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Von Bek: "Warhound and the World's Pain", "City in the Autumn Stars", "Pleasure Gardens of Felipe Sagittarius" (Tale of the Eternal Champion) [Paperback]

Michael Moorcock
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 1995 Tale of the Eternal Champion
The first three novels,The Warhound and the World's Pain, The City in the Autumn Stars and The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius, of Michael Moorcock's classic fantasy sequence.

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Von Bek: "Warhound and the World's Pain", "City in the Autumn Stars", "Pleasure Gardens of Felipe Sagittarius" (Tale of the Eternal Champion) + The Eternal Champion (Moorcocks Multiverse)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (5 Jun 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857984366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857984361
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 11.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Michael Moorcock (1939-) Michael Moorcock is one of the most important figures in British SF and Fantasy literature. The author of many literary novels and stories in practically every genre, his novels have won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Whitbread and Guardian Fiction Prize. In 1999, he was given the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award; in 2001, he was inducted into the SF Hall of Fame; and in 2007, he was named a SFWA Grandmaster. Michael Moorcock is also a musician who has performed since the seventies with his own band, the Deep Fix; and, as a member of the prog rock band, Hawkwind, won a gold disc. His tenure as editor of New Worlds magazine in the sixties and seventies is seen as the high watermark of SF editorship in the UK, and was crucial in the development of the SF New Wave. Michael Moorcock's literary creations include Hawkmoon, Corum, Von Bek, Jerry Cornelius and, of course, his most famous character, Elric. He has been compared to, among others, Balzac, Dumas, Dickens, James Joyce, Ian Fleming, J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard. Although born in London, he now splits his time between homes in Texas and Paris.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of the Devil's Party! 30 Jan 2002
By A Customer
The first novel in this omnibus was published over twenty years ago but it is still a brilliant idea -- Lucifer yearning to be reconciled with God commissions the human von Bek to search for the Holy Grail. Von Bek isn't exactly Galahad, but the Holy Grail isn't exactly what he was expecting, either. Lucifer is about as charming as he can get and this book oddly prefigures Moorcock's more ambitious, but more challenging, The War Amongst the Angels, which mirrors the Hundred Years War described here -- i.e. people have long since lost sight of their original principles and loyalties and the angels, fighting for Law or Chaos, have equally lost touch with the ideals which first inspired them to fight. Like Philip Pullman, clearly Moorcock's admirer, we are dealing not with a model of a perfect Edwardian world as imagined by an Oxford don, but a model of our actual world, with all its complications, confusions and injustices. Later Lucifer's own ambitions and needs begin to change, but he still seeks reconciliation with God. The alchemical stuff in Autumn Stars is very neatly worked in! And The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius was probably the first story ever to use the idea of modern historical figures having very different roles in a parallel world. This idea was picked up again in Warlord of the Air.
Lovely stuff. Nothing to touch it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Ubik
Von Bek (Tale of the Eternal Champion, No 2) is a reunion of 3 books by Michael Moorcock: "The War Hound and the World's Pain", "City in the Autumn Stars", and "The Dragon in the Sword". It has also bonus short story, "The Pleasure Garden of Filipe Saggitarius". All these stories are related by the Von Bek family, that is entrusted with the task of protecting the Holy Grail.
The hero of each of the (somewhat) related books is someone belonging to the Von Bek family, and the stories talk about the eternal struggle between the forces of Chaos and Order. Not all is what it seems, and not always the greatest evil comes from the usual suspects (Lucifer, the fallen angel plays an important, if suprising, part on this saga).
The first book, "The War Hound and the World's Pain", is perhaps the one i enjoyed best, in part because it is more intimate. The lead character's pessimistic view of the world sounds very real and makes him the perfect romantic hero. Even so, the book has adventure of great scale, be it fighting armies, scary creatures or magic dimensions.
The two other books are also quite good, but something is lost when the extravagant settings and characters take greater part of the story. The short story, on the other hand, seemed useless, and was quickly forgotten...
This Hardcover edition is a beauty and has a beautiful presentation. Careful lettering and a few pictures help create your own mental vision of the magical tales presented by this master of the fantasy/sci-fi literature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the first of fourteen volumes (each with three or more novels or collections of short stories!). The series recounts the adventures of a group of characters destined forever to be instruments in the war between Law and Chaos in the multiverse (essentially the many differnet versions of reality that occur simultanously).
This first volume deals with three generations of the Von Bek family, and their compacts with the devil. Of the two novels and one short story included, the first lacks the complexities and layering of the second novel and the short story, but is the better for that in my opinion.
If, like me, you are keen enough to read all fourteen volumes cover to cover, then by all means begin with this one (Von Bek crops up frequently as a character in later volumes). If, however, you are just looking for a taster, then I'd recommend starting with Volume 2: The Eternal Champion, which explains the premise of the series, or, for Moorcock at his cleverest (and his most inscrutable), try Volume 7: The Dancers at the End of Time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Von Bek is the Champion's best incarnation 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer
There's a more literary tone to Moorcock's von Bek stories than you find in the earlier Hawkmoon books, but the same old gusto is there for sheer, engaging story-telling. He grabs you with the opening line and there's no looking back! Von Bek makes a deal with the Devil -- to restore the Holy Grail to the world and so release the world from pain. Thereafter it is his family fate to serve both Lucifer and the Grail. Read this before you read the new Elric The Dreamthief's Daughter and it will give your pleasure an extra dimension. I'm not sure what the old fox is up to, but there's no doubt the Von Bek books showed a gearing up of his ambitions in fantasy. These also show Moorcock's fine sense of history which has been praised many times by Peter Ackroyd and with whom he shares similar enthusiasms and obsessions. Viva von Bek,
I say!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine, intelligent fantasy 27 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Moorcock's love for The Pilgrim's Progress is well-known and he mentions the book often. In a sense Warhound is his Pilgrim's Progress. It deals much more directly with Christian imagery both in its depiction of Satan and the Holy Grail and is reminiscent of Milton who was said by Blake to be doing the devil's work, he drew Satan so convincingly and attractively. This is a very convincing and attractive Satan, who already has the hero's soul but wants the hero to help him affect a reconciliation with God. How he sets about trying to achieve that is, of course, the main story. It is also the story of City in the Autumn Stars, which has a larger fantasy element, although much of it is set in the late 18th century and opens with a straightforward account of the hero having to flee Paris, having been a deputy in the first revolutionary parliament. The books also relate to specific periods of history -- the first is set in the Age of Religion (Hundred Years War), the second in the Age of Reason (French Revolution, American Revolution etc.) and the third was going to be set at the time of Hitler which is, as I understand it, the setting for the first of the new Elric series, which is also a von Bek book! Sometimes those strands disappear into the tapestry for miles before re-emerging as a main theme. A bit like Wagner, even if much of it plays more like Mozart. The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius is a fairly early short tale about the Metatemporal Detective, who appears in the Multiverse graphic novel as Sir Seaton Begg. It's an excellent 'what if' story, with Hitler as the Berlin Chief of Police and Lionel Himmler the proprietor of a sleazy club. All the stories have considerable substance and, as usual, play with moral ideas in a way you don't often find in as entertaining a fantasy series as this! Recommended to all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful Books of Von Bek
Just to set your mind at ease, I have included no big spoilers, plot points or twists in this review. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Greg Boyd
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Dumas meets metaphysics as one reviewer puts it.

