David Gemmell's heroic fantasy novels are masterpieces in that field. Blending historical reality with the magics perceived as reality in those times, as if they were true and functional. His characters, whether historical or those unknown who would legitimately have surrounded them, are both vivid and fundamentally human. Perhaps more than any other of his works, in my opinion, this one stands out as the best blend of historical fact and fantasy fiction gifed to readers by perhaps any author in this genre. Well worthy of a maximum rating!