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The King Beyond the Gate

Drenai Series
Narrated by: Sean Barrett
Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (544 ratings)

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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

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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.

19 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!

4 people found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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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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Gemmell Brilliance.

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

1 person found this helpful

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Good read and listen

Have read the book many years ago and now listened to it on Audible. It is full of power, friendship, horror and death with a twist of love and loyalty. Highly recommended

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  • Robert Gonyea
  • 27-07-19

Great book killed by bad narrator

I've read this book in the past and wanted to add it to my Audio collection for driving.

Unfortunately the narrator is so monotonous and dry I find my mind wandering after only a few pages.

As a long fan if Gemmels work the choice in narrators does it no justice.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matt Osborne
  • 10-05-18

Breath of fresh air

It's nice to come across a well-written book after running into hordes of mediocre ones. David Gemmell hits it out of the park. His reputation stands on its own, of course, but I'm here to support it anyway. This is super classic hero stuff. Giants among men who carve their destinies into the world with skill and determination. A world with hints that it may be more than it seems. Inevitability. Tragedy. It's all there. <3

Sean Barrett. His voice... his voice pretty much encapsulates how I want to sound when I reach my silver-haired wise years. Again, it's beautiful to hear a story told by a master when there are so many narrators around who just don't have enough skill. I kind of want him to be my grandfather. Is that weird? When you hear him, I bet it won't seem weird at all.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kimber
  • 09-10-17

this is a must read for anyone who loves fantasy!

the story is captivating from the first sentence to the last! the characters are so incredibly well developed that I found myself utterly devastated when they died or were hurt. the narrator makes this story to such an extant that I listened from beginning to end in one day! I literally couldn't put it down. this series is well worth the credit and , having used my 2 credits on books 2 & 3 for the month, I am going to buy book 4 because I can't wait 2 weeks for my next credit! I don't know how I missed this incredible author but I'm sure to read all his books now that I've found him!

1 person found this helpful

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  • George Bradshaw
  • 22-09-17

A true pleasure to listen to.

David Gemmell spins a tail of sword and sorcery like few others. His heroes are colorful and yet believable, the plot is well paced and the action vivid. As soon as I have finished writing this review I will be purchasing the next book in the series. 9/10

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • wiliam olsen
  • 12-07-17

king beyond the gate

Gripping adventure the story is well told and puts you right in it. Well done.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rainbo Tims
  • 26-05-20

FINALLY!! A book I enjoy after Abercrombie

I have had a really difficult time finding books that I can immerse into after reading Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy. I really enjoyed Riyria and the First Empire books, and there are a several others that did the trick. Overall however I have been spending a lot of time searching for book to give me that fix... thank you David Gemmell your books are very enjoyable. I really enjoy the characters you create, someone to root for that sometimes pulls at your heartstrings. I just finished reading the second book of yours I have purchased and it is a great feeling to know I am just going to buy the next in the series and enjoy it rather than spend hours and hours looking for my next read. A+++

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  • Brian Turnbull
  • 27-10-18

good story

First gemmel book I read was lord of the cilver bow and if you have any love for the Trojan War then get that series. After that trilogy I read legend and this book is just natural progression. I thought the narrator was a little hard to follow when he switches characters . Story was good. If you like the other stories then you should like this one.

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  • bella
  • 22-10-18

Love the series

Book 2 in the series continues the legends. I could listen to any narration by Sean Barrett.

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  • Zorburg
  • 06-08-18

Awesome Series.

I really enjoy the Drenai Series. The stories are great and the narrator has a incredible voice.

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  • Seena
  • 05-07-18

love it

The story is somewhat like legend but the characters are completely different and the world is more built and rich.