[[quoteright:205:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/legendu.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:205:Artist's Interpretation]]

->''Some of the other children had no father, but their lack was honourable. Their 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. 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.''
-->--'''David Gemmell'''

Possibly the most prolific (he was known to write an entire 500 page novel in ''one weekend'') {{Heroic Fantasy}} writer of all time, David Gemmell was born in West London in 1948. He had a harsh and violent upbringing in a tough urban area, and was raised alone by his mother until the age of six. His stepfather, Bill, compelled him to take up boxing to learn how to stand up for himself, rather than run away or hide behind a wall. This philosophy would later colour a great deal of his writing. He was expelled from school at the age of 16 for organising a gambling syndicate and was arrested several times throughout his youth, [[CurbStompBattle mostly for ending fights.]] He was once described by a psychologist's report as a psychopath.

He made his first attempt at writing, a novel by the name of ''The Man from Miami'', while working as a lorry-driver's mate. The response from the publishers informed him that he had "absolutely no aptitude for creative thought" and "wouldn't get published if he lived seven lifetimes" (the seven lifetimes was apparently a reference to the main character of the book); Gemmell himself later admitted the novel could "curdle milk at 50 paces". He later got an interview for his local newspaper; despite being the least qualified applicant his arrogance was mistaken for aptitude and he got the job. He later worked as editor for several local newspapers.

In 1976 he was diagnosed with, supposedly, terminal cancer. Partially to take his mind off things and also in the hopes of fulfilling his dream of become a published writer he composed a novel called ''The Siege of Dros Delnoch''. In many ways the story of a ragtag group of defenders fighting off a siege of overwhelming odds acted as a metaphor for his own mental battle with cancer. However he later learned that he suffered a misdiagnosis and set ''The Siege of Dros Delnoch'' aside until 1980 when a friend read the manuscript and convinced Gemmell to attempt to get it published. Two years later the much sharper and considerably expanded version was pitched to a publishing house under the name ''Legend'' (although it was released as ''Against the Horde'' in the USA for a year).

Following its immense commercial success he went on to write a sequel, of sorts, ''The King Beyond the Gate'' in 1985. Although that was also successful he found himself wanting to explore the past of what was becoming his Drenai Saga. Thus was born ''Waylander'' in 1986. The Drenai Saga ended up being 11 novels.

Another epic series is the Stones of Power series, consisting of seven books set in three widely-separated time periods: two in AncientGreece; two in Dark Age England, featuring the people who became mythologised as KingArthur and his knights; and three featuring TheGunslinger Jon Shannow in a WildWest-style post-apocalypse wasteland. There's also TimeTravel involved, mixing in a couple of other time periods, including ThePresentDay and the golden age of Atlantis (where all the trouble started); there's even a character for whom the events of the Jon Shannow novels occur ''before'' those of the Arthurian ones. And, somehow, it all works.

He also wrote two other heroic fantasy series (the Rigante series and the Hawk Queen duology), a half-dozen standalone fantasy novels, and a crime thriller (which was published under the pseudonym Ross Harding to avoid confusing readers). At the time of his death he was working on a {{Demythtification}} trilogy set during the TrojanWar; he had completed the first two parts, and working on the third, which following his death was finished by his wife from his detailed notes.

[[YMMV/DavidGemmell/ YMMV page here]]

!!His novels include examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: The Jon Shannow novels. There are also hints that this is the case with the Drenai saga. ''[[AbusivePrecursors Someone]]'' certainly left a [[AlienGeometries lot of]] [[GreenRocks nasty]] [[MagiTek stuff]] lying around...
** Confirmed in the final Drenai novel which [[spoiler: reveals that "magic" is caused by some sort of satellite receiver system which is destroyed]].
* AllYourPowersCombined: When fighting in their astral forms, [[WarriorMonk The Thirty]] can merge into The One, an immense and nearly omnipotent spirit warrior. The [[EvilCounterpart Dark Brotherhood]] and the [[BloodMagic Nadir shamen]] can do the same, but [[BadPowersBadPeople take the form of a demon or a dragon]]. Though the One doesn't exactly look nice either and just a short time as it nearly makes the members forget their individuality.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil and AlwaysLawfulGood: Averted to a triumphant extent, especially since this is a [[UnfortunateImplications classic pitfall]] of [[HeroicFantasy the genre]]. There are evil individuals and even the occasional BigBad amongst his most classic 'good-guy races', the Drenai and the Rigante. On the other side, even [[TheHorde marauding Mongol-equivalents]], [[HalfHumanHybrid mutant beast-men]] or [[TheLegionsOfHell a nation of Satan-worshippers]] either contribute heroes to the story or pull off a full HeelFaceTurn.
