only "some" similarities. I suppose if I must come up with a "tag" I'd call Gemmell's work "heroic fantasy", sometimes "dark". While it would be incorrect to say his heroes "always" die, it is true to say that if the stor
Doc Opp
Dec 04, 2007 Doc Opp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The plot is simple. The characters archetypes. The world not terribly unique or innovative. And yet... when you put this book down, you feel inspired to do good, and like anything is possible if you work for it. This is the first of the Gemmell books I ever read. Since then, I've read nearly everything he's written. Every single one has been an engaging, inspiring, and all around fantastic read. And for the life of me I can't figure out why, because none of the elements that comprise it are all ...more
Jun 09, 2013 sologdin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
Nutshell: military dilemma comes to improbable resolution through the intervention of a surly codger who kicks half million kids off lawn.

We know we might be in trouble on the first page with the “slanted eyes” of the foe (1). Trouble is confirmed by “the face was flat and cruel, the eyes dark and slanted” (2). Leader of the enemy is identified as “the Khan” (222).

This enemy is reportedly “half a million tribesmen” (20), and has “more than twice that in camp followers, cooks, engineers, and whor
Jan 27, 2012 Dawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012
Where do I even begin? I just don't get it. I don't get the praise for this book, I don't get the four and five star ratings... I just don't get it.

It's just so stuffed with awful, it's overflowing. It's lucky to be getting two stars from me.. If not for a few (very few) redeeming sections that I actually enjoyed, it wouldn't even pull that. But I mean honestly. Really? Really really?

I don't even know where to start. I mean Rek.. He was just so inconsistent. He's described one way when we meet h
Dec 03, 2012 RuthAnn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adulthood
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Sven
Nov 20, 2012 David Sven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A barbarian horde led by the famous Ulrich, threatens to sweep over the civilised Drenai people. Dros Delnoch is the only fortress left standing between Ulrich and utter annihilation. An anthill in the path of a stampeding herd of elephants.

I didn’t mind this as easy, light reading. Something for the beach. At least, that’s one way to read it. Very light in terms of characterisation and character development. Light on plot elements. Light on world building and magic system. Some passable fight
I don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to this. I've read quite a bit about Druss in the groups here & had the books, but for some reason I put them on my 'read' shelves at home. I noticed this while dusting the other day & the time was right.

This first book seems to be an overview of Druss' career concentrating on the beginning & end with just enough points in the middle to stick them together logically. Many adventures are mentioned in passing & others are simply
May 27, 2013 Evgeny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Drenai Empire (good guys) is threatened by barbarian horde from Nadir (not-so-good guys) where a leader emerged who managed to unite almost all the tribes and wants to conquer his neighbors. The neighbors are not prepared: they have small army and not enough competent commanders. The first fortress which happened to be in the way of barbarian contest is Dros Delnoch; if I understood correctly this is the only fortress capable of delaying the conquest of the Empire. If it falls, the rest will ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Max rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Legend was David Gemmell's first book, and in my humble opinion, his masterpiece. The book tells the story of Druss and his trusted ax Snaga. Druss is the most famed warrior in the land of Drenai, but he has significantly aged while living in his reclusive mountain home. When a letter comes from an old friend foretelling an attack on the stronghold of Dros Delnoch by the savage nomads to the north, Druss decides to pick up his ax and test himself one more time.

The story that follows shows both t
Disappointing; writing started good in the prologue but contemporary dialogue brought it down some; not enough happening; mediocre to poor characters at best; two antagonists fell in love too soon; not believable; too much introspection on the part of the main character for about 45 pages; too much exposition; too much said that wouldn't have been said by people who lived in that time! And, worse, it was explained in dialogue. Check out how George Martin does it!)
4.0 stars. This is the first David Gemmell book that I havee read and I thought it was excellent. A true Heroic fantasy with the emphasis on HERO. The book is full of larger than life characters and none are bigger than Druss the Legend. A fast read, well plotted, never boring and with really good characters. Recommended.
Jan 14, 2016 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Legend in many ways was quite a unique read. At least half the book revolves around the siege of a castle, Dros Delnoch, and the soldiers defending the walls. The other half, or less even, is the gathering of the troops that will defend the walls.

