on 27 February 2012
I've been an admirer of Michael Moorcock for about 40 years. He's really been a trailblazer in the genre of heroic fantasy, adding to Tolkien's mysticism and Howard's swashbuckling frenzy the multilayered, multicolour wonder of the swinging sixties,with their mixture of political awareness, psychedelia and supreme irony. After the Hawkmoon tetralogy and the first Corum cycle, I think this trilogy is one of the most entertaining and satisfying within Mooorcock's oeuvre: a totally original story with some debt to Irish and Cornish mythology, and a very grim one, too. I warmly advise you to spend a few days with the reborn Corum in the deadly, ice-locked world of the Mabden race, hopelessly warring against the evil Fhoi Myore...
on 24 February 2014
What happens to a hero once his task is done? This is the central theme of this trilogy and the answer does not come until the final page.
Corum was the first incarnation of the Eternal Champion that I read, and has remained my favourite after all the Michael Moorcock books that I have read. And of Corum, the Chronicles trilogy is my favourite of the two, which expands on the 'Celtic' flavour of the first trilogy by delving in Welsh, and in particular, Irish mythology.
After Rhalina finally dies of old age, Corum sinks into depression and seems destined to waste away until he hears a call in his dreams, begging him for assistance. From there he leaps forward in time to where there are few Mabden left, and those that survive are slowly being killed off by the Final Winter and the Fhoi Myore, inhabitants from Limbo that have been stranded in their world.
This is a darker trilogy to the Swords of Corum. Friendships are betrayed, hope is lost, and any victories Corum achieves are tempered by loss and the realisation that there may be no home for him among the Mabden after all. At the beginning of his new life, he is told to fear three things - the harp, a brother, and beauty. The answer to these is not as expected, and the last scene will stay with you.
Corum seems to have been lost in the shadow of Elric. The Chronicles of Corum demonstrate just how unfair that was as he in no way deserves to be forgotten. Michael Moorcock never wrote any more Corum stories after this, which is a great pity. Surely somewhere in the multiverse there is room for one last adventure?