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Chaos and terror stalked the realm. The king had been slain by traitors, and the sword of power had been lost beyond the Circle of Mist. Armies of Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and Brigantes cut a gory swath across the land, led by puppets of the ruthless Witch Queen--whose minions included dark, bloodthirsty creatures and a savage, undead warrior. All hope lay with young Thuro--i Chaos and terror stalked the realm. The king had been slain by traitors, and the sword of power had been lost beyond the Circle of Mist. Armies of Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and Brigantes cut a gory swath across the land, led by puppets of the ruthless Witch Queen--whose minions included dark, bloodthirsty creatures and a savage, undead warrior. All hope lay with young Thuro--in whose veins flowed the blood of kings. He would have to defeat the Witch Queen's monsters and travel to the land of the Mist, there to seek a ghostly army. And the only one who could prepare Thuro to achieve his birthright was the mountain warrior Culain, the one man who knew the queen's deadly secret . . . The legend of the mystic Stones of Power begins with a tale of blood and glory, of love and betrayal, as a boy must come of age amidst the seemingly impossible quest to become the High King.


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Chaos and terror stalked the realm. The king had been slain by traitors, and the sword of power had been lost beyond the Circle of Mist. Armies of Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and Brigantes cut a gory swath across the land, led by puppets of the ruthless Witch Queen--whose minions included dark, bloodthirsty creatures and a savage, undead warrior. All hope lay with young Thuro--i Chaos and terror stalked the realm. The king had been slain by traitors, and the sword of power had been lost beyond the Circle of Mist. Armies of Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and Brigantes cut a gory swath across the land, led by puppets of the ruthless Witch Queen--whose minions included dark, bloodthirsty creatures and a savage, undead warrior. All hope lay with young Thuro--in whose veins flowed the blood of kings. He would have to defeat the Witch Queen's monsters and travel to the land of the Mist, there to seek a ghostly army. And the only one who could prepare Thuro to achieve his birthright was the mountain warrior Culain, the one man who knew the queen's deadly secret . . . The legend of the mystic Stones of Power begins with a tale of blood and glory, of love and betrayal, as a boy must come of age amidst the seemingly impossible quest to become the High King.

30 review for Ghost King

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Ionson

    So I am a diehard Gemmell fan. But there's a problem with these 2 books when I compare it in the light of, say, his 2 Lion of Macedon books. While Gemmell always has a lightning pace, these King Arthur books feel downright rushed. I don't know why. There is so much that he could have unpacked, so many interesting threads that he could have spent time on. Instead it felt like he rushed these books, depriving us of a richer tale. However, they still beat the majority of Fantasy published today, so So I am a diehard Gemmell fan. But there's a problem with these 2 books when I compare it in the light of, say, his 2 Lion of Macedon books. While Gemmell always has a lightning pace, these King Arthur books feel downright rushed. I don't know why. There is so much that he could have unpacked, so many interesting threads that he could have spent time on. Instead it felt like he rushed these books, depriving us of a richer tale. However, they still beat the majority of Fantasy published today, so... 4 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    Okay, generally I find Gemmell’s books to be fairly fun; standard fantasy, with enough interesting characters, twists or references to keep me interested. And you’d think this one would be especially so, since it’s basically about King Arthur (albeit as a young boy). Maybe it’s the fact that this was one of the earliest of Gemmell’s books (as far as I can tell from publication dates), but it really, really didn’t work for me. There was that same moreishness about it in some ways, but I kept gett Okay, generally I find Gemmell’s books to be fairly fun; standard fantasy, with enough interesting characters, twists or references to keep me interested. And you’d think this one would be especially so, since it’s basically about King Arthur (albeit as a young boy). Maybe it’s the fact that this was one of the earliest of Gemmell’s books (as far as I can tell from publication dates), but it really, really didn’t work for me. There was that same moreishness about it in some ways, but I kept getting distracted by the tone, which bounced all over the place. Serious teenage crushes to slightly ridiculed slave/master relationships in a single bound… It’s great that there’s a disabled protagonist. It’s great that in that sex scene between him and the slave, she feels that she has control over the situation. It’s less great that one encounter with the maimed comic relief hero is enough to cure her of her fears and trauma about rape, but that’s a personal bugbear of mine. One good experience doesn’t cancel out one bad experience, people! It’s something like a one-to-five ratio, more like! Anyway, maybe it was that irreverent tone that got to me. The liberal mixing of mythologies (a guy was a proto-Arthur figure, he was also Ares, there might be a link intended with Cú Chulainn, throw in some Babylonian mythology too, and a dollop of Gemmell’s own mythology as well…) really didn’t work: it’s not that I’m fundamentally opposed to it (hell, if you dig into it, that’s exactly what J.R.R. Tolkien did), but it didn’t work. It felt thrown together. I’m not gonna read the sequel; it’s due back at the library anyway, and may the next borrower have more joy of it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Pang