* AManIsNotAVirgin: Played straight in-universe with the first book of the Rigante series, where the protagonist is sent off to the local [[UnusualEuphemism 'earth maiden']] so he'll know what he's doing on his wedding night. He proves to be quite a fast learner.
** Quite possibly averted in the case of Jon Shannow -- it is strongly implied that he remains a virgin into his thirties, before hooking up with the heroine in the early stages of his first book.
* AnachronicOrder: The Drenai books are presented so that distant history in one book is far future in following ones. And vice versa.
* AnAxeToGrind: Druss. Ye gods, Druss.
* AndIMustScream: The ending of ''Dark Prince'' leaves the Dark God Kadmilos [[spoiler: trapped inside of Alexander The Great's dead body, which is embalmed and encased in unbreakable crystal. Kadmilos can't move or speak and the only way to break his link to the body would be if it rotted away or was burned to ashes. Plus, he gets to experience the Egyptian embalming process firsthand.]]
* AndYourLittleDogToo: Morak really takes the cake during his final duel with Waylander. By then (as he gleefully points out) he's already ''shot'' Waylander's actual dog, and instead relishes aloud the thought of [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty paying]] [[ColdBloodedTorture a visit]] to Waylander's daughter after he wins.
* AreYouPonderingWhatImPondering: Badass version, from ''Waylander II''. "Are you aware that you're outnumbered at least ten to one here?" "Yes...it will take time to kill them all."
* ArrogantKungFuGuy: A very common dynamic is a young, talented but relatively untested fighter who is (wrongly) convinced that he is capable of beating the older, less flashy hero. He almost always has a more experienced friend who has a more accurate idea of the hero's capabilities and warns him not to bother.
* ArrowCatch: A rather neat example in one book -- a rookie swordsman finishes his workout with a spin to block an imaginary arrow, accidentally parrying an actual arrow that had been fired at his back. The guys who tried to murder him are so impressed by this dazzling feat of arms that they pretty much surrender instantly.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Jon Shannow certainly knows his scripture.
* AutomaticCrossbows: Waylander has a double-shot crossbow small enough to fire with one hand. Not as egregious as many uses of this trope, as it's explicitly stated that it packs far less range and raw power than a conventional crossbow and that it cost him a fortune to have custom-built.
* {{Badass}}
* BadassBoast: Druss gets a particularly good one, with bonus punching.
-->''"I am Druss. Sometimes called Captain of the Axe. In Ventria they call me Druss the Sender. In Vagria I am merely the Axeman. To the Nadir I am Deathwalker. In Lentria I am the Silver Slayer. But who are you? You dung-eating lumps of offal! Who the hell are you? I have a mind to set an example today. I have a mind to cut the fat from this ill-fated fortress."''
* BadassCreed: The Iron Code of Druss, as well as the Nadir Chant.
* BadassFamily: Many of the most prominent (and hardest) characters in his longer-running series are distant ancestors. Most notably, his Rigante series is set in two different time periods, roughly corresponding to the Roman invasion of Britain and the English Civil War. The main character of the former is a common ancestor of much of the main cast of the latter.
** This happens a lot in his Drenai saga, too, but less focus is placed on it.
* BadassGrandpa: Very common. Druss, in his first appearance. Jon Shannow grows into one, as does Waylander.
** ''Winter Warriors'', one of the later Drenai novels, goes so far as to feature a BadassGrandpa BadassCrew, and finally a BadassGrandpa BadassArmy!
---> '''"The youth of today," said Druss,''' [as his much younger and faster challenger in a wrestling match collapses] '''"have no stamina!"'''
* BadassNormal
* BadassPreacher
** [[WorldOfBadass Noticing a theme here, by the way?]]
* BeautifulDreamer: Rek and Virae in ''Legend''.
