The Dark Prince

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
I really enjoyed Lion of Macedon - it's one of my favourite David Gemmell novels to date.

However, the sequel, The Dark Prince, I really struggled through and it was a relief to finally finish.

My main complaint is that there seems to be a couple of different novels merged into this one, and the book never seemed clear which one it wanted to be: A continuing story about Parmenion? A story about Alexander - his achievements, and struggles with his inner demon? Or a story about the secondary world of The Enchantment?

The Enchantment storyline I found a bit pulpy and contrived - danger would loom, but some magical act would save everyone. Then another magical danger would loom, etc. And though Phillipos uses Vorres at the very beginning, he seems to completely forget to use them in his battle with Sparta, along with all the other magical creatures he's attracted from The Gorgon.

Still, at least it was a coherent story - but that closed "Book 3" of this story, and "Book 4" just seemed to rush through trying to tie up Parmenion's life and Alexander's conquest of Persia.

Am I alone in thinking perhaps it would have been better to split The Dark Prince into two distinct novels, and develop the Persian expedition a lot more as a third novel in a trilogy?

Either way, found it a bit too sprawling, and too much like his Troy series in terms of lack of focus. Which is a shame, because there was a lot to like in The Dark Prince - I just found those moments spread too thin.

Perhaps this is an issue with his longer novels? Or am I being overly critical?
You are right that Dark Prince isn't as good as Lion of Macedon. I can't really put a finger on why it isn't but it just isn't. If I had to bet it would be the flow of the book.
I wonder if it's because Gemmell wanted to write a more historical fiction novel, but his publishers insisted on a strong fantasy element - ie, the whole adventure cycle of travelling through an alternative Ancient Greece, including mythical creatures?

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