    Gemmell is a great story teller, period. I am a big fan of his Drenai Saga (11 books) and this series is just as good. If this series continues the way it is, I will probably say that not only am I a fan of the Drenai Saga, but a fan of all things Gemmell. An alternate take on Arthurian legend, the Ghost King is a coming of age story. Gemmell deftly blends sword and sorcery with a touch of historical fiction. (The character development is a little sudden, but I think can be attributable to: 1) Ge Gemmell is a great story teller, period. I am a big fan of his Drenai Saga (11 books) and this series is just as good. If this series continues the way it is, I will probably say that not only am I a fan of the Drenai Saga, but a fan of all things Gemmell. An alternate take on Arthurian legend, the Ghost King is a coming of age story. Gemmell deftly blends sword and sorcery with a touch of historical fiction. (The character development is a little sudden, but I think can be attributable to: 1) Gemmell stressing that hard times bring about great changes in great people quickly and 2) his books are generally faster paced - shorter in length than some "lengthy tomes" we can across when reading fantasy). If you (like myself) have enjoyed Gemmell's other fantasy books, this book will not disappoint. On its own, any fan of fantasy can appreciate this as a solid book that is worthy of a read. (Plus, if you like it, there are more books in the series you don't have to wait for!)

  4. 4 out of 5

    A Turtles Nest Book Reviews

    Hook, Line, and Sinker! I am now hooked on David Gemmal. I couldn't put it down, he actually takes you back in time. And who doesn't love the time of gods and goddesses? 5 stars Mr. Gemmal, Well done! Hook, Line, and Sinker! I am now hooked on David Gemmal. I couldn't put it down, he actually takes you back in time. And who doesn't love the time of gods and goddesses? 5 stars Mr. Gemmal, Well done!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    GHOST KING is the first in a long-running series of Gemmell books, the 'Stones of Power' books as opposed to the 'Drenai' saga. I knew it was a slim book and would be one I read very quickly. I also knew I would enjoy it a lot, superficially at least. The thing about being a Gemmell fan is the joy of knowing what to expect. Most of the author's books are written to a specific formula. There will be rampaging, unstoppable armies ravaging a rural landscape. On their side will be witches and wizards GHOST KING is the first in a long-running series of Gemmell books, the 'Stones of Power' books as opposed to the 'Drenai' saga. I knew it was a slim book and would be one I read very quickly. I also knew I would enjoy it a lot, superficially at least. The thing about being a Gemmell fan is the joy of knowing what to expect. Most of the author's books are written to a specific formula. There will be rampaging, unstoppable armies ravaging a rural landscape. On their side will be witches and wizards, able to summon evil were-creatures and monstrous beasts. In this book, for instance, are sinister vampire types, hulking feral cats, a half-human bear and a few werewolves thrown in for good measure. Pitted against them will be unlikely heroes. Most don't see themselves as heroes. Some are, in fact, villains, only to redeem themselves in surprising twists. There will be awkward love affairs and a big cast list, many of whom will bite the dust before the novel's climax. There will also be standing stones which are able to teleport characters to different dimensions, one of which is usually known as the 'Void', an eerie, Hellish landscape full of the stuff of twisted nightmares. GHOST KING plays to type. The influences on this are wide ranging. It's fantasy, but loosely based on a post-Roman Britain at the mercy of barbarian hordes. Some of the characters are from Arthurian legend. Others seem to be immortals, who have lived the lives of many heroes, a lot of them Greek. The pacing is super fast and despite the plethora of armies, characters and dimensions, I kept track of everything that was going on. The action and battle scenes are also typically fine and strongly written. So, once again, no surprises in this book, just solid, old-fashioned escapism. I'll be on the look out for the sequel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Reimagining Arthur 4 January 2017 Now that I have finished this book I am wondering whether this is the first book in the Sipstrassi series, or whether it was Wolf in Shadow. I was just about to start reading Wolf in Shadow when I noticed on Goodreads that it was actually book number three. I remember reading it years ago, and I believe I actually read Wolf in Shadow before this one, but I suspect that was because of the order in which it was written. Well, now that decades have passed since the Reimagining Arthur 4 January 2017 Now that I have finished this book I am wondering whether this is the first book in the