Top critical review
If you enjoyed the first book
on 20 February 2018
This anthology re-prints the swords trilogy, the first three Michael Moorcock books based on his character Corum. In these, Moorcock attempted to present a deeper characterisation than in some of his fantasy novels (for example Corum) but unfortunately they continue to be episodic and break little new ground.
The first book, The Knight of swords, represents a straight forward revenge story where a peaceful character, Corum, is driven to seek revenge and accept this as his destiny. It includes some imaginative bits involving chaos. While it is entertaining and worth reading if you are a fan of fantasy, it does nothing to justify Moorcocks reputation for groundbreaking and imaginative fantasy fiction.
The next book in the anthology, 'The Queen of Swords', continues the story. It does at times seem as if it is repeating the story of the previous book with slightly bigger special effects. If you enjoyed the first book, then you will probably enjoy this but it doesn't have anything to recommend it to someone who is not already a Moorcock fan.
The final book is 'The King of Swords'. This is the best in the trilogy because it dares to break away from the established pattern of the previous novels, breaking down the multiverse and introducing characters (namely Elric and Erekose) from his wider universe. The problem is, while Moorcock comes up with a clever plot, he does it at the expense of his previous character building in the previous two novels. This means that Corum could be any nameless Moorcock hero, acting as the plot requires, rather than his character requires.
So in all, 3/5. Buy if your a fan of Moorcock but not if you want something new.