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Gemmell, David A

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1948-2006) UK journalist and editor, and then full-time author, primarily of Heroic Fantasy, most famous for his first (and long-lived) Fantasy series, the Drenai Saga, beginning with Legend (1984; vt Against the Horde 1988) and finishing with Hero in the Shadows (2000; vt Hero in the Shadows: Waylander the Slayer Stalks an Ancient Evil 2000), and built around the stress-darkened indomitable 60-year-old warrior Druss; for other series – including the Skilgannon the Damned books, which are related to Drenai; the Hawk Queen books; and Tales of the Rigante – see Checklist (but see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy for fuller coverage). Other works of primarily fantasy interest include Knights of Dark Renown (1989), featuring Parallel Worlds; the Macedon sequence of historical fantasies set in an Alternate-History Greece at the time of Alexander, comprising Lion of Macedon (1990) and Dark Prince (1991), in the second of which Aristotle (who else?) has working knowledge of the secret of portals through time and space that lead to parallel worlds; Morningstar (1992), which introduces a bard and an ambiguous hero faced with necromancy and Vampyre Kings; Bloodstone (1994); and an unfinished sequence of stories retelling the Trojan War, Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow (2005) and Troy: Shield of Thunder (2006). These were posthumously well-received.

As a fantasy author, Gemmell was accomplished and tough-minded, and he interestingly varied (but not too much) stereotypical generic situations. His inclusion in this encyclopedia is largely due to his second, Science Fantasy series, the Sipstrassi sequence comprising, Wolf in Shadow (1987; vt The Jerusalem Man 1988), Ghost King (1988), Last Sword of Power (1988) and The Last Guardian (1989), all four being assembled as Stones of Power: The Sipstrassi Omnibus (omni 1992). The components of the series are linked by the Sipstrassi stones of healing and/or destruction, whose source is Atlantis. The middle two volumes, which have Arthurian resonances [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], are set in Britain during and after the Roman occupation, but the framing works are set in a Ruined-Earth venue 300 years after Earth's axis has been tilted by an Immanuel Velikovsky-style Disaster; echoes of Erich von Däniken's Pseudoscience books also abound. The Dying Earth setting (see Far Future) is well achieved; there is Time Travel between Atlantis and its future; ESP, Genetic Engineering and Immortality are other themes.

The David Gemmell Legend Award, for fantasy novels in the spirit of Gemmell's, was first presented in 2009. [PN/JC]

see also: History of SF; Magic.

David Andrew Gemmell

born London: 1 August 1948

died Udimore, East Sussex: 28 July 2006




Sipstrassi Tales

  • Wolf in Shadow (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1987) [Sipstrassi Tales: Jon Shannow: hb/]
  • Ghost King (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1988) [Sipstrassi Tales: hb/Roger Garland]
  • Last Sword of Power (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1988) [Sipstrassi Tales: hb/Roger Garland]
  • The Last Guardian (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1989) [Sipstrassi Tales: Jon Shannow: hb/Roger Garland]
  • Bloodstone (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1989) [Sipstrassi Tales: Jon Shannow: hb/Mick Posen]

Lion of Macedon

The Hawk Queen

  • Ironhand's Daughter (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1995) [The Hawk Queen: hb/Ciruelo Cabral]
  • The Hawk Eternal (London: Century Publishing/Legend, 1995) [The Hawk Queen: hb/Dominic Lavery]

Tales of the Rigante

  • Swords in the Storm (London: Transworld/Bantam UK, 1998) [Tales of the Rigante: hb/John Howe]
  • Midnight Falcon (London: Transworld/Bantam UK, 1999) [Tales of the Rigante: hb/John Bolton]
    • Tales of the Rigante (New York: Science Fiction Book Club, 2001) [omni of the above two: Tales of the Rigante: hb/Luis Royo]
  • Ravenheart (London: Transworld/Bantam UK, 2001) [Tales of the Rigante: hb/John Bolton]
  • Stormrider (London: Transworld/Bantam UK, 2002) [Tales of the Rigante: hb/John Bolton]


individual titles

about the author


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