Sipstrassi series, or whether it was Wolf in Shadow. I was just about to start reading Wolf in Shadow when I noticed on Goodreads that it was actually book number three. I remember reading it years ago, and I believe I actually read Wolf in Shadow before this one, but I suspect that was because of the order in which it was written. Well, now that decades have passed since they were first published, I can now read them in chronological order as opposed to the order in which they were written. Then again, I have stuffed up a bit because the two books on Alexander the Great were, not surprisingly, set before this one. Anyway, this is Gemmel's take on the King Arthur legend. It was a good one, don't get me wrong, but it was still just another interpretation. Then again, I probably shouldn't be surprised since the story is actually pretty popular, and the fact that there is no actual set story means that one can switch and change the story as they see fit. In fact, Arthur doesn't even appear in the story, but then again Gemmel does an excellent job of turning the names of the major characters in the legend into names that actually fit quite well in the setting that he created, which happens to be the period just before the fall of the Roman empire where Rome still has a tenuous hold on Britain, but is pretty much on the verge of pulling out. I should mention that while the legend has Uther as Arthur's father, Gemmel's take on this is that Uther and Arthur are actually one and the same person. There are actually two stories woven into one, which once again is really, really clever, and in my mind makes for a really engaging read. Then again, a lot of novels use the technique of having multiple plots, however Ghost King works like the Shakespearian concept of the play within a play. So, we have this child Thuro, who is the son of the King of Britain, and has been taken north of Haridan's wall with his father in an attempt to make peace with the king there. However, his father is killed, but he manages to escape. He stumbles across a young lady and her guardian, and is then trained to become a king. However, this is only the start of the story, as they are then forced to flee, and they jump through a gate into another world to discover that it is under the thrall of a witch queen. Yep, that's correct – in this version of Roman Britain there is magic, dragons, and vampires (for want of a better word, though they are actually call soul stealers). The gods are also real, though in reality they aren't actually gods they are just very naughty children. The concept is that these people discovered stones known as the sipstrassi, which can be used to perform feats of magic, but can also be drained. These people thus use the sipstrassi not only to become immortal, but to also create, and to destroy. So, they have been interacting with humanity since the beginning of civilisation, guiding them, and also playing with them. As such, they have become the gods, and heroes, from myth and legend. However, while I'm not too concerned with them being known as the gods such as Athena, Zeus, and Ares, I did get somewhat annoyed when they also claimed to be the heroes of old as well. In a way that doesn't really sit all that well with me. In my mind, the heroes were humans, and should have remained as humans, so when one of them claimed to have been Paris, it put me off somewhat. Honestly, he should have just stayed as the god of war, and it would have worked just as well. The thing that really caught my attention that I didn't pick up all those years ago when I read it were the references to the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Then again I suspect that that was because I read this before I started university, and before I became familiar with the likes of Plutarch and Crassus. Sure, I had heard of Paris, and of the Trojan War, but I hadn't heard of the intricacies of the Greco-Roman era, and as such while the book was entertaining when I first read it, there were a lot of things that I had missed. Now, I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but this book isn't historical fiction – it is fantasy set in our world. As Gemmel says at the opening, it isn't supposed to be an historical account of the King Arthur legend (if it is actually possible to have an historical recount considering that it lies in the mists of legend, and one academic account I read suggested that is was nothing more that a Briton warlord who was a little more effective than all the other warlords), but rather what it should have been, and in a way a lot more exciting to boot. Anyway, there is a sequel which I plan on reading before I move onto the Jerusalem man, and he has set up the cuckolding of King Arthur quite well. Then again, he has also given me more of a motivation to start reading Plutarch's lives. Oh, and the Lady of the Lake interpretation was also pretty cool.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex Jones

