The Mad God's Amulet (Runestaff Series #2)

The Mad God's Amulet (Runestaff Series #2)

3.9 9
by Michael Moorcock

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In Michael Moorcock’s vast and imaginative multiverse, Law and Chaos wage war in a never-ending struggling over the fundamental rules of existence. Here in this universe, Dorian Hawkmoon traverses a world of antique cities, scientific sorcery, and crystalline machines as he pulled unwillingly into a war that pits him against the ruthless and dominating armies of


In Michael Moorcock’s vast and imaginative multiverse, Law and Chaos wage war in a never-ending struggling over the fundamental rules of existence. Here in this universe, Dorian Hawkmoon traverses a world of antique cities, scientific sorcery, and crystalline machines as he pulled unwillingly into a war that pits him against the ruthless and dominating armies of Granbretan.

After withstanding the power of the Black Jewel and saving the city of Hamadan from the conquest of the Dark Empire of Granbretan, Hawkmoon set off for Kamarang, where friendship and love await him. But the journey is beyond treacherous. With his boon companion, Oladahn, the beastman of the Bulgar Mountians, Hawkmoon discovers the peaceful city of Soryandum, which holds the power to transcend the confines of time and space. This power, which keeps the city from falling to the Dark Empire, could keep Kamarang safe. But alas his love Yisselda is now a prisoner of the Mad God, whose powerful amulet is linked to Hawkmoon’s ultimate destiny: a power that began at creation and calls heroes to arms throughout existence. Hawkmoon must rip this amulet from the neck of the Mad God if he hopes to save the city of Kamarang and free his friends and his one true love from the Dark Empire's relentless wrath.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Venerable fantasy author Moorcock returns to the far future world of the Runestaff in this 1968 sequel to The Jewel in the Skull. Dorian Hawkmoon's journey back to Castle Brass is interrupted by seemingly chance encounters, first with Granbretan's forces and then with a series of increasingly dangerous foes. Aided by his faithful companions, Hawkmoon must outwit the Dark Empire, defeat pirates and monsters, and overcome the Mad God and his army of madwomen to rescue his beloved (and tissue-thin) Yisselda and save Castle Brass. The frenetic action comes at the cost of characterization, and Moorcock unabashedly embraces extraordinary, contrived coincidences as he pushes his protagonists to inevitable victory against overwhelming forces. Some readers will find the story quaintly charming, while others will think it hopelessly outdated. (Apr.)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Runestaff Series, #2
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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The city was old, begrimed by time. A place of wind- worn stones and tumbled masonry, its towers tilting and its walls crumbling. Wild sheep cropped the grass that grew between cracked paving stones, bright- plumed birds nested among columns of faded mosaic. The city had once been splendid and terrible; now it was beautiful and tranquil. The two travelers came to it in the mellow haze of the morning, when a melan­choly wind blew through the silence of the ancient streets. The hoofs of the horses were hushed as the travelers led them be­tween towers that were green with age, passed by ruins bright with blossoms of orange, ochre and purple. And this was So­ryandum, deserted by its folk.
The men and their horses were turned all one colour by the dust that caked them, making them resemble statues that had come to life. They moved slowly, looking wonderingly about them at the beauty of the dead city.
The .rst man was tall and lean, and although weary he moved with the graceful stride of the trained warrior. His long fair hair had been bleached near white by the sun, and his pale blue eyes had a hint of madness in them. But the thing most remarkable about his appearance was the dull black jewel sunk into his fore­head just above and between the eyes, a stigmata he owed to the perverted miracle workings of the sorcerer- scientists of Granbre­tan. His name was Dorian Hawkmoon, Duke von Köln, driven from his hereditary lands by the conquests of the Dark Empire, which schemed to rule the world. Dorian Hawkmoon, who had sworn vengeance against the most powerful nation on his war­ tormented planet.
The creature who followed Hawkmoon bore a large bone bow and a quiver of arrows on his back. He was clad only in a pair of britches and boots of soft, .oppy leather, but the whole of his body, including his face, was covered in red, wiry hair. His head came to just below Hawkmoon’s shoulder. This was Oladahn, cross- bred offspring of a sorcerer and a Mountain Gi­antess from the Bulgar Mountains.
Oladahn patted sand from his fur and looked perplexed. “Never have I seen a city so fair. Why is it deserted? Who could leave such a place?”
Hawkmoon, as was his habit when puzzled, rubbed at the dull black jewel in his forehead. “Perhaps disease—who knows? Let’s hope that if it was disease, none of it lingers on. I’ll specu­late later, but not now. I’m sure I hear water somewhere—and that’s my .rst requirement. Food’s my second, sleep’s my third—and thought, friend Oladahn, a very distant fourth . . .”
