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Sword in the Storm

(The Rigante #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  10,364 ratings  ·  302 reviews
Fierce and proud, the Rigante dwell deep in the green mountain lands, worshiping the gods of air and water, and the spirits of the earth.  Among them lives a warrior who bears the mark of fate. Born of the storm that slew his father, he is Connavar, and tales of his courage spread like wildfire.

The Seidh--a magical race as old as time--take note of the young warrior and c
Paperback, 439 pages
Published January 30th 2001 by Del Rey (first published 1998)
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Michael Not at all, this book can be read without reading any other David Gemmell books and is a wonderful introduction to his writing style if you haven't re…moreNot at all, this book can be read without reading any other David Gemmell books and is a wonderful introduction to his writing style if you haven't read any of his works at all. Definitely make sure you read Midnight Falcon after it too.(less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  10,364 ratings  ·  302 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this too long ago to review it without a re-read (which is something I want to do ... but ... y'know ... time).

I do remember that I considered it my favourite Gemmell book, edging out Legend and The Lion of Macedon. And I'm a fan of Gemmell's work, so "favourite" means all the stars.

I loved the 2nd book of the trilogy too, but for some reason bounced off the 3rd.
William Gwynne
Full review on BookNest!


“It is said a man doesn’t get old while his mother lives. I think it’s true. You are always a child in her eyes. It is irritating in the extreme. But you know, when they have gone, you’d give the earth just to hear them treating you like a child once more.”

Sword in the Storm is undoubtedly my favourite book that I have read by the renowned David Gemmell. It surpasses even the joy of reading Legend, which is a book I would also recommend to everyone.

It is obviously
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fairly typical fantasy world, but far better done than most. A lot of thoughtful comments & twisty situations leading to a variety of fates. The characters were really well done. As much as I like them, they can make some really bad decisions, but they're very believable bad decisions. A lot of thought went into this & yet it reads quickly & easily. That is the best part. This isn't just a simple story, yet it reads like one. I'm not sure how he manages to do that, but I'm hooked.

I probably had
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing

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 rated it really liked it
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
Clemens Schoonderwoert
This eventful heroic fantasy adventure is the 1st volume of the "Rigante" series from the author, the late, David Gemmell.

Story-telling is of a top-notch quality, the tale is very well structured and executed by the author, and all the characters come wonderfully to life within this gripping adventure.

This series is about Connavar, son of Varracon, a Rigante who's raised by his stepfather and his father's best friend, Ruathain.

At first the tale gives us an account of Connavar's achievements with
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Abandoned at 70%.
It's not a bad book, but there's nothing really gripping about the story and I'm tired of reading mediocre and unoriginal fantasy.
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
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!!!!" ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Well, this is what I've come to expect from Gemmell. A classic story of struggle and heroism well told. A world that has parallels to historical settings with a bit of mysticism discreetly blended in. A protagonist who is an ass-kicking ass-kicker who proves beyond a doubt that he can kick some ass.

And this is where I get off the boat. Maybe I'm old and cynical. Maybe I think too much and feel too little. Maybe I'm too far removed from my 16 year old self. But I just can't buy into this kind of
This is my first read of a Gemmell work and, maybe one of his best, but still I quite understand why hi is so revered and respected in the fantasy literature shelf.

This has a medieval kind of setting with some magic and mythological small creatures, like fauns or fairies, with magical and enhanced weapons, but still you could easily die by falling of a horse, or by a stray arrow. In short, you could look and feel invincible, but there are also other forces at play, so in any moment you don`t hav
Flying Monkey
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
2.5 Stars

Interesting fantasy book, but I didn't love it. It may have been the depth of characters and not really liking or relating to any of them. I'm going to read the 2nd book, Midnight Falcon and I hope the story and characters improve significantly.
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ebooks, 2021
Typical Gemmell. Feels like coming home! :)
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
5 Stars

The Sword in the Storm, book one of the Rigante series by David Gemmell. David Gemmell has been in my to-read queue for more than 30 years. I know that the Drenai series is his most popular one starting with Legend, however the description of this one had me from the start. This is a classic sword and sorcery series that is every bit epic in sense and scope. Magic plays a role here but is not the star.

I really enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. Gemmell gave us great characte
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2013 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

Sword in the Storm, the first book in the Rigante series, takes us to a magical, and wonderful heroic world with Gemmell to travels us through the adventures of young Conavar - a boy that wants to explore the world and, through his adventures, become the leader of his tribe.
It is a really strong and, personally, one of my most favorite of Gemmell's as he takes us in a grand adventure, and with the protagonist growing up through love, sorrow and war. Definitely a very good beginning in the
Gordon Doherty
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A third reading of the book. I ran a poll at the FB group David Gemmell fans and this came second. I wanted to remind myself why.
A good read, excellent worldbuilding and characters. Pacy and quality, typical Gemmell.
Sadra Khalaf
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic start for The Rigante Series.
David Gemmell really knew how to write an epic fantasy that no one could put it down.
It's a classic sword fantasy with presence of magic elements about a boy who grow up to become a king.

Gal Inbar
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Nice, simple, not sure I will continue reading the series. No big surprises along the story, nice background, also not complicated.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We are born alone, and we die alone. In between we may be touched by love, but we are still alone.”

A rousing opening to a historical epic fantasy series based on the northern European clash of expanding Rome with the resident Celtic and Germanic populations. Good characterization and storytelling. Deep point of view of main characters shows all to be flawed, driven and occasionally very wrong. Just like us.

“I’m not saying not to fight. I am saying do not hate. It is not war that leads to murde
Chris Gousopoulos
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of my favorite authors or readers that I appreciate hold Gemmell in really high regard so I said to give him a try. Most of the book I was not impressed and wondered why all the praise. The last quarter of it was really good for me and changed a bit my opinion. I started this with really high expectations, lowered them a lot in the process and ended somewhere in between.
The story is maybe simple, reminiscent of the Celtic/Roman wars, but it is told in a heartfelt way full of rural and old
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book in the Rigante series, which introduces us to Connavar, a hero in the classic mold. The setting is a recognizable but altered Europe and Great Britain, with substitutes for Kelts, Vikings, and various Germanic tribes, as well as an alternate Roman empire. This first book takes Connavar from childhood into early adulthood, and to a leadership role among his people, the Rigante. Excellent character development, excellent action and battle scenes, and a compelling story line, ...more
L.M. Mountford
An enjoyable fantasy world recreation of the Roman invasion of Britan. It's good but it didn't keep my attention and i ended up losing interest about 2/3rds of the way through... ...more
JJ Hassan
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
David Gemmell does write a great hero fantasy. I was a little bit disappointed that, even with some interesting challenges, trips, and falls, the protagonist is a little too "chosen one". The arch villain has some interesting sides to him, but Gemmell has chosen to take the story in a direction in which he is essentially Hitler. As a younger reader, these are the characters I would want; dramatic good vs evil, and a hero to idolise. Nowadays I'm after something a bit more human.

The great parts
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it


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
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.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book over ten years ago and I remember not liking it very much for some reason. Reading it now was a completely different experience. While I could still see some things I didn't particularly like, there was so much more to this book than 15-year-old me got out of it. The setting and world-building were really interesting and so were the Seidh (I love Vorna and the Morrigu's relationship). The idea of a geasa (a prophetic warning and if you break it you'll die) is brilliant and so in ...more
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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 Rigante (4 books)
  • Midnight Falcon (The Rigante, #2)
  • Ravenheart (The Rigante, #3)
  • Stormrider (The Rigante, #4)

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73 likes · 21 comments
“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.” 14 likes
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