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Winter Warriors

(The Drenai Saga #8)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  6,255 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Winged demons gather, silent and unseen, above the city of Usa, their talons long and sharp. Their purpose is clear, as is the prophesy: Upon the deaths of the three kings, the demon riders of the Krayakin will become flesh, free to slake their thirst with human blood - and the stench of evil will cover the land.  

Two of the kings are already dead. For the prophesy to be f
Mass Market Paperback, 339 pages
Published June 6th 2000 by Del Rey (first published April 7th 1997)
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Nathan Jones You don't really miss anything as this book is one of the more stand alones in his drenai saga, personally I recommend reading in the order of release…moreYou don't really miss anything as this book is one of the more stand alones in his drenai saga, personally I recommend reading in the order of release over timeline as I find it satisfying reading a book that then recalls a previous hero or foreshadows the future, but totally up to you.(less)

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Mayim de Vries
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Winter is coming. But the winter warriors are already here.

“Winter Warriors” is the last part of the Drenai Saga proper chronologically set several decades after the events set in the Quest for Lost Heroes, but you can read it as an independent novel without any difficulties in understanding the content. It might be that the series fatigue is finally catching up with me, but when reading I even thought that if I did not know the other volumes, my rating would be higher. Alas, as this is the eigh
Amani Bryant
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
The first contemporary fantasy book I have read that deals heavily with demons without leaving me afraid of the dark. Incredibly well written prose, engaging (I could not put it down), dynamic characters, surprising plotline. This is the first I have read by him, but I'd wager that Gemmel is one of the best when it comes to contemporary fantasy.
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Winter Warriors is another stand-alone book in the Drenai saga, and it is, chronologically, the last one before 'The Damned' sub-series. It is set several decades after Quest for Lost Heroes but, I would say, it can easily stand on its own as Gemmell has made a very beautiful story, taking us into the future, in a world with great wizards, incredible demons and legendary heroes.

Long ago Emsharas, a Windborn sorcerer, banished his race and all the demons to the great Void. But it has be
D.E.M. Emrys
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Two kings are dead – two parts of the prophecy have been fulfilled. The final part, the fate of the third king, rests in the hands of men. Men, who in their prime, stood before the tide of countless battles. But no man had ever stood before a demon.

A queen is hunted by the demons. Though men protect her, they are no longer of their prime. They are not silvered with age, but grey, worn and weary. Three men, heroes of their time. Nogusta the Swordsman, Kebra the Bowman, and Bison the brute.
The ch
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Like the majority of David Gemmell's books, I originally read this one when I was a kid. It instantly became one of my favorite Gemmell books behind Legend, Waylander, and a few others. After re-reading this book, however, I have to wonder whether this book may have actually been his masterpiece.

Set a couple centuries past the time of Druss, 3 elderly soldiers are being dismissed from the army due to their age. Meanwhile, a demon is trying to open a gateway between the two worlds. The final step
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
The best David Gemmell starter book you'll find. A quintessential standalone fantasy novel, and one of the best I've ever read.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the completely new story I found here. Often with Gemmell, his plots share similarities but here, barely at all. It has no central romantic storyline or moral, it follows the fate of only the littlest king but more so a young commoner, and I argue the story is his. Yes, there are the loyal heroes, yes, they are brutal and lovable and flawed and delicious, but the story is much less about them.

Focused on themes of fatherhood, bec
Ian Banks
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, fantasy

Seriously, if you're after an introduction to the way Mr Gemmell writes you really couldn't go past this one: it's pretty much a textbook example of everything that's great about his writing with very few of the flaws you find in some of his other books. It has an exciting story, characters that make you feel complex emotions, some continuity porn (but not enough that you feel out of your depth) and he mixes his newer theme of friendship between comrades at arms despite background differences wi

Dave van der Kuyp
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't think there is another writer that can bring this amount of vivid adventure into one small book and make it just as epic as if it were a three-book series. Winter Warriors was a delight to read (for the second time). Each character only had so many pages for an introduction, but damn me straight to hell if it wasn't enough to make me believe in them.

For some reason I haven't quite figured out yet Gemmell had the talent of telling stories that would require three or more books from most
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid fantasy story, a good standalone. I liked the characters- Kebra and Ulmentha especially. I never connected fully with the characters, always at an arms length. The demons made great villains though. One thing that annoyed me was the continued reference to Ulmentha’s weight (in a derogatory way), and referencing Nogusta as “the black man” every two seconds. It’s not a fantasy term, and I barely know what the other warriors look like, so why keep mentioning it? A good story overall.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

I have really enjoyed revisiting this book/series. I chose this series as part f my reading challenge for this year, and as a buddy read with one of my colleagues. Even though the first book in the series was released in 1984 (and the latest in 2000) the series has pretty much stood the test of time. It is a fantastic action adventure fantasy- with superb characters and brilliant world building, which brings the whole story/series to life.
I have fond memories of discovering this series an
Apr 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This book could have been better. It had a decent plat. But the author is a jackass who wants you to know that you can only be beautiful if you are skinny and his reader's are too stupid to remember that Nogusta is black.

Read this is you are looking for garbage, but there are much better high fantasy authors out there, alive or dead. (I get that the author is dead, he's still a bad writer).
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The ending really pushed it up to 3☆
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winter Warriors is a stand-alone book in the Drenai saga. Gemmell has made a very beautiful story, taking us into the future, in a world with great wizards, incredible demons and legendary heroes. It deals heavily with demons without leaving the reader afraid of the dark.

Long ago Emsharas, a Windborn sorcerer, banished his race and all the demons to the great Void. But it has been prophesied that when three kings die the long banished demons will once again return to this world. Now, with the Em
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drenai-saga
This was my second time through this book, and it's better than I remembered. No surprises for Gemmell fans, but there is the usual assortment of hard men with hearts of gold (sometimes buried deep) who are hurled into danger alongside the helpless.

