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on 16 August 2010
A long time ago, someone put me off reading Michael Moorcock - someone who had a pretty negative view of him as a writer. Bizarrely, I have absolutely no recollection who this was. Because of this person, I spent the first 37 years of my life not having read any Michael Moorcock. And I'm now thinking that was a mistake.

The four short stories that form the first half of this volume are the first Elric stories, dating back to 1961 and 1962, which puts them pretty early in terms of modern fantasy - six or seven years after Lord of the Rings. They are very different to LotR, but curiously quite similar to other parts of Tolkien's work that at that time were unpublished - notably the stories of Turin. Apparently both Moorcock and Tolkien's stories were influenced by the same tale from Finnish mythology, as indeed was Poul Anderson, but more on him in another review. A genuine coincidence it would seem.

Of course I knew about Elric before reading the books - If you've been exposed to as much fantasy role-playing as I have, he's hard to avoid. In a Games Workshop Q&A session at an RPG convention in the 80s, I once asked why GW seemed to be so obsessed with the concept of 'chaos' and the panel replied simply because they were all Michael Moorcock fans. Anyway, Elric - angst-ridden albino anti-hero with demonic super-sword. But for some reason I had it in my head that Moorcock wrote pulpy rubbish.

I was completely wrong. Even in these early books, I would say he stands above most fantasy authors in terms of his writing style. These stories are thrilling and exciting. I can see why they made a stir and why fantasy readers who gave up on LotR after Tom Bombadil would have got on rather better with Elric, exiled last Emperor of Melnibone and his evil soul-eating sword Stormbringer. Of course, it is possible to like both. It's probably true that angst-ridden anti-heroes have become more common in fantasy literature since the early 60s, but few can have been done as well as Elric.

The Elric stories also form part of Moorcock's 'Eternal Champion' cycle which features characters in different settings who are more-or-less incarnations of a central 'Eternal Champion'. I love this idea. After reading these first four Elric short stories, I went out and bought a lot of Moorcock works (mostly second-hand - some of them are difficult to get hold of new). Many of these books were Eternal Champion books. More reviews to follow!
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on 17 August 2011
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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on 18 July 2017
as expected
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on 6 April 2016
More tales of the Eternal Champion, beat Michael Moorcock series ever
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on 11 September 2013
Havent got around to the book yet but I read Stormbringer many yrs ago when at school. It stuck in my mind as a great book. This is second hand, cheap and very good condition
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on 26 March 2013
Its almost like a comic book series. Its fast paced action paced and quite dark. It also seems like so many games movies and comics since have taken from this book and the series that follows it. I think its a bit like the original star trek except with and albino sorcerer warrior instead of captain kirk. Give it a go, I loved it.
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on 28 October 2015
Good condition but a bit dated
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on 16 February 2015
bought as part of Christmas gifts.
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on 25 March 2014
Moorcocks best character, brought together in this masterworks special. My only complaint is that it's not available on Kindle... Yet!
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on 17 February 2013
Read Michael Moorcock books many moons ago and wanted to revisit author. Book delivered as promised and is now part of a selection of new books to read at leisure.
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