* BigBookOfWar: Several fictional examples (with military academies to disseminate their teachings).
** The Ventrians were so adherent to it that they stopped defending the walls of their city after the fourth attack during a civil war as the book said four was the maximum number of times to attack in a day.
* BigEater: Belash, Kaelin Ring [[RatedMForManly (who eats steaks, plural, for breakfast)]] and most Rigante when they get the chance. Elsewhere, wilderness travellers and soldiers under arms are shown getting by on realistically meagre rations.
* BiggerIsBetterInBed: Addressed in ''Hero in the Shadows''. In a scene that would be [[CrowningMomentOfFunny utterly hilarious]] if it didn't end with [[KickTheDog her death]], a female [[MsFanservice supporting]] [[GoodBadGirl character]] -- [[InVinoVeritas drunk]] and [[AloneWithThePsycho unaware of the Big Bad's secret identity]] -- treats him to a [[BrainBleach brain-burningly candid]] discussion of the relative endowments of two of the heroes, eventually concluding that length, girth and technique are all similarly important.
** It would be nice to think that the trauma this conversation caused him contributed, in some small way, to his eventual defeat.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality ''and'' GrayAndGreyMorality. Yes, both at once.
** To put emphasis on the extent of grey in this series: In ''King Beyond the Gate'' Ananais, the whitest morally of the three protagonists has "freed" prisoners ambushed and killed to prevent them joining the enemy again.
* BoomHeadshot: Druss achieves one [[ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks WITH A THROWN AXE]].
* BuriedAlive
* ChekhovsGun: Not a staple ingredient in his work, but there's an excellent one in ''Ravenheart''. The first chapter features [[SupportingLeader Jaim Grymauch]] being lightly mocked for carrying around a huge two-handed claymore, when the armour it was designed to counter (plate) became obsolete centuries ago. It's not seen used again, and the reader has nearly forgotten that he owns it, until the final act -- where he urgently needs to kill four members of a [[KnightTemplar conservative knightly Order]] who are wearing full ceremonial plate armour...
* ChurchMilitant: The Thirty. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Thirty]] warrior-monks, who fight both physically and spiritually.
* ClarkesThirdLaw: In the second Waylander book, a group of bad guys is directed by the BigBad to an ancient repository of magical power...which, when they find it, sounds an awful lot (in terms of decor, at least) like a modern apartment or office. Especially the 'glowing cylinders' set in the walls to provide illumination, one of which promptly electrocutes a bad guy when he [[WhatAnIdiot sticks his sword into it]].
** Other Drenai novels mention ancient 'machines' which nobody alive really knows how to work, but which can be used to create [[HalfHumanHybrid mutated soldiers known as 'Joinings']]. The effects of these machines can be replicated, or reversed, by 'ordinary' magic.
** A one-shot book, ''Echoes of the Great Song'', features a magical form of energy which shares many functional similarities with electricity. These include zapping you if you touch a container of it without insulating yourself, and causing an ElectrifiedBathtub if discharged into water.
* CloningBlues: Along with [[OurSoulsAreDifferent soul transplants]] in ''The Swords of Night and Day'', this generates some moments of real existential horror. For example, the 'second' Skilgannon being treated to a wall-mounted display of the original's millennia-old preserved skin.
* CoveredWithScars: Druss the Legend
* CreatorBreakdown: Interestingly, this was what started his literary career.
* CreatorThumbprint: Boxing contests feature in many of his major works. Also rock climbing and long-distance running.
** Another recurring motif appears to be boat on a hill. Interestingly enough, while in ''The Wolf in Shadow'' it's a symbol of arrogance, in ''Dark Moon'' it symbolizes an improbable but nonetheless admirable dream.
* CurbStompBattle: Commonly used early on in his stories to illustrate just how {{Badass}} the hero is. Waylander, in particular, gets one of these as the first scene in two out of three of his books.
* CombatPragmatist: Waylander. When [[WrongGenreSavvy challenged to a duel and politely asked "Arena Rules?"]], he headbutts his opponent in the nose and says [[BondOneLiner "No."]]
