Well, this book starts off slowly, and to me, the prose felt very jagged and coarse, but that could well be the style, which is very celtic in feel. Initially we are greeted with a blur of characters, all of whom have the potential to be our ‘hero’, before the story settles and it becomes obvious who the focus is.
We are taken through the life of the hero, starting as a young boy, all the way through to manhood in the first book. As I said, the story is slow at the outset, but Gemmell picks up the pace towards the end, which is typically bitter sweet. The characters are lively, with a much larger range of people than is usual for a Gemmell story, but then this is his first real series vs. single novel.
I mentioned the celtic style, and there is a real celtic feel to the tale, with all the much loved celtic myths, and the ever present armies across the waves. The tale is very narrative, and for some, that style is going to grate. It shares a lot in this respect to the Pendragon books by S. Lawhead. All-in-all, a good tale, not his best, but certainly building up to something which could be very interesting. I await the next book with relish.
(This review was written sometime in the late 90’s for the original Gemmell Mania website)