Until I met the character of Jon Shannow in David Gemmell’s Wolf In Shadow, I thought of fantasy in terms of black and white, good and evil. Then I discovered the power of grey.
Like many teens of the 1980s, I had read Tolkien and associated fantasy with those characters. Then a mate handed me a copy of Legend and told me to read it. That opened my eyes to how fantasy could be completely different to a full cast of singing elves and dancing dwarves, but then I read Gemmell’s fourth book and really started thinking. Rek, from Legend, a coward who turns baresark, was fascinating. Waylander, a man so destroyed by the loss of his family that he became an assassin, was a character so good that he went on for another two books. But Shannow, who also went for three books, was the one that really made my hair stand on end.