The ruined city of Kuan Hador reeks of dark mystery. Shunned by brigands and merchants alike, it is home to fearsome wild things and legends that freeze the blood–tales that speak of slavering white beasts, locked behind a powerful wall of spells, who possess an insatiable appetite for death. Millennia have passed since they were bound, and the spell of imprisonment has begun to fade. Soon the foul minions will be free to wreak a horrible vengeance against all that lives.
But no army waits to oppose them, only a ragtag group of unlikely heroes. Leading them is the mysterious Gray Man, an enigmatic figure with a blood-drenched past who has killed for principle and for payment–a man of destiny known throughout the lands of the Drenai as Waylander the Slayer . . .
Winged demons gather, silent and unseen, above the city of Usa, their talons long and sharp. Their purpose is clear, as is the prophesy: Upon the deaths of the three kings, the demon riders of the Krayakin will become flesh, free to slake their thirst with human blood – and the stench of evil will cover the land.
Two of the kings are already dead. For the prophesy to be fulfilled, spreading carnage across the world, the Demon Lord must sacrifice the third king: Queen Axiana’s unborn child.
When Emperor Skanda disbands his army, the pregnant queen takes flight, pursued by the Lords of the Undead. All hope lies with three ancient heroes, though discarded by the emperor, they are still Drenai soldiers: Bison the giant, Kebra the bowman, and the great swordsman Nogusta – the Demon Lord’s greatest foe. But will these warriors – once the best in the land – be enough to stem the tide of gruesome horror that threatens to envelop the world?
Enter a powerful realm of legend, dark sorcery, and conquest, where the mighty Drenai warrior Druss faces his most deadly opponent . . .
Druss the Legend, the dark axman known as the Deathwalker, must join the warrior Talisman on a mission of blood and glory. Only the stolen Eyes of Alchazzar–mystic jewels of power–will save Druss’s dying friend, then unite the Nadir tribes against the evil of the Gothir. Druss agrees to help look for the twin gems–hidden for centuries in the shrine of Oshikai, the Demon-bane, the Nadir’s greatest hero.
It has been prophesied that with the recovery of the stones, there will come the Uniter, a magnificent fighter who will free the Nadir from brutal oppression. But Garen-Tsen, the sadistic power behind the Gothir throne, also seeks the gems. To control them, he will send five thousand men against a handful of savages, Talisman, and the one Drenai warrior.
He was known as Druss. The Deathwalker. Though the blood of merciless butchers coursed through his veins, he had found a fragile peace through his love for beautiful, mystical Rowena. Then came the day when Druss returned to their village and found everyone dead–massacred by slavers who had stolen the women to sell for gold. Rowena was among the missing.
Armed with only his powerful double-bladed ax, Snaga, Druss went after Rowena. His journey would carry him from the highest thrones of power to the deepest dungeons of depravity. Along the way, he would battle savage monsters and descend into terrifying lands of black magic and demons.
Yet one thing was certain. Druss would have victory . . . or death.
Enter the extraordinary, action-filled world that became Legend– as the exciting Drenai adventure continues to unfold . . .
A mighty warrior and a feared assassin among the Drenai, Waylander the Slayer is now a man hunted by his own people–with a fortune in gold offered as grim reward for his murder. But this is only one of many evils closing in on Waylander and his daughter, Miriel, the beautiful and deadly Battle Queen of Kar-Barzac.
For, once separated, father and daughter face certain death as the sorcerers and demons, soldiers and shamans of three empires summon their blackest, most destructive powers in an effort to annihilate these two most gifted Drenai warriors.
The Drenai stronghold had fallen. Now blood-hungry Nadir hordes spread desolation and despair across all the lands… …even tiny Gothir, where slavers seized a young girl while the villagers looked the other way–all but the peasant boy Kiall. His unlikely rescue attempt would lead across the savage steppes and on through the Halls of Hell. The youth would face ferocious beasts, deadly warriors, and demons of the dark; he would emerge a man–or not emerge at all. But Kiall would not face these dangers alone. Heroes out of legend joined his quest: Chareos the Blademaster, Beltzer the Axeman, and the bowmen Finn and Maggrig. And one among their company hid a secret that could free the world of Nadir domination. That one was the Nadir Bane, the hope of the Drenai. That one was the Earl of Bronze. Thus did a search for a stolen slave girl become a quest that would shake the very world.
All of Waylander’s instincts had screamed at him to spurn the contract from Kaem the cruel, the killer of nations. But he had ignored them. He had made his kill. And even as he went to collect his gold, he knew that he had been betrayed. Now the Dark Brotherhood and the hounds of chaos were hunting him, even as Kaem’s armies waged war on the Drenai lands, intent on killing every man, woman, and child. The Drenai soldiers were doomed to ultimate defeat, and chaos would soon reign. Then a strange old man told Waylander that the only way to turn the tide of battle would be for Waylander himself to retrieve the legendary Armor of Bronze from its hiding place deep within a shadow-haunted land. He would be hunted. He was certain to fail. But he must try, the old man commanded–commanded in the name of his son, the king, who had been slain by an assassin… Waylander was the most unlikely of heroes–for he was a traitor, the Slayer who had killed the king…
Once the mighty fortress had stood strong, defended by the mightiest of all Drenai heroes, Druss, the Legend. But now a tyrannical, mad emperor had seized control of the fortress, and his twisted will was carried throughout the land by the Joinings — abominations that were half-man, half-beast. Tenaka Khan was a half-breed himself, hated by the Drenai for his Nadir blood and despised by the Nadir for his Drenai ancestry. But he alone had a plan to destroy the emperor. The last heroes of the Drenai joined with him in a desperate gamble to bring down the emperor — even at the cost of their own destruction.
“David Gemmell tells a tale of very real adventure, the stuff of true epic fantasy.”—R. A. Salvatore
Druss, Captain of the Ax, is the stuff of legends. Tales of his battles are told throughout the land, and the stories expand with each telling. But Druss himself grows older, until finally, the warrior turns his back on glory and retreats to his mountain lair. There he awaits his old enemy: death.
But far below, the barbarian Nadir hordes are on the march. All that stands between them and the Drenai people is a mighty six-walled fortress, Dros Delnoch—a great citadel that seems destined to fall. If it does, the Nadir will sweep inexorably across the land, killing all who oppose them.
Reluctantly Druss agrees to come down from his mountaintop to lead this last, hopeless fight. Lost causes mean nothing to him—he has fought in such battles a thousand times in a thousand lands. And he is a hero to inspire a new generation of warriors. He is Druss the Legend.
Thus begins David Gemmell’s most celebrated novel—an unrivaled classic of mythic heroism and magnificent adventure. . . .