David Gemmell was one of the inspirations behind my short story A Song of Blood. So, I guess, I just had to write this.
A Note on David Gemmell
It’s been over two years since I first read Sword in the Storm. I can vividly remember being blown away by the rich storytelling, infused with themes of courage, redemption and the grey nature of the Rigante world. It was a fantasy novel and of course there was magic. Magic unlike any I had experienced earlier. It was a magic not of spells and curses and incantations, but of the soul. Good acts of people added to it, while bad deeds depleted the magic.
However, the best aspect of Gemmell’s writing was his optimism. One could stare Death in the eye, guaranteed to be slain in a battle tomorrow, but still be hopeful, chat with friends and make merry and enjoy life to its fullest today. Gemmell’s novel was not merely a very entertaining read to me but a life lesson.
I recently read the third novel in the Rigante series, Ravenheart. I found it having the same master storytelling of the first two books, if anything, it was actually even better. There was a scene in which a one-eyed man beats down a fighter, trained to be the best in the land. In the hands of a less gifted writer the scene would have likely become mediocre and clichéd, where the weak beats the strong. But here, Gemmell pulls it off magnificently. My heart soared as I read the particular scene, Gemmell saying that the one-eyed man seemed to lift the mountains in the background on his shoulders.
Towards the end there were a series of scenes, in which the seed of unity is sowed between two peoples at the face of utter injustice. I was holding back tears, mesmerized by the intensity of Gemmell’s writing.
It’s sad, David Gemmell is no more. As per Wikipedia, he died writing. I consider that kind of death an honour for any writer (who wouldn’t!) The best artist often dies doing what they love, getting lost in their creation forever. Gemmell continues to live through his wonderful books, inspiring readers like me to live life at its fullest, no matter what and be optimistic in the worst of situations. Like that flower growing in the snow, not a single other plant in sight, most beautiful because it has hope.