    I was a huge fan of David Gemmell a few years ago, but then stopped reading his books so often because I was running out of them and I didn't want to stop having new books of his to read. However, over New Year I decided I was in the mood for some nostalgia so collected this book from my shelf and finished it within a couple of days. It was exactly as fantastic as I remember. David Gemmell's writing is not going to shatter your world, it is functional and definitely engrossing, but nothing more t I was a huge fan of David Gemmell a few years ago, but then stopped reading his books so often because I was running out of them and I didn't want to stop having new books of his to read. However, over New Year I decided I was in the mood for some nostalgia so collected this book from my shelf and finished it within a couple of days. It was exactly as fantastic as I remember. David Gemmell's writing is not going to shatter your world, it is functional and definitely engrossing, but nothing more than that. However, everything else in his books manages to be astoundingly good. The plot is compelling, here excellently weaving classical history with Gemmell's own world(s), and with enough twists and turns that I never quite knew what to expect. The world is fascinating and I really want to read the sequel to find more about it. Best of all are the characters, who are the real reason I love Gemmell's books so much. They have all the depth and moral complexity of George R. R. Martin's whilst at the same time there are still clear heroes and villains who you root for. Quite how Gemmell pulls this off I'm not sure, but it works astonishingly well for me. Read it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Another alternate take on the Arthurian legend, set during the end of the Roman empire, with quite a bit of magic and mysticism. The first half of the book is stronger and more interesting. The second half feels rushed and abbreviated. Additionally, the characters change a bit too much--it feels as if the characters are being forced to become the characters of Arthurian legend, rather than it being a natural evolution.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Campbell

    Meh. This one was distinctly unremarkable. I skimmed the last third.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    The myths explored in this book are fantastic. I remember reading this book because it was written by Gemmell and it wasa King Arthur retelling, but I had clearly forgotten how many other myths were being brought up and just how interesting that made this book. I love how Gemmell combined the Arthurian legend with Greek myths, the epic of Gilgamesh, the Legion of the Ninth etc. and then his own fantastical and magical elements. There were a just a couple of reasons I didn't give this five stars. The myths explored in this book are fantastic. I remember reading this book because it was written by Gemmell and it wasa King Arthur retelling, but I had clearly forgotten how many other myths were being brought up and just how interesting that made this book. I love how Gemmell combined the Arthurian legend with Greek myths, the epic of Gilgamesh, the Legion of the Ninth etc. and then his own fantastical and magical elements. There were a just a couple of reasons I didn't give this five stars. One, I've never been a fan of the whole Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot triangle. I just don't think that's for me. And two, Uther/Thuro and Laitha are just a bit lacking as main characters. I found myself way more interested in everyone else and the general plot than I was invested in them. It's still a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    J.P. Harker

    In fairness, I'd love to give this a 3.5. I grew up on David Gemmell books and this wasn't bad by any stretch, but it just wasn't up to his usual standard. Looking at the dates, this was written a lot earlier than most of my favourites of his and I suspect he was still developing and polishing his style. There was still plenty about this which was good, with some classic adventuring, good research, good world-building and some deep thinking behind it. While, in my humble opinion, it can't matc In fairness, I'd love to give this a 3.5. I grew up on David Gemmell books and this wasn't bad by any stretch, but it just wasn't up to his usual standard. Looking at the dates, this was written a lot earlier than most of my favourites of his and I suspect he was still developing and polishing his style. There was still plenty about this which was good, with some classic adventuring, good research, good world-building and some deep thinking behind it. While, in my humble opinion, it can't match the standard of the Rigante books or the Lion of Macedon, Ghost King is still a worthwhile read and I shall certainly keep an eye out for Last Sword of Power

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    An interesting take on the Arthurian legend. Well thought through and well written - but felt far, far too short.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marc Littleton

    Great read! I really enjoyed how Gemmell slipped Arthurian lore into the story. I always carried a low opinion of Uther Pendragon until now. Thanks again DG!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Scott Kaelen

