Monday, January 27, 2014

Review of Lord of the Silver Bow By David Gemmell

Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Writing 4/5
Imagination 4/5
Plot 4.5/5
Setting 4/5
Characters 5/5

Overall Enjoyment 3.5/5

David Gemmell is one of my all time favorite authors so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this book. This book is a bit different than most of his other works such as the Drenai series(Legend)in that it falls better into the historical fiction genre rather than gritty epic fantasy. Although the historicity of the city of Troy is much disputed as are the stories The Iliad & The Odyssey I don't see this as historical fantasy, 1) because of the lack of magical and supernatural elements and 2)the largely geographically and anthropologically accurate elements. That being said, this is an excellent story about events before The Iliad and icludes many of the wonderful characters from that story including Odysseus, Kings Priam and Agamemnon, Paris, Hektor, Helikaon (Aeneas), Andromache, and Helen comes in near the end. Two of the main story lines include that of Andromache and Helikaon, the latter I enjoyed much more. Perhaps that is because I loved The Aeneid so much it was fun to learn more about Aeneas. Odysseus was an excellent character but his story ended about halfway through; too soon. As usual, the character building was excellent and it was interwoven with battles and violence but I thought this book was slower going than past Gemmell books. It really took me quite awhile to get into this story but to be fair I just started my blog and that took up a lot of time. The last 1/3 was action packed, filled with Gemmell trademark violence and action.

An interesting conversation took place between Helikaon and Gershom. This is the highlight of that conversation-"Osiris is the hero god, the lord of light. Set is his brother, a creature vile and depraved. They are in a constant war to the death. My grandfather told me of them when I was young. He said that we carry Osiris and Set struggling within us. All of us are capable of great compassion and love or hatred and horror. Sadly, we can take joy from both.”
“I know that is true,” said Helikaon. “I felt it as those sailors burned. The memory of it is shameful.” The sentence "Sadly, we can take joy from both”, as does the whole conversation, speaks volumes to me about the grimdark genre and why it plays on a readers emotions so strongly as compared to other works of fantasy. There is a conflict between good and evil, love and hate, which we play out on a daily basis and this conflict is a feature I have seen in most of the grimdark books I have read. While it's obvious grimdark leans heavily toward the "hatred and horror" aspects, they also contain elements of the heroic, and the good.

Recommended for historical fiction, historical fantasy, ancient mythology, and The Iliad and Odyssey fans. Grimdark readers should enjoy this but I recommend they start with the Drenai books first.

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2 comments:

Nathan (@reviewbarn) said...

Gemmell is one of my biggest lapses when it comes to old author's I have not read. I fully plan to read Legend at some point this year.

If that works I could come back to this one, I have many fond memories of The Iliad.

philip witvliet said...

Nathan,

Waylander is also an excellent Gemmell book to start with. They are both amazing. I too, have fond memories of The Iliad. I keep planning to reread it (I have read it at least 5 times) but I just have too much to read! This is my favorite translation The Iliad