David Gemmell Legend Award
The second epic fantasy in The Faithful and the Fallen series, Valour by John Gwynne carries all of the excitement of the first.
The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of Cambren, there are few who can stand against him. But Rhin is playing her own games and has her eyes on a far greater prize . . .
Left for dead – her kin have fled and her country is overrun with enemies – Cywen fights to survive. But any chance of escape is futile once Nathair and his disquieting advisor Calidus realize who she is. They have no intention of letting such a prize slip from their grasp. For she may be their one chance at killing the biggest threat to their power.
Meanwhile, the young warrior Corban flees from his conquered homeland with his exiled companions, heading for the only place that may offer them sanctuary. But to get there they must travel through Cambren, avoiding warbands, giants and the vicious wolven of the mountains. And all the while Corban struggles to become the man that everyone believes him to be – the Bright Star and saviour of the Banished Lands.
Embroiled in struggles for power and survival, the mortal world is unaware of the greatest threat of all. In the Otherworld, dark forces scheme to bring a host of the Fallen into the world of flesh to end the war with the Faithful, once and for all.
Continue the fantasy series with Ruin and Wrath, start the series with Malice.
The prose is sharp, the pace works wonderfully well and when added to a whole cast of complex character that bring not only the world in which they inhabit to life but bring their own thoughts and desires to the reader with space to spare. All round, this series is building into one of favourites of the last few years and to have an author who can produce a second book of high quality in good time and schedule shows that this author has a bright future. Great stuff.
Valour is hands down, the best fantasy I have read in an age. I thought Providence of Fire might have claimed it, but Valour came swooping in and stole the title . . . may be becoming one of my all time favourite fantasy series . . . I’d probably class it with early Eddings, Gemmell and Goodkind, but with more maturity, stronger characters.. And more Omph! (technical term)
Valour manages to surpass what was already a very strong debut, somehow managing to be even better than Malice . . . John Gwynne is a writer good enough to create characters you can love, and confident enough to kill them off when the time is right . . . A great read. Real characters in a well crafted world you can really immerse yourself in to.