In one of the city’s plazas they found a wall of blue- grey rock that had been carved with .owing .gures. From the eyes of one stone maiden fell pure spring water that splashed into a hollow fashioned below. Hawkmoon stooped and drank, wiping wet hands over his dusty face. He stepped back for Oladahn to drink, then led the horses forward to slake their thirst.
Hawkmoon reached into one of his saddlebags and took out the cracked and crumpled map that had been given him in Hamadan. His .nger crept across the map until it came to rest on the word ‘Soryandum’. He smiled with relief. “We are not too far off our original route,” he said. “Beyond these hills the Euphrates .ows and Tarabulus lies beyond it by about a week’s journey. We’ll rest here for today and tonight, then continue on our way. Refreshed, we will travel more rapidly.”
Oladahn grinned. “Aye, and you’d explore the city before we leave, I fancy.” He splashed water on his fur, then bent to pick up his bow and quiver. “Now to attend to your second require-ment—food. I’ll not be gone long. I saw a wild ram in the hills. Tonight we’ll dine off roast mutton.” He remounted his horse and was away, riding for the broken gates of the city while Hawkmoon stripped off his clothes and plunged his hands into the cool spring water, gasping with a sense of utter luxury as he poured the water over his head and body. Then he took fresh clothing from the saddlebag, pulling on a silk shirt given him by Queen Frawbra of Hamadan and a pair of blue cotton britches with .aring bottoms. Glad to be out of the heavier leather and iron he had worn for protection’s sake while crossing the desert in case any of the Dark Empire’s men were following them, Hawkmoon donned a pair of sandals to complete his out.t. His only concession to his earlier fears was the sword he buckled about him.
It was scarcely possible that he could have been followed here, and besides, the city was so peaceful that he could not be­lieve any kind of danger threatened.
Hawkmoon went to his horse and unsaddled it, then crossed to the shade of a ruined tower to lie with his back against it and await Oladahn and the mutton.
Noon came and went, and Hawkmoon began to wonder what had become of his friend. He dozed for another hour before real trepidation began to stir in him and he rose to resaddle his horse.
It was highly unlikely, Hawkmoon knew, that an archer as skilled as Oladahn would take so long in pursuit of one wild sheep. Yet there seemed to be no possible danger here. Perhaps Oladahn had grown weary and decided to sleep for an hour or two before hauling the carcass back. Even if that were all that was delaying him, Hawkmoon decided, he might need assis­tance.
He mounted his horse and rode through the streets to the crumbling outer wall of the city and to the hills beyond. The horse seemed to recover much of its former energy as its hoofs touched grass, and Hawkmoon had to shorten the rein, riding into the hills at a light canter.
Ahead was a herd of wild sheep led by a large, wise looking ram, perhaps the one Oladahn had mentioned, but there was no sign at all of the little beast- man.
“Oladahn!” Hawkmoon yelled, peering about him. “Oladahn!” But only muf.ed echoes answered him.
Hawkmoon frowned, then urged his horse into a gallop, riding up a hill taller than the rest in the hope that from this van­tage point he would be able to see his friend. Wild sheep scat­tered before him as the horse raced over the springy grass. He reached the top of the hill and shielded his eyes from the glare of the sun. He stared in every direction, but there was no sign of Oladahn.
For some moments he continued to look around him, hop­ing to see some trace of his friend; then, as he gazed toward the city, he saw a movement near the plaza of the spring. Had his eyes tricked him, or had he seen a man entering the shadows of the streets that led off the eastern side of the plaza? Could Oladahn have returned by another route? If so, why hadn’t he answered Hawkmoon’s call?
Hawkmoon had a nagging sense of terror in the back of his mind now, but he still could not believe that the city itself of­fered any menace.
He spurred his horse back down the hillside and leaped it over a section of ruined wall.
Muf.ed by the dust, the horse’s hoofs thudded through the streets as Hawkmoon headed toward the plaza, crying Oladahn’s name. But again he was answered only by echoes. In the plaza there was no sign of the little mountain man.
Hawkmoon frowned, almost certain now that he and Oladahn had not, after all, been alone in the city. Yet there was no sign of inhabitants.
He turned his horse toward the streets. As he did so his ears caught a faint sound from above. He looked upward, his eyes searching the sky, certain that he recognized the sound. At last he saw it—a distant black shape in the air overhead. Then sun­light .ashed on metal, and the sound became distinct, a clank­ing and whirring of giant bronze wings. Hawkmoon’s heart sank.
The thing descending from the sky was unmistakably an or­nate ornithopter, wrought in the shape of a gigantic condor, enameled in blue, scarlet, and green. No other nation on Earth possessed such vessels. It was a .ying machine of the Dark Em­pire of Granbretan.
Now Oladahn’s disappearance was fully explained. The war­riors of the Dark Empire were present in Soryandum. It was more than likely, too, that they had recognized Oladahn and knew that Hawkmoon could not be far away. And Hawkmoon was the Dark Empire’s most hated opponent.

