Book Release – Legend – David Gemmell

Book Release – Legend – David Gemmell
The time has finally come to release the images for our upcoming production of David Gemmell’s “Legend”!
We are releasing images of the prototypes of all three states, as well as the editions Endpaper by Justin Sweet. The pictures of the books you see are of the prototypes and we are still tweaking them, so may change slightly by final shipping.
It’s been a dream to work on this incredible book, and I’m honoured to be able to release the first limited edition of this seminal British fantasy Novel!
We are working with legendary artist Justin Sweet on this project, and he will be producing both colour and B&W images throughout the book.  We have also utilised some of Justin’s artwork within the binding design of these books, and we promised a Druss heavy theme, and here it is!

David Gemmell

David Gemmell was a renowned British author born on August 1, 1948, in London, England. He became one of the most celebrated writers in the field of heroic fantasy. Despite a tumultuous early life marked by expulsion from school and a stint as a bouncer, Gemmell channelled his experiences into writing, creating gritty and realistic characters that resonated with readers.
Gemmell’s literary career took off with the publication of his first novel, “Legend,” in 1984. This book introduced readers to the world of Drenai and its iconic hero, Druss the Legend, setting the stage for a prolific writing career. Known for his fast-paced narratives, complex characters, and themes of honour, courage, and redemption, Gemmell authored over 30 novels, many of which became bestsellers. His notable series include the Drenai Saga, the Rigante series, and the Troy trilogy.
In addition to his work in fantasy, Gemmell was also a journalist. However, it was his storytelling prowess in the realm of fantasy that earned him a dedicated following. His ability to blend action with deep moral questions distinguished his work, making him a unique voice in the genre.
David Gemmell’s influence extended beyond his lifetime. He passed away on July 28, 2006, but his legacy endures through his extensive body of work and the annual David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, established to honor his memory and impact on the fantasy genre. Gemmell’s stories continue to inspire and captivate new generations of readers, solidifying his place as a master of heroic fantasy.


Legend,” the debut novel by David Gemmell, is a seminal work in the heroic fantasy genre. The story is set in the war-torn world of Drenai and centres around the defense of the impregnable fortress of Dros Delnoch. Facing a massive invasion by the barbarian Nadir horde, the Drenai people are in desperate need of a hero. Enter Druss the Legend, an ageing warrior of legendary status, who comes out of retirement to lead the defense.
The plot weaves themes of courage, sacrifice, and redemption as Druss, along with a band of disparate heroes, including the enigmatic warrior Rek and the priestess Virae, stand against overwhelming odds. The fortress must hold for several days to give the Drenai army time to muster. Each gate within Dros Delnoch represents a stage in the defence, symbolising hope and resistance against despair.
A fascinating aspect of “Legend” is its connection to Gemmell’s personal life. During the writing of the first draft of this novel, Gemmell faced a potential cancer diagnosis. He initially intended the story as a form of therapy, with the siege representing his battle against the disease. Gemmell decided that the ending of “Legend” would hinge on his medical results: if the diagnosis confirmed cancer, the fortress would fall, symbolising his defeat; if not, the fortress would stand, symbolising his triumph. Ultimately, the results came back negative, and the fortress of Dros Delnoch stands, embodying hope and resilience.
Legend” is more than just an epic tale of war; it is a story of enduring spirit and the fight against insurmountable odds, deeply influenced by the author’s personal brush with mortality. This layer of emotional depth adds to its powerful narrative, making it a classic in fantasy literature.


The Endpaper for the Deluxe and Standard Editions by Justin Sweet
Justin Sweet is producing 8 colour illustrations (1x Dustjacket exclusive to the Standard Edition, 1x Endpaper and 6 portrait pieces within the book). Not only that, he is also doing a handful of B&W line drawings which will be spread out through the book amongst the text.
Pictured above is the endpaper scene of Druss receiving the call from death in his mountain retreat. He picks up Snaga and heads for his destiny. The dustjacket image isn’t ready just yet, but we will share it as soon as it’s finished!
Justin Sweet is a highly regarded American artist and illustrator, known for his captivating and richly detailed fantasy art. Born in the 1970s, Sweet grew up with a strong interest in drawing and storytelling, which eventually led him to pursue a career in illustration and concept art.
Sweet’s work is distinguished by its dramatic composition, dynamic characters, and evocative use of colour and light. His artistic journey began in earnest when he joined Black Isle Studios, where he contributed to the visual development of several influential video games, including titles in the “Icewind Dale” and “Baldur’s Gate” series. His work in the gaming industry established him as a talented and innovative artist.
Beyond video games, Justin Sweet has made significant contributions to the world of film and publishing. He has worked as a concept artist on major motion pictures, including “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Thor: The Dark World,” where his ability to create fantastical yet believable worlds and characters has been highly valued.
Sweet’s illustrations have also graced the covers and interiors of numerous books, particularly within the fantasy genre. His collaboration with authors and publishers has brought to life the vivid worlds of writers such as George R.R. Martin, for whom he has illustrated scenes from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, and more recently he collaborated with Easton Press on The Eddas.
Renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and his ability to capture the essence of fantastical stories, Justin Sweet continues to influence the fields of illustration and concept art. His work is celebrated by fans and peers alike, cementing his status as a leading figure in contemporary fantasy art.

