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Rigante: Ravenheart

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Gordopolis
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Rigante: Ravenheart

Post by Gordopolis » Mon March 5th, 2012, 10:44 am

It took me about thirty seconds of reading this before I was hooked.

I expected more of the Roman/Keltoi world of the first two volumes, but was surprised to find that this volume is set in what seems like a Jacobite-era world, long after the heroics of Connovar and Bane.

It is this effortless timeshift that adds an air of mystique, poignancy and real depth to the world Gemmell has created, and that keeps me reading way too fast (had to force myself to stop reading it this morning!).

Anyway, just had to share my latest discovery!

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Shield-of-Dardania
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Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Sat March 10th, 2012, 3:22 pm

I'm just nibbling at bits an pieces of Sword in the Storm right now. Bought it some time back, but somehow hadn't got around to really sinking my teeth into its flesh yet.

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Post by Gordopolis » Sat March 10th, 2012, 4:28 pm

You're in for a heck of a journey - enjoy!

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R.W.Ware
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Post by R.W.Ware » Sat September 29th, 2012, 3:12 am

Ravenheart is, hands down, my favorite David Gemmell book. It is dedicated to his stepfather, who inspired him to write about heroes.

This can be found at http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/davi ... l/home.htm :

In 2000, David Gemmell said, when asked where he came up with his heroes:
'There was this boy. He lived in fear. Not the tiny fears of manhood, but the awesomely powerful, living, breathing fear that only children can experience. He was different, this boy, from the other boys who lived in this bomb damaged London Street some few years after World War Two. He had no father.

Some of the other children had no father, but their lack was honorable. Dad died in the war, you know. He was a hero. This boy's lack was the subject of sly whispers from the adults, and open jeering from his peers. This boy's mother was - the boy heard so many times - a whore.

Happily the boy was only six, and had no real understanding of what the word meant. Anyway the word was less hurtful than the blows that would follow it. Most of the blows came from other children, but sometimes adults too would weigh in.

It was all baffling to the child. What he knew was that, before venturing out into the narrow streets and alleys, he had to peer from the windows of the small apartment to see if there were other children about. Only he didn't think of them as children. They were enemies, and he was frightened. Fear was the ever present companion. Fear was grafted to him. The journey to school was fraught with peril. The dark of the night brought fearful dreams.

His mother read him stories about heroes, and tried to encourage him to stand up for himself. But stories were just words, and words could not stop the punches, the pinches and the slaps.

The boy never dreamed of heroes. Not until he met one.

It was a bright, cold morning and he was sitting on a wall. One of the boys who made his life miserable ran up, shouting and gesticulating. The boy - more in panic than courage - finally struck out, punching his enemy in the face. The other child ran off screaming. His father came running from the house. 'You little bastard!' he shouted.

The boy took off as fast as he could, but no six year old can outrun a grown man. Within moments he grabbed the boy by the collar, swinging him from his feet.

Just then a huge shadow fell over the pair. The man - who had looked so threatening moments before - now looked small and insignificant against the looming newcomer. This colossus reached out and took hold of the man by the shirt, pushing him up against a wall.

In a low voice, chilling for its lack of passion, he asked. 'Do you know who I am?'

The man was trembling. Even the boy could feel the dreadful fear emanating from him.

'C.c.course I know who you are, Bill. Course I do.'

'Did you know I was walking out with this boy's mother?'

'Jesus Christ... I swear I didn't, Bill. On my mother's life.'

'Now you do.'

The big man let the little man go. He slid part way down the wall, recovered and stumbled away. Then the giant leaned over the boy and held out a hand that seemed larger than a bunch of bananas. 'Better be getting home, son,' he said.

The world changed that day. Men like Bill do change the world. They are the havens, the safe harbours of childhood. They are the watch hounds who keep the wolves at bay. They have an instinctive understanding of the child that is denied to the wise.

Two years later, as my stepfather, he cured me of dreams of vampires coming to drink my blood. My mother had tried explaining to me they were just dreams. They weren't real. It didn't work. She took me to a child psychologist, who showed me pictures, told me stories, explained about the birth of myth and the way that fear created pictures in our night time thoughts. It was very interesting, but it did nothing for my nightmares.

One night I woke up screaming - to find Bill sitting by my bedside.

'There's a vampire, dad. Its trying to get me.'

'I know, son,' he said, softly. 'I saw it.'

'You saw it?'

'Yeah. I broke its bloody neck. I won't have no vampires in my house'

I never dreamt of vampires again.

Years later, when I wrote my first novel, I used Bill as the model for a character. His name was Druss the Legend. Bill re-appeared in many novels thereafter, in many guises.

Always flawed, but always heroic.

Three years ago, at the age of 82, Bill was mugged on the streets of London. Three muggers broke his jaw, his nose and two of his ribs. He still managed to 'chin' one of them and knock him to the ground. That was Bill.

Last April he died.

And I wrote Ravenheart, and gave Bill centre stage.

Jaim Grymauch, who strides the highlands like a giant, is my homage to Bill, and to all those world changing fathers who pass away without fanfare; who leave the world just a little brighter than it was.

Men who know how to deal with vampires.'

David Gemmell
Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. Never allow thoughts of gain lead you into the pursuit of evil. Never back away from an enemy. Either fight or surrender. It is not enough to say I will not be evil. Evil must be fought wherever it is found.

--David Gemmell, The First Chronicles of Druss The Legend

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Post by Gordopolis » Sun October 7th, 2012, 9:29 am

[quote=""R.W.Ware""]Ravenheart is, hands down, my favorite David Gemmell book. It is dedicated to his stepfather, who inspired him to write about heroes.

This can be found at http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/davi ... l/home.htm :

In 2000, David Gemmell said, when asked where he came up with his heroes:[/quote]

Pure inspiration. Brought a tear to my eye.

I often wondered what triggered the third and fourth Rigante volumes after the second one rounded things off fairly well. I raise my glass to Bill for eliciting such a fine work from Gemmell.

G

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Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Mon November 12th, 2012, 3:33 am

Brilliant post, that, R. W. Ware. I knew from Wiki that David's stepfather was like his guardian angel and his life's inspiration. But I hadn't come across that detailed anecdote that you posted about him.

You'd sense, or at least suspect, from Gemmel's typically darkish story plots that he had not had the most idyllic of childhoods. And you just can't help admiring him for rising out of the mire of his adversity and making the most of his life's profound experiences.

I take my hat off to him, and to the man who inspired him.

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