The Drenai Saga Reading Order: How to read David Gemmell’s Series?

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Written by British author and former journalist David Gemmell, The Drenai Series is a heroic fantasy series set in a world of warring kingdoms and powerful magic that takes us through the ages as the heroes fight to defend their land against invading forces.

The stories focus primarily on the Drenai people, as their violent heroes (like Druss, Waylander, and Olek Skilgannon) fight against barbarian conquerors and other–more personal–enemies.

How to Read The Drenai Series in Order?

Each book centered around a particular protagonist at a specific time in Drenai history, as he faces challenges and battles in the epic struggle for the fate of the Drenai people.

Reading The Drenai Books in Publication Order

  1. Legend – Druss, Captain of the Ax, is the stuff of legends. Tales of his battles are told throughout the land, and the stories expand with each telling. But Druss himself grows older, until finally, the warrior turns his back on glory and retreats to his mountain lair. But far below, the barbarian Nadir hordes are on the march. All that stands between them and the Drenai people is a mighty six-walled fortress, Dros Delnoch-a great citadel that seems destined to fall. Reluctantly Druss agrees to come down from his mountaintop to lead this last, hopeless fight.
  2. The King Beyond the Gate – Once the mighty fortress had stood strong, defended by the mightiest of all Drenai heroes, Druss, the Legend. But now a tyrannical, mad emperor had seized control of the fortress, and his twisted will was carried throughout the land by the Joinings — abominations that were half-man, half-beast. Tenaka Khan was a half-breed himself. But he alone had a plan to destroy the emperor.
  3. Waylander – The Drenai King is dead – murdered by a ruthless assassin. Enemy troops swarm into Drenai lands. Their orders are simple – kill every man, woman and child. But there is hope. Stalked by men who act like beasts and beasts that walk like men, the warrior Waylander must journey into the shadow-haunted lands of the Nadir to find the legendary Armour of Bronze. With this he can turn the tide. But can he be trusted? For he is Waylander the Slayer. The traitor who killed the King . . .
  1. Quest for Lost Heroes – The Drenai fortress of Dros Delnoch has fallen and blood hungry Nadir hordes sweep across the land, bringing desolation and despair. But, with the Nadir triumphant, slavers seize a young girl in the tiny realm of Gothir and a peasant boy sets off on a quest that will shake the world. To rescue her, Kiall must cross the savage steppes and journey through the Halls of Hell, facing ferocious beasts, deadly warriors and demons of the dark. But the boy is not alone. With him are the legendary heroes of Bel-Azar: Chareos the Blademaster, Beltzer the Axeman and the bowmen Finn and Maggrig.
  2. Waylander II: In the Realm of the Wolf – High in the wooded, peaked mountains of Skeln, the woodsman, Dakeyras, and his beautiful daughter Miriel, live a life of harmonious solitude. Unbeknown to them, a group of grim-eyed, bloodthirsty warriors stalk the mountains. For ten thousand in gold they are eager to kill the woodsman. Battle-hardened warriors all, they have no fear of this task – they should have. For Dakeyras is better known as Waylander The Slayer.
  3. The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend – Though the blood of merciless butchers coursed through his veins, Druss had found a fragile peace through his love for beautiful, mystical Rowena. Then came the day when Druss returned to their village and found everyone dead–massacred by slavers who had stolen the women to sell for gold. Rowena was among the missing. Armed with only his powerful double-bladed ax, Snaga, Druss went after Rowena.
  1. The Legend of Deathwalker – Druss the Legend, the dark axman known as the Deathwalker, must join the warrior Talisman on a mission of blood and glory. Only the stolen Eyes of Alchazzar–mystic jewels of power–will save Druss’s dying friend, then unite the Nadir tribes against the evil of the Gothir. Druss agrees to help look for the twin gems–hidden for centuries in the shrine of Oshikai, the Demon-bane, the Nadir’s greatest hero.
  2. Winter Warriors – The prophecy was clear. Upon the death of three kings the world will be plunged into chaos. Two of the kings are dead. The third, about to be born, is hunted by the Demon Riders of the Krayakin, Lords of the Undead. All the terrifying forces of evil range against a pregnant queen at bay in a haunted forest. But she is not alone. Three warriors stand with her, the last remnants of the once proud Drenai army.
  3. Hero in the Shadows – The ruined city of Kuan Hador reeks of dark mystery. Shunned by brigands and merchants alike, it is home to fearsome wild things and legends that freeze the blood. Millennia have passed since they were bound, and the spell of imprisonment has begun to fade. But no army waits to oppose them, only a ragtag group of unlikely heroes. Leading them is the mysterious Gray Man–a man of destiny known throughout the lands of the Drenai as Waylander the Slayer.
  1. White Wolf– The blood-drenched lands of the Drenai are protected by a man who has been hated and feared as much as he has been loved: the living legend known as Druss, Captain of the Ax. But this is also the land of Skilgannon, a man who is armed with the mythic Swords of Night and Day, and perhaps Druss’s equal on the field of battle. Brought together by a brutal attack, the two lone warriors form an unlikely alliance.
  2. The Swords of Night and Day – A thousand years after they fell in battle, two heroes – Druss and Skilgannon – are revered throughout the war-torn lands of the Drenai, where men and women live in abject fear of the dark sorceress known as the Eternal… But what if the soul of one such hero could be called back from the void, his bones housed again in flesh? An ancient prophecy foretold that Skilgannon would return in his people’s darkest hour. To most, this was a foolish hope. But not so to Landis Kan.

David Gemmell wrote two more novels that are taking place in the same world, but their stories are set centuries before the rise of the Drenai.

  1. Knights of Dark Renown – The Knights of the Gabala were legendary protectors of the Nine Duchies – until they disappeared. Manannan, the Coward Knight, held back. Now he lives in torment. Yet war is coming to the Duchies – and with it Manannan’s chance for redemption. But to regain his honor and save his land, he will have to confront his deepest fear.
  2. Morningstar – Angostin invaders surge through the Highlands, laying waste to everything in their path. Darkness follows in their wake as a mad necromancer resurrects the eons-dead Vampyre Kings. Only the bandit Jarek Mace, and the magicker and bard Owen Odell, have the courage to fight the Angostins and the undead. Whispers soon spread that Mace is the legendary Morningstar, a savior who will protect his country in its hour of need.

Reading The Drenai Series in Chronological Order

If you want to read the books by following the chronology of events that take place in the series:

  1. Knights of Dark Renown
  2. Morningstar
  3. Waylander
  4. Waylander II: In the Realm of the Wolf
  5. Hero in the Shadows
  6. The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend
  7. The Legend of Deathwalker
  8. White Wolf
  9. Legend
  10. The King Beyond the Gate
  11. Quest for Lost Heroes
  12. Winter Warriors
  13. The Swords of Night and Day

If you like our article about the Drenai Saga reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! Also, you may want to check out The Riftwar Cycle or The Lightbringer Series.

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  1. I just finished legend and I really enjoyed it ..i thought of just reading the drenai books in publication order ..but I love chronological order..what to do ??..anybody have best answer for more enjoyable follow of the books

    1. If you read Legend. Then you will want to Stick with the Character “Druss”. So definitely read “Druss the Legend Next. (That is a must and you’ll hold that one dear forever).
      Then Legend of Deathwalker, then White Wolf.

  2. Thank you …im going to start in chronological..i do want to get to the birth and young life of druss..the story of his search for his wife..and the heroes before him..what a first book and what a choice that the book gives a person to read..if I start with ‘ Knights Of The Dark Renown’ it won’t be long before I’m back to Legend a different read of that book with more knowledge of the times and all the players of the past ..thank you

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