* CriticalStaffingShortage: In ''Legend'', the Drenai fortress of Dros Delnoch is supposed to be manned during wartime by 40,000 soldiers. However, the current Drenai leadership has focused more on domestic matters rather than maintaining a strong military presence on the borders. When a massive Nadir army lays siege to Dros Delnoch, the fortress only has 10,000 under-trained and badly led soldiers to hold the walls.
* {{Demythtification}}: In his reimagining of the Trojan War, at least. Elsewhere, magic of various forms is a standard.
* DoNotGoGentle
* DramaticThunder: Punctuates one of Druss's Badass Boasts in ''Legend''.
* TheDrifter: Jon Shannow. Waylander. Quite a few others, too.
* DrJerk: Calvar Syn in ''Legend''.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Verging on BittersweetEnding sometimes. The forces of evil [[GrayAndGreyMorality (such as they are)]] are defeated but the losses are so great and the heroes so exhausted that no one's too keen on celebrating.
* EnemiesWithDeath: Druss in ''Legend'', although Death's threats only seem to goad him to even mightier feats.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Moidart, despite being a major character in half the Rigante series we never learn his name. The same goes for another minor character, the Moidart's rival, The Pinance.
* EvilCounterpart: The Dark Brotherhood ([[NamesTheSame not]] [[Franchise/TheElderScrolls that one]]) to The Thirty. They rape, torture and sacrifice prisoners, including children, mind-control enemies into killing their friends or committing slow and painful suicide, snuff out people's souls while they're asleep, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking cheat by having more than thirty members]].
* EvilIsDeathlyCold: The arrival of demons in ''Hero in The Shadows'' is preceded by clouds of flesh-freezing mist.
* ExactWords: "You will find fame, Valanus. You wil find fame." [[spoiler: General Custer-style fame, but still fame.]]
** Sarento should've been a touch more specific when asking Shannow to transport him back to Earth in the 20th Century.
* ExpendableAlternateUniverse: This is explicitly how the Drenai, Rigante and Jon Shannow universes work. In the first two cases this is only quietly touched upon [[spoiler: apart from the end of "Hero in the Shadows"]] but it becomes a major plot point in the last Jon Shannow book, where in one alternate universe [[SacrificialLamb fallen friend]] Sam Archer becomes a [[AlternateUniverseReedRichardsIsAwesome tough resistance leader]] and the first book's BigBad ... gets [[EldritchAbomination a lot]] [[PhysicalGod Bigger]].
* ExpositionOfImmortality: ''Dark Prince'', one of the Sipstrassi novels, has an epilogue in which the [[AncientGreece Greek]] philosopher Aristotle is strongly implied to also be Leonardo da Vinci; maintaining his long life with the use of Sipstrassi. The time is given as "unknown," but when [[spoiler: Parmenion]] asks about what happened to Alexander, we're told he died seventeen hundred years ago.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** In the Drenai Saga:
*** The Nadir, especially their portrayal in ''Legend'', are basically Mongols and their leader a Genghis Khan {{Expy}}
*** The Chiatze are very strongly based on Imperial China (but with [[KatanasAreJustBetter samurai-equivalents]] thrown in).
*** The Sathuli have a lot of Muslim/Arab cultural features.
** The Rigante, of the eponymous series, are essentially very Scottish Celts (and later, simply Scottish). The same series also features counterparts of Romans and Vikings as well as, in the chronologically later parts, Native Americans, Cavaliers and Roundheads.
* FiveManBand: The Thirty. Yes, there's thirty of them, but (chronologically) later incarnations have a formal command structure that fits the relevant archetypes to a tee.
** {{The Hero}} -- The Voice of The Thirty. Takes all executive decisions, is chosen by a mixture of [[TheChosenOne prophecy]] and by needing a chance to prove himself. Prove himself he inevitably will by the end of the story, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome and then some]].
*** Subverted, because the Voice is the worst of them all. He is appointed because he is weaker and deserves to face the worst challenges to prove himself worthy.
** {{The Smart Guy}} -- The Eyes of The Thirty, the most mentally powerful member of the group. Usually the one called upon to gather information telepathically, or look into the future.
** {{The Big Guy}} -- The Heart of The Thirty, the most physically powerful member or the most skilful fighter. Tends also to be the most optimistic and [[BoisterousBruiser enthusiastic]] member and to be central to team morale.
