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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT
I have actually read most of the stories in this collection before, the first story, Elric of Melnibone, I was reading for the third time. It is not your usual "Tolkien" style fantasy, although unlike Michael Moorcock I loved "The Lord of Rings", but I do dislike most of Tolkien's imitators intensely. The 1st story must be one the best fantasy...
Published on 15 May 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The begining of a great series.
The entire saga is one of the best. And this book begins it.... you will want to read them all. I love the Robert Gould covers. There is something about this series, which has an authenticity, a tragic reality, very few other books like it have. The prose is lush and reads well aloud and Moorcock clearly relishes language, yet language and description are never secondary...
Published on 5 Oct 2007 by M. A. Ramos


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT, 15 May 1999
By A Customer
I have actually read most of the stories in this collection before, the first story, Elric of Melnibone, I was reading for the third time. It is not your usual "Tolkien" style fantasy, although unlike Michael Moorcock I loved "The Lord of Rings", but I do dislike most of Tolkien's imitators intensely. The 1st story must be one the best fantasy stories ever written, it is quite short but it contains a lot of action, and Michael Moorcock's world is far more original than your typical pseudo medieval Europe setting, I just wish that he would flesh it out a bit more. On the other hand that might be part of the fun, I wasted many hours as a teenager imagining the world of Melnibone, and drawing the various characters. I did notice that Elric's earlier stories are far more fun than the later ones, they are straightforward fantasy adventures, although with a much harder "edge" to them than anything currently available, his newer stories i'm not really sure about, they are somewhat (dare i say it) tedious, and they seem to repeat ideas from other stories. But overall this book is brilliant, for those of you who are wasting their time with books by inferior writers like Terry brooks and David Eddings, drop them, and go out and buy this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Moorcock -- full of fire!, 21 Dec 2000
By A Customer
When Moorcock was writing his first fantasy stories he was consciously borrowing from the vitality of the science fantasy pulps and that shows in the shorter stories here. But as Moorcock began to write in book form, the writing became more sophisticated and ambitious. Which makes for a bit of a roller coaster here, since the stories aren't published in the order they were written but in chronological order. All that said, you aren't going to get this stuff any better. If Hendrix is the king of guitar heroes, Moorcock is the king of supernatural adventure stories. The stories gallop along. They are packed with more invention on every page than you find in most fantasy trilogies, and they are full of wit, ironic humour, memorable characters. The most memorable, of course, is Elric -- the acknowledged grand-daddy of every brooding Dark Fantasy hero-villain from The Crow to Angel. Imagine a time before such characters as Elric existed and you'll realise just how much Moorcock gave to the genre with Elric alone. He and Tolkien are the tops. Modern fantasy would be nothing like the same without them. It's fair to say there might not be a modern fantasy genre without them. It seems stupid to argue who is best, even though Moorcock doesn't like LOTR (but says Prof. T was encouraging to him as a boy). They are the poles, the level to which the rest aspire. After that we have Peake, who is probably the best of all but did not give birth, like Tolkien and Moorcock, to an entire genre. If you are curious about the origins of modern fantasy, worldwide, you have to read Moorcock and Tolkien. KO
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forty years on and still going strong, 27 Oct 2003
When all the other fashionable fantasy of our time is forgotten three writers will be remembered and read -- Tolkien, Peake and Moorcock. And perhaps the most interesting of these is Moorcock, since he has written such a wide variety of fiction, including some of the best literary fiction of our time. If you want to find out about his fantasy, this is probably the best collection to begin with. It is about as fat as the average first volume of a Tolkien-clone but contains an amazing amount of substance. Read with the second volume (Stormbringer) it forms an epic which knocks all others out of the ring (and I'm
including LOTR). Elric's father, Sadric, has already begun the rot before the series opens, finding himself unable to sacrifice the usual number of brides and bridegrooms to bring good luck to his own wedding. This, many at court believe, has meant that his wife not only gave birth to a feeble albino, but died herself. Now that albino sits on the Ruby Throne of Melnibone and his subjects wonder whether he will restore the old customs or continue the rot. In particular his cousin Yyrkoon and Yyrkoon's sister (Elric's betrothed) are curious about this,
for Cymoril, the sister, loves Elric while Yyrkoon not only hates him, he covets the throne of Melnibone, pledged to return the Empire to its former glory, through sorcery, cruelty and compacts with the forces of evil. So the saga begins, with Elric forever ambiguous, yet still having many of the traits of the unhuman Melniboneans, not least a penchant for cruel slaughter. This trait will be emphasised when he at last discovers Stormbringer, the black runesword which drinks souls and passes their vitality on to Elric himself, allowing him to sustain himself without drugs or charms.
My advice is to dive in with this book and then read Stormbringer. When you've done with the two omnibuses there are still two fine Elric novels to be read, which develop the ideas both dramatically and intellectually (for Moorcock is that rare thing, an intellectual fantast working in a popular mode). In
my humble opinion The Dreamthief's Daughter is one of the finest Elric novels, yet only written a couple of years ago, while The
Skrayling Tree is its worthy companion. If you are not familiar with Elric, now's the time to start. Moorcock has been called the Boss fantasy writer by many greater critics than me. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You've bought the T shirt, read the comic, heard the album..., 17 Aug 2011
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Now I've bought the book! Back in the early eightees a mate tried to persuade me to try an Elric story but being sixteen and still knowing everything I sneered at him and carried on reading Wilbur Smith. I thought all that fairy and magic stuff all a bit daft at that stage and Elric being co-opted into the whole prog-rock scene made him even more un-cool in my eyes.

