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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
I vaguely remember high school, but I do vividly recall the Brooklyn Tech Science Fiction Club and the discoveries I made within the walls of the library. Dune, The Hobbit, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Martian Chronicles, Asimov's Foundation trilogy -- these were moments of wonder for me. I also remember hearing about a series of books by Michael Moorcock about an angst-ridden albino prince and his vampiric, soul-stealing black blade -- a series I just had to read. The first book in the series, Stormbringer, was a thrilling adventure set at the end of an era in a huge multileveled universe. I devoured it like a starving man, that novel and every other book in Moorcock's Champion Eternal cycle (but the Elric novels were always the best). I am happy to say The Dreamthief's Daughter delivers the very same thrills I remember so well.
Count Ulric von Bek is the last of his line. An Austrian noble, he rules his small province quietly and justly. It is the late '30s, and Germany is slowly recovering from the first World War. But a civil war is on the horizon, and the rumblings of the Nazi party are starting to sound like thunder. As the Nazis increase in power and spread their rhetoric and influence, the systems of law and democracy are slowly being overturned. Ulric, however, is determined to join the White Rose Society, a group sworn to defeat Hitler and the Nazis. All the while that Ulric is fighting the Nazi movement, he is experiencing strange dreams of dragons and faraway lands. As the White Rose Society struggles against the Nazis, the fascist scientists and philosophers begin collecting objects of myth and power, hoping to add sorcery to their arsenal of war. The two story lines converge on Ulric.
It seems the von Bek family has incredibly old family heirlooms -- a cup that could be the Holy Grail and a rune-covered sword rumored to have belonged to Charlemagne. The black blade is named Ravenbrand and is said to possess a life and power of its own.
Ulric's cousin, Paul Gaynor von Minct, is fully given over to the Nazis. He is obsessed with taking possession of Ulric's sword -- for the sake of the party, he says -- but the truth is far more fantastic. Gaynor seeks to bring war to the multiverse, an infinite chain of alternate realities. With control of the artifacts, the multiverse could be his...
Consigned to a concentration camp, Count Ulric's only hope for survival seems to be releasing the artifacts into his cousin's hands. His continued refusal sees his castle razed, his home destroyed, and his servants murdered. His only escapes are his dreams of dragons and his visitations by an albino warrior in black armor and a dragon helm with blazing red eyes.
Before this story is over, Ulric will travel through the faery lands of the Middlemarch to stand side by side with the haunted Elric of Melnibone -- another aspect of himself, both being incarnations of the Champion Eternal. They both do battle with Prince Gaynor the Damned for the two swords, Ravenbrand and Stormbringer, the Stealer of Souls.
Insane gods, demons from Hell, and an army of half-men and supernatural knights will lay siege to the multiverse and the fabled city of Tanelorn -- the eternal sanctuary. Defeat in this conflict, fought over so many realms, would mean nothing less than oblivion. With The Dreamthief's Daughter, Moorcock ties together many aspects of the Champion Eternal myth and shows himself a gifted storyteller writing at the top of his game. (Jim Killen)