September 28th, 2020 by Jane Turner
I received an electronic copy of Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell as part of a Random Things Blog Tour. Midnight Falcon is reissued by Transworld Publishers.
They called him Bane the Bastard – though none said it to his face.
Born of treachery, his name a curse, he grew up among the warriors of the Rigante. They valued his skills in war, but they feared the violence in his heart.
And when, as a Wolfshead and Outlaw, he left Rigante lands, they breathed sighs of relief.
But Bane would return, the destiny of the Rigante in his hands, the fate of the world resting on his skills with a blade.
Bane. Born of Connavar and his first love, illegitimate and unacknowledged. Named by his mother for what she sees as the pinnacle of her life’s disappointments. Bane quickly comes to despise his father and, through his actions in the Rigante tribe, causes Connavar to force him into exile.
So, Bane heads to the Stone lands. There he falls in love, only to watch her destroyed by a Stone Knight. Vowing vengeance, he joins a circus as a gladiator, his sole aim to meet this Knight in combat and get revenge for his love.
But, as always, things are not so easy. And war looms large.
This book once again proves Gemmell’s mastery of heroic fantasy. Lots of action inside and outside the arena, and even a little sorcery in parts. Set 20-odd years after the events in Sword in the Storm, Gemmell fills in the backstory a little at a time – but in such a way that Midnight Falcon can easily be read as a standalone. (Though you’ll want to be reading the others soon after, I think!)
Interestingly, this story includes religion – the Crimson Priests seeming like the Spanish Inquisition, with all it’s violence and treachery. And, of course, an ‘underground’ religion which preaches love and peace.
The comparisons to Rome/The Celts are far more obvious in this book than the first. Gemmell’s alternate history stands up, though; the details and characters he creates are believable, relatable and totally enthralling.
Midnight Falcon is a pleasure to read again and again.
David Andrew Gemmell (1 August 1948 – 28 July 2006) 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 explore themes of honour, loyalty and redemption. With over one million copies sold, his work continues to sell worldwide.