    Ghost King opened with a character named Gwalchmai, and I muttered to myself, “What’s he doing here? He was in Ironhand’s Daughter!” I read on, expecting some clever twist that would explain the two Gwalchmais were really one person... but the twist never came. Reusing a name is a huge turn-off when there’s no pay-off. That aside, Ghost King was quite a good read, a few notches above Ironhand’s Daughter in terms of readabiltyI finished it and started the sequel, “Last Sword of Power”. By now I've Ghost King opened with a character named Gwalchmai, and I muttered to myself, “What’s he doing here? He was in Ironhand’s Daughter!” I read on, expecting some clever twist that would explain the two Gwalchmais were really one person... but the twist never came. Reusing a name is a huge turn-off when there’s no pay-off. That aside, Ghost King was quite a good read, a few notches above Ironhand’s Daughter in terms of readabiltyI finished it and started the sequel, “Last Sword of Power”. By now I've read most Gemmell novels, and yet still some things puzzle me... [MILD SPOILER ALERT] The "Witch Queen" who is the main adversary in Ghost King is also mentioned in Ironhand's Daughter as someone who came through a portal from another dimension in the past. She is also (if memory serves) a character in White Wolf - the first Damned novel by Gemmell. Whether this is the same character or not, I have no idea, but I'm inclined to go with the "Gwalchmai Paradox" in that there is no relation but merely a reused name.) [END OF SPOILER] I wouldn't say the two Stones of Power novels are as good as the other three Sipstrassi books about the Jerusalem Man, but Ghost King + Last Sword are definitely worth reading. Don't expect to love them like you might a Drenai novel, but equally they won't leave you feeling empty like Ironhand's Daughter, Echoes of the Great Song, or Dark Moon. The bottom line is that Ghost KIng is a page-turner. Once you've started, it won't be long before you finish it and move on to the sequel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dimitris

    Although a fan of David Gemmell's books, I found Ghost King to be somewhat disappointing. Maybe it's the fact that I've recently finished the Rigante books or that Ghost King is one of the first books by Gemmell but I found it lacking. Gemmell has some recurring aspects in his books, that although they repeat in most books, he manages to make you like them each time. Redemption, sacrifice, war, loss make Gemmell's characters flawed but interesting. Ghost King did not have any such character. The Although a fan of David Gemmell's books, I found Ghost King to be somewhat disappointing. Maybe it's the fact that I've recently finished the Rigante books or that Ghost King is one of the first books by Gemmell but I found it lacking. Gemmell has some recurring aspects in his books, that although they repeat in most books, he manages to make you like them each time. Redemption, sacrifice, war, loss make Gemmell's characters flawed but interesting. Ghost King did not have any such character. The most interesting ones were secondary characters, while the main characters felt a bit generic and unimpressive. Moreover, the story although being an interesting idea as an alternate King Arthur version, soon got a bit too complicated and a bit boring. If you want to start reading Gemmell's books maybe it's a nice start, but if you have read some of the others it is not really worth it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Myra

    On one hand, good setup for a pretty standard fantasy adventure coming-of-age thing. On the other hand, I REALLY don't care all the million alternate names/mythologies the god/magician characters had. Kind of a fun thought experiment I guess, but just... nothing to do with the current story. And I got tired of the perspective-switching in the middle of paragraphs (where we are in a new character's head and he's talking about the unknown 'boy' who is suddenly referred to as Thuro... when he hasn' On one hand, good setup for a pretty standard fantasy adventure coming-of-age thing. On the other hand, I REALLY don't care all the million alternate names/mythologies the god/magician characters had. Kind of a fun thought experiment I guess, but just... nothing to do with the current story. And I got tired of the perspective-switching in the middle of paragraphs (where we are in a new character's head and he's talking about the unknown 'boy' who is suddenly referred to as Thuro... when he hasn't introduced himself yet). I laughed twice, and the guy with the bad leg was a good, practical character. With no secret special past or identity (like darn near everyone else). Otherwise... meh. Got bored. Sick of Thuro and Laitha and the way they treated each other. I read Gemmell's Legend book and that was at least entertaining.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Denae Christine

    Basically, this started off really well. I liked the weak prince idea and the plot that went awry and the stories following the fleeing guards and the crippled hunstman. Then, the book went wrong when it became too adulty. I don't mind a little murder, even war, but adultery in books is unecessary. The massive massacres of so many was irksome, though fit. I like how Goroien defeated herself. I liked reading about the young characters and didn't appreciate them suddenly turning around and acting li Basically, this started off really well. I liked the weak prince idea and the plot that went awry and the stories following the fleeing guards and the crippled hunstman. Then, the book went wrong when it became too adulty. I don't mind a little murder, even war, but adultery in books is unecessary. The massive massacres of so many was irksome, though fit. I like how Goroien defeated herself. I liked reading about the young characters and didn't appreciate them suddenly turning around and acting like old people in a matter of just a few months. Blah. I did like how the story shifted to Arthurian legend retelling, and I was amazed at how it all fit together with the tales and yet was very new. The end scene was portentioius.

  18. 5 out of 5

    F.

