Best-selling British fantasy author David Gemmell has died aged 57.
Gemmell, who began his writing career with the hugely successful adventure story Legend in 1984, will be fondly remembered by his legions of dedicated fans, who have been showing their respect for the author across the Internet. He died on Friday 28th July from complications following heart-bypass surgery.
Gemmell concentrated solely on writing fantasy adventure stories, and his one attempt to write outside the genre – a gritty crime thriller written under a pseudonym – was not a success. Although dealing with different societies and mythologies, Gemmell’s books always questioned what it really meant to be a hero, and his tales were filled with deeds of valour, bravery and saw the forces of good overcoming vile foes in epic battles. His books were so well-written and thought-provoking that he prompted real-life acts of heroism from his readers on more than one occasion; one reader allegedly stopped a mugger attacking a woman after reading Legend. Meanwhile, Gemmell’s stories were always riveting reads, often filled with bloody action that escalated until the page-turning climaxes, and other worlds were always brought vividly to life.
Other bestselling novels from the author included Winter Warriors, The King Beyond the Gate, Waylander and, most recently, Lord of the Silver Bow, a book set during the siege of Troy and written after the success of the 2004 Wolfgang Petersen film. Fans who were lucky enough to meet Gemmell in person at book signings have observed how down-to-earth and ‘ordinary’ the author was, possessing a dry sense of humour and a keen wit. His love for his fans never faltered; he once spent half an hour chatting to a teenage boy who phoned him at home after getting the number from directory enquiries. Fellow authors should bear his temperament and attitude in mind when dealing with their own fan base.
The thoughts and prayers of fantasy readers across the world are with David’s family and friends. Although he has died in the physical world, his spirit will be brought back to life whenever anybody opens one of his fantastic novels.