** {{The Chick}}/{{Team Dad}} -- The Soul of the Thirty, the wisest member who acts as the group's moral centre. Usually the oldest member and acts as a mentor to the others, especially to The Voice.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Waylander II'' Morak, while weighing the benefits of betraying and murdering [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Belash]], worries that the Nadir is strong enough to ignore a fatal stab wound long enough to kill Morak regardless. Later on, Belash takes out the leader of the Dark Brotherhood in exactly this manner.
* GainaxEnding: ''Hero in the Shadows''. After a straightforward ending [[spoiler: in which the invading demonic hordes are pushed back]], the epilogue engages in some pretty strong MindScrew: [[spoiler: Waylander, who has only hours left to live, is sent into an alternate universe, where he manages to prevent the rape and murder of his wife -- making it not only an alternate universe, but the past as well, or ''something'' like that -- heck if I know. He then dies, after which the Waylander from that dimension comes home to his wife. The End.]]
* GentlemanThief: Bowman, a Robin Hood-esque outlaw from ''Legend''. Also Scaler from its sequel.
* GoldfishPoopGang: Out of the thousand-plus Nadir tribes alluded to in the Drenai saga, the Green Monkeys have this reputation in-universe. The name probably doesn't help.
** One must also ask some questions about the "Tall Spears" tribe's choice of name.
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Generally played fairly straight in his works, but far from universally. For instance, when we first meet Waylander he exclusively visits prostitutes for sex because he's terrified of emotional involvement after the death of his first family. He initially turns down his eventual second wife for this very reason (she can only persuade him to sleep with her by accepting a token payment beforehand) and returns to his old ways after her death.
** A more precise message, found throughout his books, is "People who care about their partners have good sex" -- many otherwise sexually accomplished characters, hero and villain alike, find that their manifold previous experiences pale before those with someone they genuinely trust and care for.
*** Druss phrases this quite bluntly in Legend, referring to his wife: "I had a real woman once, and since then I've never needed another."
* GoodThingYouCanHeal: Inverted. One of Waylander's enemies has magically-endowed [[HealingFactor regenerative capabilities]] that make him effectively unkillable. All well and good against Waylander's knives and crossbow bolts, but when [[UnwittingPawn his plan to use Waylander as a human sacrifice backfires and a demon arrives to claim HIM]]..."Ah. I see you have learned the secrets of regeneration. You will wish that you had not. For now [[AndIMustScream it may take you twenty centuries to die]]."
* GreenLanternRing: The Stones of Power. In the Jon Shannow series alone they are used for healing, immortality, mind control, invisibility, transmutation, travel between dimensions and through time, force fields, telekinesis, genetic modification, seeing down to microscopic scales, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking recreating]] [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment the final voyage of the Titanic]].
* GroinAttack: Given how many [[ActionGirl extremely capable female warriors]] and [[WouldntHitAGirl chivalrous heroes]] his stories feature, anyone perpetrating or attempting rape ([[IHaveYouNowMyPretty and there are a lot]]) might as well [[KarmicDeath paint a target on his crotch]]. Sometimes it's knees or fists, sometimes it's not.
* TheGunslinger: Jon Shannow, again.
* HeroicAlbino: Serbitar, the Voice of The Thirty in ''Legend''. A few books later, (and a few centuries earlier in-universe) the [[EvilCounterpart Dark Brotherhood's captain]] appears as an [[EvilAlbino evil version]].
* HeroicBastard: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Bane the Bastard]] from the Rigante series.
* HeroicFantasy
* HeroicSacrifice: Possibly played straight, possibly averted at the end of the Jon Shannow trilogy. [[spoiler: Shannow transports [[BigBad Sarento]] to the twentieth century, just like he wanted. It's just that Shannow took him to ground zero during the first atomic bomb test.]] It's not entirely clear whether or not Shannow actually ''dies.''
* HeyYouHaymaker: Or, this being [[CombatPragmatist Waylander]], 'Hey You [[EyeScream Knife-through-the-eye-socket]]', when the Dark Brotherhood knight who's been torturing him with mind control [[WhatAnIdiot gets distracted and briefly looks the other way]].
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Alexander the Great, among quite a few others.