Excerpted from Hawkmoon: The Mad God’s Amulet by Michael and Linda Moorcock.
Copyright © 1977 by Michael and Linda Moorcock.
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

MICHAEL MOORCOCK is a prolific English science fiction and fantasy writer. He is the author of the Eternal Champion books, including the Elric, Corum, and Hawkmoon series, as well as the literary novel Mother London. He lives in Texas.

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The Mad God's Amulet (Runestaff Series #2) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, one of Mr. Moorcock's earlier efforts (and not one of his best, by any means) costs more than twice as much here than if you ordered a real book from Amazon. Barnes and Noble saves money on printing, binding, storage and shipping with this electronic format. So why isn't the savings being passed on to the consumer? They're not going to generate a lot of interest in a gadget like the NOOK if the executives are lining their pockets with the savings that they should be passing along to the consumer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
None of his work aged well. Can't believe I loved this as a teenager.
PainFrame More than 1 year ago
Hawkmoon! Hawkmoon! This is book two of the Hawkmoon series, one being "The Jewel in the Skull", and this is just as great as the first. These were written in 1968 so it has a bit of a different flavor than current fantasy, which I love. Plus, this takes place in a future earth (post-apocalypse) where there are tons of misunderstood and forgotten-about technology squirreled away everywhere (such as the Mad God's Amulet). I really dig this. So even though this is a fantasy story where there is plenty of sword-wielding, horseback-riding, and armor-wearing, there are also robot creatures, flying machines and laser turrets. A great adventure, and I dare you not to roll right into book three (The Sword of the Dawn) after you finish!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Dorian Hawkmoon and his companion Oladahn the Bulgar Mountain Beastman journey towards Castle Brass. However their trek is interrupted by the powerful ruthless Dark Empire of Granbretan armies and their evil dark jewel power (see The Jewel in the Skull). The pair survive and enter Soryandum a rare city not conquered by the Dark Empire due to their knowledge of time and space. Dorian thinks if he can learn the secrets of this safe city, he can use them to keep Kamar safe; the home of his beloved Yisselda, currently a prisoner of the Mad God. Hawkmoon knows he must battle through the Granbretan forces and evil monsters, but is unprepared for nasty pirates assaulting him and his travel mates. Still he and the others continue their quest knowing the madwomen army of the Mad God awaits them before he can attempt to take the amulet away from the insane deity. This reprint from the Law and Chaos saga is a terrific action-packed entry as the rules of existence are fought eternally. Filled with battle scenes after battle scenes, the cast is never developed except somewhat the hero and the use of chance to move forward the quest is distracting. However, readers who enjoy an ultra high octane fantasy set in a fascinating multiverse will appreciate the adventures of Hawkmoon. Harriet Klausner