Standard Edition

Limited to 500 copies only, the Standard edition is 366 pages, printed letterpress on Munken Rough Cream 120gsm by Phil Abel at Hand & Eye Press in London.
This is the only version that comes with Justin Sweet’s dustjacket. 
It is quarter bound in green buckram cloth and a cream colorplan paper. The cover features a two colour image of Druss the Legend by Justin Sweet hot foil stamped in black and gold. The spine is also foil stamped in two colours. It also features a rounded spine, head/tailband and coloured ribbon.
The endpaper will be another landscape illustration by Justin Sweet. There will be another 6 colour images within the book, 5 interior images and 1 frontispiece, as well as a host of B&W line drawings within the text.
The book is protected by a green buckram slipcase with the author and title foil stamped in gold on both sides of the slipcase. The label is also Munken Rough Cream and hot foil stamped.
This edition is signed by Stella Gemmell and Mark Lawrence as well as the artist Justin Sweet. 
This title is printed as a standalone and as such has no rights going forward.
Pre-Order Price: £185
Published Price: £200

Deluxe Edition

Limited to 200 copies only, the Deluxe edition is 366 pages, printed letterpress on Munken Rough Cream 120gsm by Phil Abel at Hand & Eye Press in London.
The book is fully bound in Pewter Pentland Goat with an all over 3-colour foil stamping design of Druss the LegendDeathwalker” by Justin Sweet. The spine is rounded and has two colours of foil stamping, light blue and gold. The top edge of the bookblock has been hand coloured light blue with grey flecks by the artisans at Ludlow Bookbinders.
The enclosure is a pewter goat leather capped slipcase with a marbled cloth covering by Freya Scott at Paperwilds. There is also a leather label inset into the spine of the slipcase.
As with the Standard Edition, this book comes will an illustrated endpaper by Justin Sweet and a further 6 tipped-in plates (including a frontispiece).
This edition is signed by Stella Gemmell and Mark Lawrence as well as the artist Justin Sweet
Pre-Order Price: £525
Published Price: £550

Lettered Edition

Limited to just 26 editions and printed letterpress on GF Smith Natralis 140gsm paper by Phil Abel at Hand & Eye Press, this edition features unique bindings, case and title setting.
Bound in finest Harmatan Crimson goat with large blue leather onlay of Snaga covering the front/back covers. The design has two colours of foil stamping across the boards. All 3 edges of the book are gilded gold.
As with the previous editions there will be 6 tipped-in pieces of art (including a frontispiece). The Lettered also comes with a new unique marbled endpaper and foldout piece of art (the illustrated endpaper used in the other two editions).
It is housed in a fully leather-bound rounded solander case with Crimson Pentland goat. There are two axe heads embedded into the front and back boards of the Solander, and these were cast in an alloy of multiple metals by Peter Canham of Ystabl, Wales and hand-finished to give them their worn look. Each pair are unique.
There are three blue pentland goat onlays on the case, one large only on the spine, and two strips at the end of each board. The design is completed with two colours of hot foil stamping, and the trays are covered in a sumptuous dark blue.
This edition is signed by Stella Gemmell and Mark Lawrence as well as the artist Justin Sweet. 
Pre-Order Price: £2150
Published Price: £2300
All Lettered Editions come with Publishers Rights, allowing owners to purchase the next new IP/Production (currently Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Any copies not taken up by rights-holders will go out to the public as part of a lottery.


Stella Gemmell

David married for the second time with then-journalist and budding writer Stella Graham in 1984, and stayed married with him until his passing in 2006. She gained widespread recognition through her collaboration with David and is a renowned fantasy author in her own right.
Together, they co-authored several novels, including “Troy: Fall of Kings,” the concluding volume of the epic Troy trilogy. Following David’s passing in 2006, Stella continued to build on their shared legacy.
Since finishing the much revered Troy series, Stella went on to author her own fantasy novels, including “The City” (2013) and “The Immortal Throne” (2016).
Apart from her literary endeavors, Stella Gemmell remains an active figure in the writing community, often engaging with fans and participating in literary events. She lives in the UK, where she continues to write and inspire with her imaginative works.
Stella has written a brand new introduction to our edition of Legend, and is signing each copy herself.

Mark Lawrence

Born in the US to British parents, Mark moved to the UK when he was very young. Despite being known as one of the UK’s finest fantasy writers, Mark has also had successful career as a research scientist after securing a degree in Law and a PhD in Mathematics from Imperial College, London.
Without harbouring particular aspirations to be a writer, Mark was surprised to end up securing a global publishing deal after searching for an agent. His first work, the much-lauded Prince of Thorns was nominated for several awards, a wonderfully gritty, witty and grounded fantasy. He followed this up with King of Thorns in 2012 and Emperor of Thorns in 2013 to complete the trilogy. Unsurprisingly the final two books garnered much attention and award nominations, and his final book in the trilogy won the David Gemmell Legend Award in 2014.
Mark not only continues to write original and popular fantasy novels but he is also a very visible figure in the fantasy community. To this day he continues to champion unknown and self-published authors, something I have seen myself among the fantasy facebook groups.
It’s fitting that Mark has offered an Afterword for this edition having won the David Gemmell Award and being a shining light within UK fantasy writing. Mark is also signing each copy of this production!

Pre-order Information

Following this announcement we will be contacting all relevant rights holders with a purchase link for their copy of Legend. 
Rights holders will have until Saturday July 13th at 3pm BST to take up their purchase, and then remaining copies will go up for the public pre-sale.
The public pre-sale is planned for Sunday July 14th at 20:00BST. All Standard Editions and a minimum of 50 Deluxe Editions will go live at that time on the website to purchase. 
Any Deluxe Editions with publishers rights (numbers 1-150) that go up in the public sale, will be assigned at random to buyers of the Deluxe.


We currently have the letterpress printing scheduled for late Summer once we have all the interior illustrations from Justin. Once this has been completed by Hand & Eye it will then go straight to Ludlow Bookbinders for binding and shipping.
It’s too early to tell at this stage whether this is shipped Q4 2024 or Q1 2025, but as progress is made over the next couple of months i’ll have a more accurate date to give everyone. If all goes to plan it will be before Xmas.