The story has some rather antiquated views of gender, with men being the soldiers and women generally staying out of battle (mostly anyway), and needing defending. Nonetheless the macho atmosphere and themes actually make for a kind of nice escapist fan
Final rating: 6/5 stars


1. This book is LEGEND-wait for it-DARYYYYYYYYYYYY!
2. Seriously, one of the best books i have ever read.
3. The book which is officially my 300th read one.
4. The type of book which i always wanted to read.
5. The one that i will never regret buying.
6. And the one which made me cry like a baby.
7. Look at that unresistable Serbian edition cover which i own:

look at that beautiful cover!!!!

Isn't it beautiful?

Now, i have read a lot of high/epic fantasy and i love many authors like Jor
Aug 30, 2016 Carmine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diecimila contro mezzo milione
Il capolavoro di Gemmel racconta, con un'intensità narrativa spaventosa, la disperata ed eroica resistenza di Dros Delnoch, ultimo baluardo contro l'inarrestabile avanzata dei Nadir.
La narrazione essenziale ed i dialoghi al fulmicotone permettono all'opera di delineare personaggi profondi ed indimenticabili: l'eroe tratteggiato da Gemmel, non esente da debolezze mentali e fisiche, acquista credibilità in tutte le sue contraddizioni, oscillando perpetuamente fra lu
“All things that live must die. Man alone it seems lives all his life in the knowledge of death. And yet there is more to life than merely waiting for death. For life to have meaning, there must be a purpose."

Legenda nije knjiga o ratu niti je knjiga o opsadi, to je knjiga o čoveku. O svakom čoveku koji nastavi da se bori čak i kad je uzaludno i kad nema nade. Gemelovo pripovedanje je predivno i čini da se svaki čovek koji se bori oseća kao Legenda.

Rek you will always be my favourite berserk. &
This had the bones of a heroic tale, but didn’t quite deliver the satisfying story I was craving. First, the romantic relationship that develops between two of the characters didn’t hit any emotional soft spots for me. I liked both the characters, they started out well, and I thought the idea behind their relationship was interesting, but most of their interactions were a bit dry. In the end I felt very little for them as a couple.

Then there were the Thirty, a group of warrior priests with the
Sep 12, 2015 Marko rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epska-fantastika
Jul 08, 2015 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely write reviews, but this book really hooked me so, here goes (no spoilers).

I've been a fantasy reader for 30 years but somehow I missed reading this one back in the days when it came out. Probably I thought it looked/sounded like too much of a "guys" book with all it's warriors and army stuff. And honestly, back then, I wouldn't have liked it.

Today though, wow. I loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the third person omniscient (which I haven't seen done in a while) style, I l

3.5 stars

It is unfortunate in many ways that fantasy is such a popularised genre right now. I think that there is a lot of potential for literary critics or for authors to look at fantasy in a literary way rather than producing books which are generic. Fun, but generic. This is what I see Legend as, a novel which is fast to read and plenty of fun but lacks the depth of some other novels. Yet it must be praised as one of the greats of fantasy for what it introduced in its old and fallen hero retu
Nov 06, 2012 Hanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hanne by: Fantasy Book Club
Shelves: fantasy

This is a fast-paced and enjoyable read. I'm still on the fence whether it's 3 or 4 stars though.

There are some things about the book i really like:
The general storylines are very well constructed and well written. And although i'm normally not the biggest fan in the world of very detailed battle descriptions, Gemmell made them work for me. It was all very strategic too, like a play of chess.

Conceptually, I also liked the 6 walls concept and the psychological interpretation and naming of them.
back to the '80s this was probably top read, but by modern fantasy standards it's at best mediocre
Ahmad Sharabiani
A legend book = Legend (The Drenai Saga #1), David Gemmell
عنوان: اسطوره؛ نویسنده: دیوید گمل؛ مترجم: سهیلا فرزین نژاد؛ تهران، تندیس، 1388؛ در 482 ص؛ شابک: 9789648944518؛ موضوع: داستانهای افسانه و اسطوره ای از نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م
جنگجوی پیر فریاد زد: کجایی مرگ؟ تو این روز قشنگ کجا قایم شدی؟ پژواک صدا در کوهستان غرید ... مرگ، مرگ، مرگ، مرگ ... «من دراس هستم. من تو را به مبارزه میطلبم!» شروع متن کتاب ؛
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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)
  • 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 First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (The Drenai Saga, #6)
  • 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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“What will you do now?'

I think I will become a monk and devote my entire life to prayer and good works.'

No,' said Rek. 'I mean, what will you do today?'

Ah! Today I'll get drunk and go whoring,' said Bowman.”
“By nature of definition only the coward is capable of the highest
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