* HistoricalFantasy
* HoldTheLine: The final act of ''The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend'' has an example that will seem eerily familiar to many. [[ThreeHundred Druss and a small force of Drenai warriors spend three days holding a narrow pass against the enormous, multi-national armies of the Ventrian God-Emperor -- who paints himself gold, maintains an elite force called 'The Immortals' and disciplines his generals with a giant executioner -- to give the main Drenai army time to respond to the threat]]. Written a good five years before [[ThreeHundred the 300 graphic novel]] was published!
* HollywoodAtheist: You would expect that, given that the author was fairly outspoken about his Christian beliefs. You would be wrong. In ''Wolf in Shadow'' Batik, a Hellborn refugee, describes himself as "not religious" and comes across as having his head screwed on tighter - and generally being much more sensible and overall happier with life - than Bible-following Shannow.
* TheHorde: The Nadir in ''Legend''.
* HowDoIShotWeb: Decado, a former {{Badass Normal}}, experiences this on his first astral travel as there is nobody around to teach him the subtleties of it. Whereas his friends' spirit forms appear clothed in silver armour and carrying swords of light, he has to fight the forces of evil [[FullFrontalAssault naked]] and with his bare hands. [[BadAss Not that this slows him down too much]].
* HumansAreBastards
* IHaveManyNames: Kesa Khan whilst on a shamanic high in ''Waylander II'', probably a direct ShoutOut to one of [[NorseMythology Odin's speeches]], made while in a similar state.
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: Many, many of his villains are rapists or attempted rapists.
* IAmAHumanitarian: Jon Shannow is unlucky enough to come across two cases of this in quick succession in ''Wolf in Shadow''. First he fights off a tribe of cannibals who file their teeth to points. Then later on, when he's going through the saddlebags of a [[TheLegionsOfHell Hellborn]] he's just killed, he finds some tasty-looking cuts of preserved meat. He's seconds away from having a bite when someone else tells him that the meat comes from child sacrifices.
** The Drenai saga's [[HalfHumanHybrid Joinings]], the [[LizardFolk Daggers]] and [[PettingZooPeople Beast-men]] from ''The Last Guardian'' and the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Daroth]] from ''Dark Moon'' also find humans rather tasty.
* ICallItVera: Druss's battle axe Snaga, "The Sender".
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Jon Shannow's silent raid on a Hellborn camp suddenly goes awfully noisy when one of his allies (who, to be fair, had never handled a gun before) tries to cock a stolen pistol while simultaneously squeezing the trigger.
** In the Waylander books, [[spoiler:this is how Waylander eventually gets killed -- with his own crossbow, no less.]]
* ImplacableMan: Angel is famous for his tolerance for injury.
* InstantDeathRadius: Druss effectively has one of these when he's wielding Snaga.
* InsultBackfire: In ''Waylander II''.
-->"The man asked (Angel) how it felt to have a face that looked like a cow had trampled on it. He said "Like this!". Then he broke the man's nose."
* KickTheDog: His villains are guaranteed at least one of these apiece, especially Morak of "Waylander II", who manages to couple a literal example of this with a well-deserved {{Karmic Death}}. He fatally shoots Waylander's dog with an arrow before going after the man himself -- unluckily for him it doesn't quite take immediately, and while he's fighting Waylander the enraged dog [[TheDogBitesBack hamstrings him from behind]].
* LastStand: ''Legend''.
* LowCultureHighTech: The Hellborn from the John Shannow series ride horses, practice human sacrifice, wear goats' horns on their helmets...and pack high-quality firearms.
* TheMagicGoesAway: A pervasive theme throughout the Rigante series -- mystical beings weaken and die as human evils wash away magic from the Earth. Likewise the one-shots ''Dark Moon'' and ''Echoes of the Great Song''.
* ManOfWealthAndTaste: [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Abaddon]], the Satanist BigBad in ''Wolf In Shadow''.
* MarkedChange: In ''Dark Moon'', Tarantio's eyes change colour depending on which of his two personalities is in control.
* MookHorrorShow: There are many passages in the Waylander books written from the perspective of an increasingly terrified villain whose story ends with the protagonist killing them, the best example comprising the whole first chapter of ''Hero in the Shadows''. Simlar passages feature Druss, Jon Shannow, Skilgannon, Decado and Kaelin Ring.
