Jealousy ensues. Starting the story I was ambivalent (nothing to do with my jealousy of course), because it is written more in "summer bot-boiler" style than "effervescent literature" I've been playing with. I kept noting that the characters were much more modern in their attitude and the story became almost cloyingly sentimental in places. A lot of places, actually.
But you know what? Those same characters completely won me over. Helikaon (Aenaeus), also known as The Golden One, also known as Lord of the Silver Bow, navigates grief, rage, love, and honor with the courage of the most noble of heroes; but so does desperately fat Prince Antiphones who is despised by his father, stern Andromache whose courage brings many unwanted suitors, and even bookish Paris who is besotted by a very ordinary Helen.
It had not been my intention to read series of books during this Fantasy Reading List, and so far, I have resisted it fairly well. But not this time. I ordered the next two, even though by all rights, I should be on my way to the "H" authors on this list. And that was even before I learned Mr. Gemmell died in 2006, before the second one published, and his wife Stella finished the third one based on his notes.
It feels honorable to finish these stories on honor.
And the lesson for writers is this: don't make your fantasy world and characters so arcane and alien that they don't speak to (and therefore win over) real people.
Pay your respects to David Gemmell.