Ghost King, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Beyond WOLF IN SHADOW to an earlier layer in David Gemmell's fantasy of the Sipstrassi Stones: rebellion and invasion plunge Britannia into the Dark Ages.

Chaos and terror stalk the land, the King slain by traitors, the great Sword of Power vanished beyond the Circle of Mist. Saxons, Angles, Jutes and Brigante tribesman mass together to destroy the realm, aided by the powers of the Witch Queen and the Lord of the Undead.

Against them stands a weakling boy, and an old mountain warrior. But the boy has the blood of kings, and the warrior is Culain, the legendary Lord of the Lance. And he alone knows the dread secret of the Witch Queen.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9781857236422

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Ghost King falls between two of Gemmell's best cycles, emerging from the Drenai series and before the Rigante books. It is the first of a two book story and although it wraps up the storyline in this volume, a lot of character development takes place in Ghost King. It follows the path of a slight prince who must face up to his legacy, which becomes more and more complex as his journey develops. There is a broad mix of characters set against an alternate history of the British Dark Ages, with enough nods to the classic Gemmell strengths - powerful and confident heroes, artful archers, powerful warriors, diabolical enemies and a web that entangles them all. Overall though, it seems that Gemmell is going through the motions with this one and the emotional impact of his better works is missing here. A good story, with an interesting fantasy angle, yet missing the Gemmell magic.

Review by

Ghost King - David Gemmell *****I was first introduced to Gemmell by way of the Jon Shannow novels, but at the time I didn't realise they were part of a larger series of books that deal with Sipstrassi stomes.Ghost King is the first in this series and is set in a version of Britain at the time of the Roman invasion. The story has been repeated many times over the years, a weak Prince is suddenly made King and must face his own fears in order to rule his people against a coming war. What really makes this book stand out from the rest is the unique way in which Gemmell has woven real history, well known myth and his own creations.Sipstrassi enables it's user to create anything, he is only bound by his own imagination but the stones themselves have a limited power and change colour each time they are used. Once a stone is empty it can be repowered using blood, however these stones are no longer able to be used for a number of things (including the making of food) and are therefore more likely to be used for wrongdoing. Tied in closely with Arthurian legend this book really does have a bit of everything and although I can't say it was as good as the Shannow novels, it would still be a perfect introduction to the author.The only point that slightly disappointed me was that whenever a character would mention something that they had seen or were warned about you could pretty much guarantee it would appear within a few pages (I hope we don't meet a vampire.... oh look here comes one now), this did take away a little bit of the surprise. A brilliant book and I can't wait to read the next one 'Last Sword of Power'.

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