* NoCureForEvil: If you feed a Sipstrassi stone with blood, it can no longer create food or heal injuries.
* NounVerber: Druss is known as Deathwalker.
* OldMaster: Druss, Angel (Old Hard-to-Kill), the Lance-Lord (kind of), and quite a few others.
* PlayingTennisWithTheBoss: In ''The Last Guardian'', [[ItMakesSenseInContext with a nuclear missile and a time portal]].
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: The Nadir from the Drenai books, and the Rigante.
* PurpleEyes: Ulric in ''Legend'' is mentioned several times as having striking violet eyes.
* RasputinianDeath: In ''Hero in the Shadows'', a magician with a powerful healing factor (apprentice to the one mentioned [[GoodThingYouCanHeal above]]) is first pushed off a balcony by Waylander, falling several floor into a rose border. After regaining consciousness and healing the incurred injuries enough to get to his feet, he is confronted by [[TorchesAndPitchforks an angry mob]] and impaled by a thrown iron spear, which is then struck by lightning. Even then it takes a cut throat to finish him off.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: There's a ''reason'' the first part of Druss's Iron Code is "Never violate a woman."
* RatedMForManly
* RedBaron
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: Strongly averted in Waylander's case. With the money he has made from professional assassination (before his story starts proper) he invests wisely and carefully, bankrolling struggling governments and founding hospitals and libraries with the proceeds while living relatively frugally himself.
* ReligionOfEvil: The Dark Brotherhood from the Drenai series, the Hellborn, and Winterbourne's cult in the last Rigante book.
* RetiredBadass: Druss ultimately rejects this.
* RetiredMonster: Decado, until he's persuaded to join The Thirty.
** Or rather, he has an epiphany moment where he realises that he's a murderer. His rationale is that because he's just that good, his enemies have always been defenceless.
* RevolversAreJustBetter: Jon Shannow acquires a couple of magazine-loaded pistols, but prefers to rely on his cap-and-ball revolvers.
* SaharanShipwreck: The Titanic in ''Wolf in Shadow''.
* SameFaceDifferentName
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: Lebus the Tracker, a cavalry officer in ''Legend''.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: In a universe filled with [[BadAss badasses]], most invocations of this would require a ''lot'' of qualification. However, a perfect case is Druss and his [[HeterosexualLifePartners nearly lifelong companion]] Sieben, who is a wand-slim poet with almost [[AmericanPsycho Bateman-esque]] obsessiveness about his appearance -- in one scene he inwardly fumes when the coverings of the chair he's forced to sit in clash with his shirt.
* ShroudedInMyth: A pervasive theme in his works is how the deeds of 'heroes' (and in many cases the inverted commas are necessary) are passed on in stories. In Druss' case, it even happens during his own lifetime -- by which time, incidentally, Waylander has been transformed from a [[CombatPragmatist backstabbing]] regicide {{Anti Hero}} who was [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty less than sporting at the best of times]] to a [[KnightInShiningArmour knight in shining armour]] in the popular imagination.
** In the one-shot ''Echoes of the Great Song'', the main characters actually become the gods of an unspecified future civilisation, extracts from whose scripture form the chapter introductions and the epilogue.
* TheSiege: A staple of the Drenai series especially.
* SinisterScythe: Huntsekker in the Rigante series has one as his signature weapon. It's a European-style scytheblade, but with a shortened hilt so it's wielded like a kama and worn like a sword.
* StableTimeLoop: In one of the Jon Shannow novels. Also in ''Morningstar'', in which the legends of Morningstar inspire a thief to become a hero, before he goes back in time to ''become'' the hero who inspired him.
** The ones that it inspired were his companions, who in turn taught him the value of restraint and good PR. HE was still a sociopath.
* StoutStrength: His more physically powerful characters tend to be realistically described as having weightlifter's physiques, rather than bodybuilder's.
* SuperpoweredEvilSide: Dace to Tarantio in ''Dark Moon'', although he's more like a superpowered [[PowerTrio Id]] - the two are the extremes of the split personality of their traumatised childhood progenitor.
* TheTeamNormal: In ''The King Beyond The Gate'' Decado, despite having no psychic abilites whatsoever, becomes (against his will) the Voice of The Thirty [[TheChosenOne because all the usual signs indicate that he should]]. He does an excellent job despite this setback, in one scene winning a duel with a psychic opponent (capable of reading his mind to predict attacks) [[BadAss because he was simply so quick that it didn't matter]].
