Archive for December 14th, 2014

David Gemmell – Morningstar

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Morningstar (1992) is one of the few standalone novels by David Gemmell, although that term is not exactly correct as each novel of his series (at least those that I read) contain a complete story and can be read without having read the other. Morningstar is not part of series although it could have fit in with some other series as the setting follows Gemmell’s favorite mold: Rough highlanders with a Celtic flavour against more civilized invaders from the lowlands, which can be defined as and England verses Scotland analogy. Of course Gemmell does not take it that far and his details remain vague enough so that the reader can make of it what he wants.

The plot is also standard Gemmell-fare. Its a sword and sorcery fantasy in which a group of anti-heroes face impossible odds while they receive mysterious aid. This may seem a negative attitude it is not. Gemmell writes what he loves and what he is also good at. Jack Vance did the same thing, albeit with more creativity and variety, and there are more authors who stuck at what they were good at. Gemmell always manages to put in some different twists and approaches. The plots may feel familiar but the story has enough fresh elements to make it something to enjoy. I do have to add here that I have never read too many Gemmell novels in a row. He does always manage to create a sufficiently different cast of main characters and give each of them their due.

Gemmell adds in some new themes and new approaches. The story is told from a first person perspective and by a companion of the central character. There is a bit of a mocking theme in which myth is set against reality and how this can influence events. Gemmells further throws in an odd twister in the middle of the story. Although it is hard to notice as it spices up a reasonable straightforward it does pull the plot a little out of balance as the focus gets moved away from the first plot to the second and the second plot is not as sophisticated as the first. It is a little simplistic in its nature.

Like Gemmell’s other novels Morningstar is written for pure entertainment. The plot has some complexities but refrains from taking it too far. It has some light fantastical flavor while most events remain on a certain level of realism although the heroic character of the story is strongly there. There is joy and a bit of sadness and the end, but Gemmell always manages to provide a satisfying end that will leave the reader happy.