Perusing a used book store (one of my favorite places on Earth) I stumbled upon a series of books by David Gemmell. I had seen his name before, but as I do not have any personal friends that are fantasy readers I had no idea who he was. I purchased this first in the series about Jon Shannow, and I have to tell you, I experienced that magical euphoria you get when you discover a brilliant writer for the first time. Looking him up on wikipedia, I was downcast to learn he passed away while writing in 2006. Then I got really excited when I learned that in twenty years he turned out thirty novels.
I know I'll be scanning the G section of all the bookstores I frequent from now on.
I loved, loved, loved Wolf in Shadow. This novel will haunt my imagination now for the rest of my life. What a mix of western action, post-apocalyptic fantasy, and thoughtful philosophy! Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem man, is a lonely and somewhat insane drifter who stumbles across bandits, Atlantis, secret societies, love, and a nation of blood thirsty Satan worshippers. There are so many twists that I cannot begin to spoil the action or suspense for you (nor would I want to). At first I was worried that this would be a cheap and strange imitation of the Dark Tower series. As much as I love Stephen King, I loved Jon Shannow's character for its complexity and confused nobility much more than I did Roland, the Gunslinger.
This novel is perfect. I feel like an explorer who has just set his feet in a wondrously strange and entertaining land. I so look forward to reading the many series and novels from this man who I guess to be the ultimate master of late-twentieth century fantasy.