Now some years later as a complete fantasy anorak I have felt the need to go back and fill in this gap and boy I wish I had got into them then as I would have loved them if I had allowed myself to! Moorcock sort of picked up the ball from Tolkien and Anderson, ran with it for quite a while and then passed onto the likes of Erikson, Martin and Fiest. I probably should mention The Thomas Covenant chronicles too, but on the grounds I may slash my own wrists before the end of the review I won't!

Back to the book. It is a work very much of it's time, a giant ruby throne, alternative planes of existance and of course magic swords! All maybe a bit old hat and naff now but at the time this was written.. very happening.

Also Elric himself completely breaks the mold of a seventies hero. This was also the era of Howard's Conan. A muscle bound, loincloth clad barbarian. Wheres as Elric is a slender albino sapling who must make himself a warrior to fear.

This the first in the series sees Elric lose his throne, win it back and then more or less give it away again. There are battles at sea, visits to weird cities in other dimensions and of course the discovery and mastery of a magic sword! The book was fairly fast moving and shortbut of course runs into a huge series.

Readers unaware of it's historical importance will of course compare it to the modern writers of today where it will lose points on it's lack of grit and gore, but if read those same writers acknowledgments and influences you will see many a word of praise from them to Moorcock.

A fantasy classic!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Michael Moorcock, 14 April 2008
What makes this book such compelling reading is that the hero, Elric, is a soul in turmoil, he is not at peace even with himself, let alone others, and as such is far removed from the traditional whiter than white hero. This makes him a very interesting and believable character. My only slight criticism is the 'multi-verse' Elric lives in is sometimes a little overwhelming, he travels backwards and forwards in time, as well as travelling physically, so there's so many worlds he travels between you sometimes get a little confused as to where his current adventure fits into the grand scheme of things. But generally this is a superb book, taking the fantasy genre into some very interesting directions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The begining of a great series., 5 Oct 2007
By 
M. A. Ramos (Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The entire saga is one of the best. And this book begins it.... you will want to read them all. I love the Robert Gould covers. There is something about this series, which has an authenticity, a tragic reality, very few other books like it have. The prose is lush and reads well aloud and Moorcock clearly relishes language, yet language and description are never secondary to the driving force of character and plot. This first book is not the best of the series (thus the 3 stars), but it is the best to start with.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morcook is THE Fantasy writer of today!, 8 Oct 2001
I've read his entire book in just two days, so gripping it was. Morcook takes us in a ride through the wonderfully detailed, if chaotic, world of Elric, the albino prince of the decadent kingdom of Melibone. Not human, ruler of a cruel people, Elric is ravaged by the conflict between his duties as an emperor and the sense of moral he has developed, a trait that not so many of his kind share...
All in all, this book is a classic, a true epic, describing the life of one of fantasy's most loved characters, and an excelent introduction to the other books in the eternal champion series.
Just read it! You will love it...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read fantasy story, 31 Aug 2014
Whilst looking through a second-hand book shop last week I realized that although I’d played the roleplaying game Stormbringer and read a few of the later books I’d never read the story that explains how it all started. How could I possibly resist?

Although a fairly short story there is so much story and character in every page that it feels much longer. There is no wasted space in this thoroughly enjoyable story. It made a refreshing change to read a fantasy story that I could hold in one hand.

Probably my favourite thing about Elric’s world is that all sorcery comes at a price. A bargain must be made with the elemental or demon providing the power. The more powerful the magic the more dangerous the bargain. There is one line in this story that makes the whole thing work for me. It basically says that the physical manifestations of a bargain are inversely proportional to the power of the spell. That is the insidious nature of sorcery. The powerful sorcerer thinks they are in control and so makes ever greater bargains that hasten their demise. All that from a single line. There are more lines like that too.

If you have any interest in fantasy fiction you really do need to read this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And soon to be a major movie!!, 9 Mar 2003
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News that the Elric stories were at last to be filmed, after Michael Moorcock has for years refused to let them appear on the silver screen, must have pleased all his fans. On the basis of that, I went back and re-read this volume and its companion. It took me well over a week to zip through - and it holds up even better than it did when I first read the first Elric story, Elric of Melnibone, many years ago. There is something unique about Elric, the haunted albino king who can only survive by means of his evil runesword Stormbringer. He stands beside Tolkien as THE original epic fantasy and I am in no doubt that the movie trilogy Moorcock and the Weitz brothers plan to make of the series will be the only fantasy adventure to rival Tolkien. This is hugely recommended!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elric is one of Moorcock's finest creations, 4 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Elric is a unique character -the heroic doomed anti-hero whom it is impossible not to sympathise and empathise with. His saga is truely epic and a must for fantasy readers. Moorcock's Eternal Champion, the multiverse and the characters that inhabit it draw the reader back to these books again and again. Readable and great entertainment.
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Elric Of Melnibone (Tale of the Eternal Champion)
Elric Of Melnibone (Tale of the Eternal Champion) by Michael Moorcock (Paperback - 3 April 2008)
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