I often skip forewords to novels wanting to get to the start of the book. I didn’t with this one and I’m glad for it. The background to the novel that Gemmell wrote it in two weeks whilst waiting for the results of a cancer test explained for me the quick almost hurried pace of the novel which is clearly one of a first time author.
Characters appear in the story as fully formed characters the backstory that would typically be books one and two of a fantasy epic is absent. This is a double edged sword. On one hand its refreshing not to have two wade through 800 pages of epic story to get to the great set piece battle. On the other hand the emotional attachment you would have to characters is lacking.
So this isn’t a great novel but it is really readable. At no point was I bored and I was constantly driven to read the next page. I’m definitely going to read another one of David Gemmell’s books.