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on 12 April 2014
Michael Moorcock is swiftly becoming one of my favourite fantasy writers and this collection of novels (novellas really) about the aspect of the Eternal Champion known as Hawkmoon. All four books follow a similar pattern which is a quest for a shiny magical object culminating in an epic and seemingly hopeless battle. That said, it's a good formula and works really well.

The books concern Duke Hawkmoon who is caught up in a battle to defeat the Dark Empire of Granbretan who are rapidly conquering Europe. They're populated with beautifully described cities and landscapes, hilariously creative weapons, and some of the nastiest villains in literature. The characters are, for the most part, written well and are believable even within such an outrageously bizarre story.

Moorcock has stated that he wrote the books in three days and they're very short. This has both positive and negative consequences for the books. They're undeniably action packed and fast paced. There's never a dull moment as the hero and his companions battle their way from one danger to the next. It doesn't drag at any point which makes reading them a thoroughly enjoyable experience. However, Moorcock seems to have frequently written himself into traps that he doesn't feel he has the word count to deal with properly. The result is a series of miraculous escapes by previously unknown or unmentioned means, be it the arrival of a new ally or the sudden revelation of power or tool that one of the characters had all along. It doesn't ruin the books but does smell ever so slightly of lazy writing. Sadly, the grand finale of the whole series is barely three pages long and just seems to abruptly resolve with a very weak ending. This was slightly disappointing having enjoyed the series so much.

That aside, despite it's weak points this series of books is really worth reading for any fan of fantasy. You needn't have read any other Moorcock books before these as they stand alone very well, though if you're looking for a really good introduction to Michael Moorcock's style and genre, I would heartily recommend getting a copy of his Nomad Of Time Streams series which I found to be some of the greatest and most enjoyable fantasy novels I ever read.

All in all a brilliant, if slightly truncated, read.
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on 20 August 2015
Of all the incarnations of the Eternal Champion, Hawkmoon is the least complicated. Unlike his peers, he is not prone to bouts of self analysis or introspection.

Cleverly reversing the traditional jingoism of 'good' Brits against 'bad' Germans, Moorcock gives us a no-nonsense fantasy thriller, with a no nonsense protagonist. Not for Hawkmoon meta-physical debates or philosophical discourse. Hawkmoon is clear in purpose and action.

As much as I enjoy the Eternal Champion series, there are times when I wish Moorcock could have laid off the philosophy. Arguably, it's this philosophy that drives the series and raises it above the works of others. But there are times when you're not in the mood for prime steak, and a cheeseburger will suffice. With Hawkmoon, Moorcock does this, letting the characters and the action roar along at a terrific pace.

Easily one of my favourites in the series.
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on 4 June 2013
I first read the Hawkmoon books way back in the 1970's,along with the other Eternal Champion books.
I was NOT disappointed with this much larger edition/collection of Hawkmoons fight against the dark empire
along with friends he makes on his travels.

Afine read that will never pass away,
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on 26 October 2015
This is my favourite book. Michael Moorecock is a must for any fantasy reader
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on 23 August 2014
Other reviewers have described this as a seminal work for the modern fantasy genre and have heaped praise upon Moorcock. I have to say that I simply don't see this work in that light. To my mind rather than ushering in a new era of fantasy I believe that it harks back to a "pulp" style of writing. I don't necessarily use the term "pulp" in a derogatory fashion here but it does feel very episodic and many of the characters are less than two dimensional serving only to impart some small piece of information before dying. The style often feels repetitive; Hawkmoon travels somewhere, meets strange people, the recurring bad guys turn up, (almost) everyone except Hawkmoon dies and thus he moves on...and there is far too much reliance on Deus ex machine to resolve poor plot development. We are regularly beaten about the head with the notion that Hawkmoon is the chosen of the Runestaff and that there is only one way that this story is going. There are few female characters and only one of those is remotely engaging and well written. Personally I found Hawkmoon and his companions deeply uninteresting, I'd have far rather read 600+ pages on the "heroes" of Granbretan and their schemings and machinations. Indeed I felt the scenes set in Granbretan/Londra to be the only well written elements of this work (and these actually remind me of the scenes at the court of Melnebone).

So, in conclusion, I have to say that I was left very disappointed with this book. From other reviews I thought I was going to be reading a masterly written fantasy classic whereas instead it felt like a hack written piece of pulp. Whilst not totally unreadable it is hugely predictable.
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on 22 July 2014
Bought for my Husband to replace his Moorcock collection that is falling to bits so it must be good.
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