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David Gemmel's Waylander
am 10. Januar 2000
The only complaint I would have about this book was that it was not long enough. Gemmel seems to develop the plot and characters at lightening speed, sometimes at the cost of depth. In fact, some of the more well-developed characters in the book were secondary to the plot (for example, Jonat, Kai, and several others). The ending was very disconcerting since I expected about 150 pages more and suddenly, it was over, with a Dragnet-style epilogue.
All that being said, David Gemmel brings back to the fantasy genre something it has sorely missed. In countless other throw-away "epics," authors fling shallow characters and weak plots at us as if we were playing some kind of printed video game. In Waylander, we are treated to characters with enough personality to actually form opinions on them. We grow to like and dislike them on their own merits, rather than through some contrived description.
I especially liked Gemmel's development of the theosophy of Drenai. The conflict between good and evil with some strongly Gnostic flavoring is something everyone can appreciate. The deeds of magic were kept at a dull roar with every one of them requiring little or no suspension of disbelief.
I haven't read any of the other Drenai books, but I intend to based on the strength of Waylander.