- Publisher: Mayflower; paperback / softback edition (1977)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0583123376
- ISBN-13: 978-0583123372
- ASIN: B002JJ6OCI
I found it odd that this book was the only one by Dale Press in my collection until I cracked the cover. Hopefully, Dale have gone out of business, but not before a long, tortured obscurity. I'd say a year for every typo in this book, but were that the case, they'd still be around well into the twenty-second century, and we can't have that.
Typos that a week-old dead cockroach would have caught aside, the book itself is pretty standard Moorcock. Fans of the eternal champion will feel right at home in this particular science fiction universe; while it would be stretching things somewhat to call any of the protagonists here an aspect of the eternal champion, they're most certainly on a quest (though they don't realize it at first) for Tanelorn, the eternal city.
The book starts with three old acquaintances, Renark, Asquiol, and Talfryn. Renark is a former government employee with a price on his head, Asquiol a prince who was forced to abdicate, and Talfryn is, well, just along for the ride. As we open, the three of them are on a lawless planet near the rim of the galaxy, waiting for the legendary coming of a planetary system which pops into existence now and then, a place all the lawless wait for. After all, if you hop into a different planetary system that's not a part of your universe, it's not going to be subject to the same laws, right? The system comes, the three of them take off, and the real fun begins.
The hard part of reviewing a book like this is that a plot synopsis is impossible. The above paragraph takes you through well under a quarter of the book, but to say anything else would be a spoiler. You'll just have to read for yourself. Yes, the title does come to make sense, but only in the last third of the book or thereabouts, and there's a lot of ground in between the two.
One interesting thing about The Blood Red Game, in relation to the other Moorcock novels I've read over the past few months. Moorcock is a writer who seems more concerned with description and plot advancement rather than mysterious subplots most of the time. In The Blood Red Game, however, Moorcock holds a few things back to spring on you in the grand Agatha Christie tradition; no one is what they seem, and no one's part is quite what it first appears to be. It's somewhat jarring, and pleasurably so, to find in a Moorcock novel.
It's slightly less readable than the Elric novels, but that may be a personal preference thing more than anything; I almost always find science fiction harder than fantasy. This is, to my experience so far, a rare treat where Moorcock is concerned, and a fine one. ****