LEGEND by David Gemmell
Legend is a fantasy story focusing on a hero far past his prime. Druss lives on a lonely mountain, a retired warrior who once walked the land for seven years killing armies of men all for the sake of finding his stolen love. When the story begins, we find Druss waiting for death, resolved to while away his days slowly going senile alone. His plans are destroyed when hes formally asked by an old general to make an appearance at Dros Delnoch, the fortress preventing an army of savages from sweeping across Druss' homeland to bring murder, death and rape. Druss being who he is decides that death is better confronted on the front lines with axe in hand taking as many souls into the afterlife with him.
Legend truely creates a story which lives up to the old saying "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori". Gemmell spins a legend filled with testosterone, blood, sweat and the most kick ass, awesome quotes to ever be penned by a human. He creates a defiant, unrestricted, uncompromising hero whos very presence causes demons to tremble. Uncapable of evil or cruelty, Druss manages to whip a demoralised military made up mainly conscripts into a hard-hitting, hard-spitting, hard-fighting army of men.
my favourite moment of the novel is when Druss sits to eat with the enemy king in the presence of both armies. Druss is unshaken by the king's calm promises of quick defeat. Instead, Druss promises that if he is to die on the walls of the Dros he will be sure to take more than a few souls to accompany him on the journey to the next life. To this the king's only response is, "they will be proud to walk alongside you, Druss".