Some familiar beats, like heroes whose personal lives you may not be fond of, young folks learning that the legends they emulate and revere are both less and more than they believed, and incredible skill at arms from people who should be past it by no
Tori Zieger
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gemmell is hands down my favorite author, and I think this is one of his best books. Though linked to the Drenai world, it's a stand alone story. Gemmell's ability to create an immersive world is astounding, and I can't help but get drawn in. He writes flawed but empathetic characters. They're very clearly human in a genre that tends to lean towards fantastical characters. Even the uniquely powerful, those that have some inherent skill that sets them above the rest, are written in a way that sti ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really like this book.
I actually really like the characters in this book. The storyline is secondary and it's enjoyable, but the diversity of characters and their reasons for finding themselves amongst the minority of those that would stand against evil is why I liked this book so much. Nogusta is fantastic but Kebra is by far my favourite with his quiet ways and wise words. I didn't feel much for Axiana, there unfortunately wasn't much to love there but the Winter Warriors more than made up
Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
Probably my second favorite David Gemmell Book after Legend.

Winter Warriors follows the story of three heroes, well past their primes, that must lend their collective prowess to protecting the infant heir to the throne.

A very engaging story with some really good characters. It has much the same theme and feel as Legend, where heroes are shown as being flawed mortal men, and yet made larger than life by their refusal to give up.

Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of his best.

I have been reading my through the series I started with rigante. I loved, especially midnight falcon. Then stared this drenai series. Dress obviously dominates most stories but this was probably my favourite in the series which surprised me as I thought it was going to be the worst.

Great characters(I like the flaws in hero's) great story and so well written. It managed to surprise me time and again throughout. Would highly recommend.
Robert Chandler
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Just finished this at the recommendation of a friend. This was my first Gemmell book and I really enjoyed it. Great stand alone fantasy novel. While the heroes are fairly archetypical I still found them to have depth and complexity. If you're looking for a good action fantasy read then this book is for you. Looking forward to reading more of Gemmell's work
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As always, the last chapter is the one that I am most looking forward to, because the whole story is answered and resolved in it. That is such a skill. I loved the characters - my favourite being Bison and Kebra....honor, and trust, love and's all here. Gemmell is a force to be reckoned with.
Chloe Goros
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when I was about 10 or 11 years old. It was an amazing ride at that age, and it opened my eyes to how amazing reading and writing could be. I re read it and felt the same. Four soldiers fight to save the world, and come across obstacle after obstacle. It’s a quick paced action fantasy and it will make you fall in love with the world of the Drenai
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a new type of story from David Gemmell. I enjoyed it immensely. It had the same style and character development that I love about Gemmell, but was in a completely new type of story. An incredible page-turner.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favourite in the series, intense and surprising
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Gemmell cements himself as one of my favorite authors with this one.
It is an epic tale that remains surprisingly grounded, considering the antagonists are demons from another plane of existence, struggling to return to the physical realm.
In this book, Gemmell's portrayal of all the characters is excellent, though I especially enjoy the interactions between the younger characters and the three central older members of the cast, who have not only wisdom to pass on but things to learn.
Geoff Battle
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Winter Warriors is more akin to the Dragons series of books by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman. There are prophecies, evil wizards, treacherous demons, a city befouled, and lots of protagonists to follow. Whereas Gemmell's work is usually tight and grounded in war, Winter Warriors definitely follows a different path. The plot is somewhat unoriginal, however Gemmell is a masterful author and ensures the characters are well defined (for some have appeared in a previous Drenai tale) and the relations ...more
Sean Helms
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nobody is better than Gemmell when it comes to chemistry between his characters.
Three old soldiers find themselves on a final and self-appointed mission to not only save a queen and her newborn son from a demon bent on their sacrifice, but also the world of humanity. Bloodied and harried to a long abandoned city they discover unexpected allies and there they make a final stand in the face of impossible odds.
A bittersweet albeit satisfying ending. A thoroughly enjoyable read and nothing less th
John Mowbray
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read this one multiple times, so naturally, I thought I'd read it again.

The story is based around 3 warriors past their prime; one trying to hold onto his youth, another coming to terms that he may not be the best at what he does anymore and the last just trying to be good, like he always has.

Despite getting older, weaker and slower, the world once more rests on their shoulders and they need to what they can to save it.

Gemmell is my favourite author, so I may be biased, but I'd give this 4.
Julie D'Arcy
I have read this book a couple of times and each time I am reminded why.
This time I listened to it on Audible.
Another great novel by my favorite author of all time. David Gemmell's characters leap off of the page. I loved listening to this novel. Shawn Baret is an amazing performer and his voice is perfect for this book and all the other Dreni novels.
Sadly this is the last Dreni novel and Gemmell's other novels have a different reader.

I had a little cry in this book.
The characters are so re
Tiberiu Pana
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
End of the year and I've decided to end all of delaying and finish reading the Drenai Saga books, which I've done in their chronological order.

In a way this book ends the normal timeline, as the next book takes a very big leap forward in time. It truly has a sense of finality when you come towards the end of the book and makes you wonder what could come next...but if you read Dune and paid attention to a certain ending of a previous book in this saga, you can guess what comes next.
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Goodreads Librari...: please add book cover 3 14 Jul 12, 2020 10:50PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Winter Warriors [Aug 2018] 10 37 Sep 03, 2018 08:25PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: Winter Warriors-Drenai #8 12 25 Aug 17, 2015 08:16PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect Publish Date [Winter Warriors] 2 17 Mar 25, 2013 12:35PM  

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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

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 First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (The Drenai Saga, #6)
  • The Legend of Deathwalker (The Drenai Saga, #7)
  • 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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