    Despite the fact that it's technically part of a series you could read this as a stand alone novel. This was actually the first book by David Gemmell that I ever read when I was about fifteen years old and I reread it once sometime in my early twenties. It is a retelling of a classic myth although I won't say which one because that would give away the ending if you haven't read this before. Well worth the read! Despite the fact that it's technically part of a series you could read this as a stand alone novel. This was actually the first book by David Gemmell that I ever read when I was about fifteen years old and I reread it once sometime in my early twenties. It is a retelling of a classic myth although I won't say which one because that would give away the ending if you haven't read this before. Well worth the read!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Simon

    A bit of a let down after reading all of the Drenai Saga. The world, the characters, and the plot all seem a bit rushed and not quite fully developed. Despite that, I'll keep reading as I hear the series picks up as you go along. Besides, I enjoyed the Drenai Saga too much not to give Gemmell the benefit of the doubt. A bit of a let down after reading all of the Drenai Saga. The world, the characters, and the plot all seem a bit rushed and not quite fully developed. Despite that, I'll keep reading as I hear the series picks up as you go along. Besides, I enjoyed the Drenai Saga too much not to give Gemmell the benefit of the doubt.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    i'm pretty surprised that I didn't like this book. I have loved every single David Gemmell work thus far. I just felt like this one was all over the place and had too many convenient occurrences that lacked explanation. I didn't love any of the characters either which is abnormal for Gemmell books. Most likely won't be continuing with this series. i'm pretty surprised that I didn't like this book. I have loved every single David Gemmell work thus far. I just felt like this one was all over the place and had too many convenient occurrences that lacked explanation. I didn't love any of the characters either which is abnormal for Gemmell books. Most likely won't be continuing with this series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is the first Gemmell book I didn't really enjoy all that much. It seemed in a hurry, with little character development and would have benefited from a more relaxed pace and greater detail. Nobody does heroic fantasy better than Gemmell but this isn't a patch on some of his others. This is the first Gemmell book I didn't really enjoy all that much. It seemed in a hurry, with little character development and would have benefited from a more relaxed pace and greater detail. Nobody does heroic fantasy better than Gemmell but this isn't a patch on some of his others.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louella Mahabir

    I love this story. It shows that there are hard truths you need to swallow and that growing up bites. Love is also interestingly explored. Read this. It is quite good.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heather Foy

    A giant pile of "meh". A giant pile of "meh".

  24. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Battle

    Ghost King falls between two of Gemmell's best cycles, emerging from the Drenai series and before the Rigante books. It is the first of a two book story and although it wraps up the storyline in this volume, a lot of character development takes place in Ghost King. It follows the path of a slight prince who must face up to his legacy, which becomes more and more complex as his journey develops. There is a broad mix of characters set against an alternate history of the British Dark Ages, with eno Ghost King falls between two of Gemmell's best cycles, emerging from the Drenai series and before the Rigante books. It is the first of a two book story and although it wraps up the storyline in this volume, a lot of character development takes place in Ghost King. It follows the path of a slight prince who must face up to his legacy, which becomes more and more complex as his journey develops. There is a broad mix of characters set against an alternate history of the British Dark Ages, with enough nods to the classic Gemmell strengths - powerful and confident heroes, artful archers, powerful warriors, diabolical enemies and a web that entangles them all. Overall though, it seems that Gemmell is going through the motions with this one and the emotional impact of his better works is missing here. A good story, with an interesting fantasy angle, yet missing the Gemmell magic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Wharton

    This is the first book in the Stones of Power series although it was the second book published. It is readable as a stand-alone novel. This is a coming of age story for Thuro, who will become Uthur Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. Thuro's father, the king of Britain, is slain by traitors and his sword of power is missing. Thuro is a frail child who manages to avoid also being killed. He eventually embarks on a quest to recover his father's sword and reclaim the high kingship. In this cosmolog This is the first book in the Stones of Power series although it was the second book published. It is readable as a stand-alone novel. This is a coming of age story for Thuro, who will become Uthur Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. Thuro's father, the king of Britain, is slain by traitors and his sword of power is missing. Thuro is a frail child who manages to avoid also being killed. He eventually embarks on a quest to recover his father's sword and reclaim the high kingship. In this cosmology, the gods insert themselves as actors in human affairs and can choose to become mortal or retain their immortality; however, when they die mortal deaths they are reincarnated and retain their memories and abilities. Also, the author does not limit himself to one civilization's mythology. So, there may be Norse gods interacting with Babylonian gods.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    This was quiet the struggle, I read all of the drenai books, by David Gemmell, twelve years ago, I think, back to back. And loved all of them, some more than others of course. This one though, I didn't enjoy half as much. Up until half in the book I feared I had been too young to be critical back when I read Gemmell. But about two thirths into this book it finally found its feet. Gemmell is a master in writing combat and war. Unfortunately, the story was really not great. There are too many plot This was quiet the struggle, I read all of the drenai books, by David Gemmell, twelve years ago, I think, back to back. And loved all of them, some more than others of course. This one though, I didn't enjoy half as much. Up until half in the book I feared I had been too young to be critical back when I read Gemmell. But about two thirths into this book it finally found its feet. Gemmell is a master in writing combat and war. Unfortunately, the story was really not great. There are too many plot conveniences and the characters are not very well fleshed out and weird reactions to tragic events pulled me out of the story about every 50 pages.. unfortunate, but i am glad to find out, I'd probably still love Legend and Waylander as much as I did in the past.