** And then [[TookALevelInBadass actually does gain]] [[EmpoweredBadassNormal psychic abilities towards the end of the book]].
* TechnicolorEyes: See PurpleEyes above. Also in ''Legend'', Serbitar the albino has un-albino-like bright green eyes, a legacy of his mystical training; at one point in the novel, when he's at his lowest physical and spiritual ebb, they temporarily revert to their natural color.
* ThisIsMyBoomstick: Happens a few times in the Jon Shannow novels, sort of. In the [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic]] setting, people still know what guns are -- but current levels of technology can get no further than primitive revolvers. So in the first book, the few people who preserve or reverse-engineer guns from before the Fall (ranging from semi-automatic pistols and rifles to machine guns) are at a decided advantage in combat.
** Occurs in a more traditional fashion in the third book. Jon Shannow briefly travels in time to modern-day America, and returns armed with twin Desert Eagles, Uzis and a pump-action shotgun. The first forty or so enemies he runs into after that [[CurbStompBattle don't know what hit them]].
* TimeTravel
* TranquilFury
* TryNotToDie: From ''Legend''.
-->'''Rek:''' Any last words of advice?
-->'''Druss:''' Live!
* UnstoppableRage: Rek from ''Legend'' suffers from explicitly named [[TheBerserker berserker rage]] in combat to a degree that even makes him immune to usually game-breaking PsychicPowers, and Connavar and Decado [[CloningBlues II]] have both blacked out and killed everything in sight when put under severe stress. In general, it is rarely a wise idea to make a David Gemmell protagonist really angry.
* WackyWaysideTribe: Apparently a literal English translation of the word 'Sathuli'. Jon Shannow also meets more than his fair share in his first book.
** Not really for Shannow, he only really meets two tribes in the first novel and both play large roles
* WarriorMonk: The Thirty.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Villainous example. In ''Winter Warriors'', the BigBad sends [[LordOfTheRings nine]] [[ShoutOut nearly invincible demonic warriors]] after the heroes. They have super-strength, inhuman stamina and fighting skill, can track humans by scent, and are immune to edged weapons. In fact, they're only vulnerable to two things -- namely, wood and water. [[HilarityEnsues Cue lots of impalement on sprung branches and getting pushed off bridges to a humiliating and watery grave]].
** A slightly less glaring weakness in the case of the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Daroth]] from the one-shot novel ''Dark Moon''. They're huge, fearsomely strong and [[MadeOfIron almost unkillably tough by conventional means]], but [[KillItWithFire 'burn like wax']].
* WhatTheHellHero? Helikaon, on more than on occasion.
* WhenYouSnatchThePebble
* WouldntHurtAChild: Cruelly subverted by antagonists several times and even the protagonist at least once. The most cruel example being Helikoan's nine year old brother, Dio, who is set on fire and thrown off a cliff.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: The most prominent Drenai soldiers in ''Waylander'' were based on his journalist colleagues (who at the time had their jobs threatened by a rival newspaper group, after whom the BigBad of the piece was named). Druss, and later characters in the same vein, were strongly based on his beloved stepfather Bill.
* YouCanBarelyStand: Many of his most prominent heroes continue to kick ass literally until the moment of death, and certainly some time after the moment of mere fatal wounding. These include [[spoiler: Druss, Waylander (twice!) and Jon Shannow, as well as Clem Steiner from ''Bloodstone'', Bison from ''Winter Warriors'', Fiallach from the Rigante series and Serbitar from ''Legend''. A special mention must go to Ananis from ''The King Beyond the Gate'', who after taking a boar spear in the back grabs another (ten-foot tall monster) opponent and skewers him to death with the spear head THAT IS STICKING OUT OF HIS CHEST!]]
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: In ''Echoes of the Great Song'', (dyed) blue hair is used to make the ruling Avatar class stand out.
* YourMindMakesItReal: The result of two separate [[BattleInTheCentreOfTheMind spirit battles]] in ''Legend''. When the acolytes' avatar has its back broken and Nosta Khan's is beheaded, the same things happen to their bodies.
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