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  • The King Beyond the Gate

  • Drenai Series
  • By: David Gemmell
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (808 ratings)

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The King Beyond the Gate cover art

The King Beyond the Gate

By: David Gemmell
Narrated by: Sean Barrett
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Summary

A century has passed since the heroic defence of Dros Delnoch. But the people of the Drenai face a new terror: a mad emperor kept in power by two forces of unsurpassed evil. The Joinings are werebeasts of awesome power. The Dark Templars are warrior-priests whose fighting skills are without equal. Against them the Drenai face certain defeat. One man, an outsider hated by the Drenai for his Nadir blood and despised by the Nadir for his Drenai ancestry, sets out to bring down the emperor. He is one man against the armies of chaos.

He is Tenaka Khan - the Prince of Shadows.

©2011 David Gemmell (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The King Beyond the Gate

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Of Might and Magic!

Gemmell's second tale of the Drenai, a people modelled loosely on Roman society. This is set a few generations on from "Legend" so while there are some excellent references and indeed cameos for those characters they are by the time of this one very much legendary. These books are like sagas, glorified episodes in history rather than any kind of contiguous series. There is once again a siege and again there is a cast of larger than life characters who excel at various marshal and magical disciplines to take Gemmell's grandiose stage. They are great fun and heroic deeds abound, heroes are made and broken and great evils are encountered. Characters go from first meeting to deeply in love faster than your average boy racer goes from nought to sixty. Magic comes in the form of a brand new version of The Thirty - white cloaked warrior priests dedicated to the cause. Of course they are matched by their own nemesis, The Templars, and as I don't do spoilers I won't tell you what colour their cloaks are but you can might just guess . . .

It's all a great cacophony of saga and legend. Gemmell allows his characters to strut their stuff across the lands of the Drenai and even infuses a bit more humour into proceedings in the process. It's all delivered by Sean Barrett with his usual aplomb and marches along with plenty of fighting and action in an almost Cornwellian style applied to the fantasy genre. You can guess of course that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It would be wrong in 2017 though to not sound at least a small note of caution for anyone who comes to these books afresh. This is 1980s fantasy, actually correction it's GREAT 1980s fantasy, among the very best. However, in the following decades numerous writers, many of them inspired by Gemmell have honed the craft and taken it to new levels of sophistication. This is John Wayne's True Grit rather than Tarantino's Django Unchained, it's The Great Escape more than it's Hacksaw Ridge. Everyone will have an opinion on which are better and personally I love them all but you won't find anything like the sophistication of a Sanderson or Rothfuss here. You will find a bloody good yarn though and for this reviewer that's what's most important.

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26 people found this helpful

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Favourite author

Glad to see at last these books are being published as audiobooks. Sean Barrett is the perfect narrator for them!

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Superb

Another superb listen. I'd award it more than five stars if I could. The narrator delivers the story with brilliance, I think he must be a David Gemmell fan from his enthusiasm of the rendition. SUPERB - the perfect marriage!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Loves this sequel

I have awarded this a very good sequel. Not excellent, because the characters format seem to match the 1st books too similarly. Also a lot of the seens are set in the same place(more walls).

There are new hero's however, with truly excellent detail. And a new twist of the Joinings, which gives an extra spark if you have a vivid imagination for it.
Loved it but not as much as the 1st book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

lacks... something

I didn't love this book, or the first book in the series. There were some nice touches, things that could have added magic (like 'the 30'), but these weren't exploited enough. The characters didn't have depth, and for books that need a vast cast like this one, I found I was losing track of who is who until 3/4 way in. So I kept rewinding to figure out who is doing/saying what, in order to be able to make sense it all.
Narrator is decent, in parts, excellent. Watch your ears though... he can go from quiet menace to a loud shout with no warning, when the text requires it.
I can see how this book would hold strong appeal for some. It's not short of action. I'll give the 3rd book in the series a listen too, as I got the 3 books in an Audible deal (though I'm guessing it runs along the same formula as the 1st two), but I can't see me investing time or credits beyond that.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The King Beyond the Gate: Mature and Full Bodied

Absolutely what the fantasy reader requires, depth mature - fully fleshed out complex characters, a well used but decent plot.

The reading performance is excellent also. The deep voice giving sophistication and gravitas to the personality of the leaders, helping everything become more believable.

A must read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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wonderful story. excellent narrator

the telling of super human abilities to overcome superior odds winning out because of humanities ability to love

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loved it

loved it well worth a listen to, would highly recommend this to any one out there

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favourite books from my favourite series

Tenaka Khan is my favourite Gemmell character except perhaps for Waylander. This is a great listen, an interesting story with pace and passion.

One mark off for pronunciation of Nadir not matching the way I've said it in my head for 29 years!

Get this, it's great.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gemmell Brilliance.

Very well narrated, with a good flow and the story is of course pure Gemmell Brilliance. Recommended.

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