BookMarc's Reviews > Winter Warriors

Winter Warriors by David Gemmell
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Mar 19, 11

Read from February 23 to March 14, 2011

Now that, my friends, is a book cover. I love great art on the cover of a novel and, in my mind, Winter Warriors certainly falls into that category. If being picky I would have the bird removed but as it has a significance in the story it's fine where it is.
Winter Warriors is the tale of three ageing warriors who are thrust to the forefront of a fight against demonic forces. Those forces, to be unleashed upon the world in all their evil fury, need the sacrificial blood of three kings. The first two come easily but the third is who the story revolves around.
The third king is actually heir to the throne as he is yet to be born when the novel begins. The three warriors Nogusta who is a great swordsman, Kebra the Bowman and Bison the giant vow to protect the unborn child and his mother, the queen, with their lives. Do they succeed?
As any regular visitors to my blog know I love David Gemmell's work. This novel was no exception and it is of course filled with all of Gemmell's hallmarks such as main characters who are easy to relate to, great dialogue, heroic deeds, joy and despair. Yes, despair. He always gets me with the despair and it's very rare I read a Gemmell novel without tears welling up in my eyes at one point or another. It takes a great talent to get me emotionally invested in a novel and great talent is something the author certainly had. I say "had" in the past tense as David Gemmell passed away back in 2006.
If you like a supernatural element in your novels then you will find magic, sorcery, demons and spiritual possession within these pages. The story itself would not have worked anywhere near as well without those supernatural elements and so it forms the backbone of the story itself.
As much as I loved Winter Warriors I wasn't reading it with blinkers on and there were a few things I didn't like. Firstly, it took a while for the story to drag me in as it focused too much on building up the characters at the beginning - around the first quarter of the book was used to lay the foundation of the story. That paid off in the end when the story reached a climax and I didn't know who was going to die or who was going to survive but the beginning didn't need to be as fleshed out as much as it was. Also, the main city is called Usa, as in oo-sar, but due to conditioning I read it as the name of the country. Perhaps that can be seen as the fault of the reader but I think most people seeing Usa would read it as the abbreviation for United States of America and, for me at least, that kept pulling me out of the story whenever I read it.
Overall though this was a magical tale of great quality and wonderful story telling. It was the type of book that left me sad once it had ended and made it difficult to start reading something new.
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