Michael Moorcock, Count Brass (Berkley, 1973)
Moorcock returns to the world of Hawkmoon and co. in the Chronicles of Castle Brass, a trilogy that might as well be called the fifth, sixth, and seventh Runestaff novels. Here, we have Hawkmoon and Yisselda, the only survivors of the battle of Londra, married for five years, and with two children. During a moment of reflection, Hawkmoon opines that he'd give anything to have his old friend Count Brass, Yisselda's father, back. The story then turns into a "be careful what you wish for" fable, as the townsfolk of Aigues-Mortes start reporting the ghostly figure of Count Brass haunting the town cemetery, swearing to kill Hawkmoon. Hawkmoon goes to meet the challenge, and when he finds Count Brass, the two of them have to figure out why the Count-twenty years younger and unable to remember any of his long association with Hawkmoon-has been sent from the grave to kill his dearest friend.
As with the rest of the series, there is much here to delight the Moorcock fan and more than enough to bring in the lover of sword and sorcery novels who hasn't yet encountered Moorcock somehow. The everpresent typos that marred the DAW editions of the first two Runestaff novels are gone, and so the reader can just let the story flow. And it does. Loads of plane-hopping fun. *** ½