Hero in the Shadows by David A. Gemmell



Hero in the Shadows (Drenai Tales, Book 9) Hero in the ShadowsDavid A. Gemmell; Del Rey 2000WorldCat

The Gray Man is a mysterious man who protects what is his. When a band of bandits attack a village on his lands and kills the peasants, he follows them and kills them before they can attack another village on his land or anywhere else. The Gray Man’s past is shrouded in mystery. The reader learns he is Waylander, a retired assassin in Drenai.

An evil is seeping into Drenai from a parallel universe. It is taking over some key people who can affect the Drenai universe. The target is the lands where Waylander lives. Waylander is ready to move on to new lands, but has to fight this last battle first. He has some unexpected assistants.

Keeva is the only survivor of the bandit attack on her village. She joins the staff in the Gray Man’s castle. Waylander reveals she has a talent for weapons she didn’t realize she had. She declines the opportunity to enhance her natural skills because she does not want to be a killer.

Kysumu is a rajnee swordsman. He has accepted the position to protect a merchant traveling to visit the Gray Man. When a band of robbers attack the caravan, he is able to fend them off. But in the process he picks up a strange apprentice, Yu Yu Liang, a man full of bravado but no past history of being a swordsman. Yet here Yu Yu is with a rajnee sword – the sword chose Yu Yu rather than the other way around.

Waylander, Kysumu, Yu Yu, and Keeva all come together to fight the impending evil. Magic pervades in the land. Waylander is drawn into the current battle. But he is still fighting past battles that keep haunting him. He knows he can’t change the past, but that doesn’t prevent him from wishing he could. Instead, he has to contend with the invading black magic.

Hero in the Shadows is a fascinating novel. Waylander is a multifaceted character. The evil is insidious, although by the end of the book it is over the top. The atmosphere of the book pulls the reader into the surroundings. I understand it is the ninth book in a series about the land of Drenai. The isn’t the first time Waylander himself has appeared.

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