Although the second book City in the Autumn stars can lag in places, it still contains more ideas, more ambition than... Read more
Published 16 months ago by R.M.F.Brown (Author)
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best
I generally love Moorcock's work and the Eternal Champion sequence has been among his best. I hadn't heard of Von Beck until I bought the White Wolf and realized I needed to read... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2010 by john_l_uk
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding novel and a great place to start for Moorcock newbies like...
Review of the first novel of this compilation 'The Warhound and the World's Pain':

This is the first Von Bek book, and forms part of (in fact ultimately quite an... Read more
Published on 16 Aug 2010 by Mark Poles
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
Having recently undertaken the task of working my way though MMs work I approached this novel with no preconceptions. Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2008 by HJC
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal Classic
Warhound and the World's pain is the best of the three in terms of entertainment value and is an excellent read even though a lot of the ideas are well used and being shorter than... Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2007 by jamo
5.0 out of 5 stars Get stuck in!
This is where the series starts. It's Moorcock's attempt to give some sort of linearity to the Eternal Champion series, so you might as well start with this. Read more
Published on 11 May 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars If there�s a Holy Grail, this book is one of its shadows
This was the first part I read of The Eternal Champion, and it was also the first Moorcock I read. And I must say I'm very impressed with both. Read more
Published on 24 July 2001 by D. De Gruijter
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This was my introduction to the Eternal Champion series and I love it simply because it did introduce me to that wonderful saga. Read more
Published on 9 May 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going, but a worthy read
This is a difficult book to review, I really enjoyed The Warhound and the Worlds Pain (the first story) a fascinating idea brilliantly done, but I found The City In The Autumn... Read more
Published on 3 May 2001 by C. W. Bell
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