Friday, February 1, 2008

Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell


Midnight Falcon is the second in the Rigante series by David Gemmell. Roughly set 17 to 20 years after the close of Sword in the Storm, Midnight Falcon is the story of Connavar's illegitimate son, Bane. He is a young man--a teen roughly 17 to 18 when the story opens. He has never been accepted--never been recognized--by his father or his father's family. His friends consist of Vorna, the town witch, and Vorna's son Banouin. Bane and Banouin team up for a brief period of time. Banouin wants to go to the city of Stone--the empire of Stone. He wants to study at the great library. He wants to read and gather information, to find his place among his father's people. For though his mother is Rigante, his father was a man from Stone--a trader. Bane, well, Bane is just looking for a fight or two or three. He is one angry, rebellious, bitter man. It will get worse before it gets better. Trust me.

When Banouin "accidentally" has his first vision of the future, he fails--or Bane attributes it to him as failing to do the right thing, the honorable thing. He foresees the death of several of the people Bane has come to appreciate, to love, to respect. One is a woman that Bane loves. The other is her father. Bane thinks--knows--that the honorable thing would have been to stay and fight and protect even at the risk of losing their own lives. Banouin has a que sera sera philosophy and plans to make tracks fast--in other words--run away without a word of warning.
When Bane gets this crucial piece of information out of his friend, he rushes back only to find the Stone soldiers have been there--are still there--and his friends are dead. He sees his love get stabbed in the heart, and in the process he is almost fatally wounded himself.

He would be dead certainly if the Morrigu had not intervened, had not granted him life. But what Bane chooses to do next, what he seeks most is blood, revenge. His new goal? To become a gladiator in Stone's arenas. To learn how to fight from the best. To prepare for that one sweet moment of revenge.

The novel spans two or possibly even three years. It is set in the Rigante lands as well as on the mainland of Stone's empire. It is full of characters. It is full of fighting and violence. It is full of strife and tension.

I didn't love this one as much as the first. But it was good. I'm not sure how soon I'll be seeking out the third novel. As it is set several hundred years later. With that much of a gap in time and none of the same characters, I'm not sure how anxious I am to be drawn into another book full of battles and fighting and warfare. I cared in the first two because I had been drawn into the world, the characters, the drama of their ordinary lives. But to start all over again, to start from scratch, I'm not sure I want to go there...at least not yet.

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