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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Legend of Deathwalker by David Gemmel

Another story of Druss, this time telling of how he got the Nadir name Deathwalker.The popularity of the character can be seen in the fact that Legend, the first book, was published in 1984 and has never been out of print. There is something appealing about Druss that is hard to put into words. He is an indomitable force for good. His seemingly simplistic views appeal to something inside us. He believes in right and wrong, good and evil. He will not do evil, nor let evil be done. He will not compromise his code no matter what.

Druss is asked to be a representative for the Drenai nation to Gothir, a neighboring country. He replaces the Drenai fist fighter and quickly becomes a favorite. He is due to go against the Gothir champion, Klay. Klay is much like Druss. He is a fighter with morals and uses his wealth an position to help the poor.One of my favorite scenes is where a young boy comes to ask Klay's help with his mother. He say Klay do CPR on a person and brought him back to life. The boy thinks Klay is a God. He asks Klay to heal his mother of cancer, but it is impossible. The mother is going to die. Klay moves her to a hospice he owns. He tells his friend that "I have never wanted to be a God, until now." Powerful drama.

Klay is paralyzed saving Druss' life. Druss decides to go on quest to find two magic stones, the Eyes of Alchezzar. The stones have power to heal any injury. They are also the most sacred artifacts of the savage Nadir tribes. The stones are imbued with the magic of the Nadir lands. The prophesied Uniter is supposed to use them to bring the Nadir to ascendancy over the world.

Druss comes between the Army of Gothir, that is after the stones and the abliteration of the Nadir tribes and a group of Nadir warriors sworn to defend the shrine where they are supposed to be hidden. Druss does not like the Nadir, but the actions of the Gothir are evil and he is sworn to fight evil, so he joins the defence of the old shrine. He meets the spirit of the founder of the Nadir, Oshikai, and journeys into hell to help Oshikai find the soul of his lost love. There he gains the name Deathwalker, and a place in the Nadir pantheon of heroes.

In the end, they triumph against the overwhelming odds. Druss vows to return to his home in the Skoda mountains and fight no more. But we know he dies at the defence of Dros Delnoch in Legend.

Legend of Deathwalker is a wonderful story. All the Drenai tales build upon a rich tapestry, creating one of the finest fantasy worlds ever. The moral questions and themes Gemmell explores are wonderful and timeless. It is easy to see why they are so popular.

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