  27. 4 out of 5

    nixitN

    { 4 stars } I’m a little at war with this book because I loved it, but sometimes it made me angry. I loved the Arthurian legend retelling. I liked Thuro’s (later Uther) character development because he went from a weak boy to a warrior man. Although I didn’t like the fact that he helped resistors and they turned against him. I would have been able to tear my hair from Laitha at times, I didn’t like the way she treated Thuro. Pracamaccus was a real surprise because I didn’t think he was such a wi { 4 stars } I’m a little at war with this book because I loved it, but sometimes it made me angry. I loved the Arthurian legend retelling. I liked Thuro’s (later Uther) character development because he went from a weak boy to a warrior man. Although I didn’t like the fact that he helped resistors and they turned against him. I would have been able to tear my hair from Laitha at times, I didn’t like the way she treated Thuro. Pracamaccus was a real surprise because I didn’t think he was such a wise and so loyal friend. Culain was a mysterious character at first, but as I learned more and more about him, I had to realize that he went through a lot of things for which I understood his feelings. I liked the book, but I wasn’t reconciled to the last few chapters of the book. At times there were scenes which I felt clashed. However I can tell you now understand why David Gemmell deserves a lot of attention. I will definitely read more of his books. “Life is unfair. Do you think your enemies will sit back and wait until you are fresh? Learn to marshal your strength.”

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Of the 15 or so Gemmell books which I have read, this is at the bottom of the list. 3.5 stars. BUT, the Ghost King is still David Gemmell. It has his tremendous cast of like-able, heroic characters and equally evil, easy-to-hate villains. This book also moves quickly and is easy to read. The overall story itself was average and there was a tad more 'fantasy' than I typically enjoy in my fantasy books. I did like the connection to King Arthur. Gemmell is still talented, even when he was not at hi Of the 15 or so Gemmell books which I have read, this is at the bottom of the list. 3.5 stars. BUT, the Ghost King is still David Gemmell. It has his tremendous cast of like-able, heroic characters and equally evil, easy-to-hate villains. This book also moves quickly and is easy to read. The overall story itself was average and there was a tad more 'fantasy' than I typically enjoy in my fantasy books. I did like the connection to King Arthur. Gemmell is still talented, even when he was not at his best.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian Turner

    Gemmell gives his take on the King Arthur legend. It's done fairly well, and he ties it in to the "Sipstrassi Stones" which pop up in quite a few of his other books. As with many other books of this sort, there's a real "missing" legion on hand to help Arthur to power, back when it was written in 1988 this may have been a more original idea. Overall it's a well written book with some interesting takes on the legend. Gemmell gives his take on the King Arthur legend. It's done fairly well, and he ties it in to the "Sipstrassi Stones" which pop up in quite a few of his other books. As with many other books of this sort, there's a real "missing" legion on hand to help Arthur to power, back when it was written in 1988 this may have been a more original idea. Overall it's a well written book with some interesting takes on the legend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Simon Tombides

    Having read a lot tales of Arthur this one really stands out. This maybe because it's David gemmell at the helm and I just love his writing! ,probably the only negative thing I can say about was that it was probably a bit too short. The world and characters gemmell used were really interesting, and I'd have gladly welcomed more information about them. Having read a lot tales of Arthur this one really stands out. This maybe because it's David gemmell at the helm and I just love his writing! ,probably the only negative thing I can say about was that it was probably a bit too short. The world and characters gemmell used were really interesting, and I'd have gladly welcomed more information about them.

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