Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone #2)

Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone #2)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345498632
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/29/2008
Series: Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone Series , #2
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michael John Moorcock (born 1939) is a prolific British writer primarily of science fiction and science fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels. His most popular works by far have been the Elric novels. As editor of the controversial British science fiction magazine New Worlds, Moorcock fostered the development of the New Wave in the UK and indirectly in the U.S. He won the Nebula Award for his novella Behold the Man, which tells the story of a time traveler who takes on the role of Christ. He has also won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, and many others, and in 2008 was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

BETWEEN WAKEFULNESS AND sleeping, we have most of us had the illusion of hearing voices, scraps of conversation, phrases spoken in unfamiliar tones. Sometimes we attempt to attune our minds so that we can hear more, but we are rarely successful. Between wakefulness and sleeping, I began, every night, to hear voices . . .

Had I hung, for an eternity in limbo? Was I alive–dead? Was there a memory of a world which lay in the far past or the distant future? Of another world which seemed closer? And the names? Was I John Daker or Erekos‘? Was I either of these? Many other names, Shaleen, Artos, Brian, Umpata, Roland, Ilanth, Ulysses, Alric, fled away down the ghostly rivers of my memory. I hung in darkness, bodiless. A man spoke. Where was he? I tried to look but had no eyes to see.


“Erekosë the Champion, where are you?”

Another voice, then: “Father . . . it is only a legend . . .”

“No, Iolinda. I feel he is listening. Erekosë . . .”

I tried to answer, but had no voice. Swirling half-dreams of a house in a great city of miracles, a swollen, grimy city of miracles, crammed with dull-coloured machines, many of which bore human passengers. Of buildings, beautiful beneath their coatings of dust and of other, brighter buildings not so beautiful, with austere lines and many glass windows. Of a troop of riders galloping over an undulating countryside, flamboyant in armour of lacquered gold, coloured pennants draped around their blood-encrusted lances. Their faces were heavy with weariness. Of more faces, many faces, some of which I half recognized, others which were unfamiliar, people clad in strange clothes. A picture of a white haired, middle-aged man who had a tall, spiked crown upon his head. His mouth moved, he was speaking . . .

“Erekosë, it is I, King Rigenos, Defender of Humanity. You are needed again, Erekosë. The Hounds of Evil rule a third of the world and humankind is weary of the war against them. Come to us, Erekosë and lead us to victory. From the Plains of Melting Ice to the Mountains of Sorrow they have set up their corrupt standard and I fear they will advance yet further into our territories.”

The woman’s voice: “Father, this is only an empty tomb. Not even the mummy of Erekosë remains–it became drifting dust long ago. Let us leave and return to Necranal to marshal the living peers.”

I felt like a fainting man who strives to fight against dizzy oblivion but, however much he tries, cannot take control of his own brain. Again I tried to answer, but could not.

It was as if I wavered backwards through time, while every atom of me wanted to go forwards. I had the sensation of vast size as if I were made of stone with eyelids of granite, measuring miles across–eyelids which I could not open. And then I was tiny–the most minute grain in the universe, and yet I felt I belonged to the whole far more than the stone giant.

Memories came and went. The whole panorama of the twentieth century, its beauties and its bitternesses, its satisfactions, its strifing, rushed into my mind like air into a vacuum. But it was only momentary, for the next second my entire being was flung elsewhere–to a world which was Earth, but not the Earth of John Daker, not quite the world of dead Erekosë, either.

There were three great continents, two close together, divided from the other by a vast sea containing many islands, large and small.

I saw an ocean of ice which I knew to be slowly shrinking–the Plains of Melting Ice. I saw the third continent which bore lush flora, mighty forests, blue lakes and was bound along its northern coasts by a towering chain of mountains–the Mountains of Sorrow. This I knew to be the domain of the Eldren, whom King Rigenos had called the Hounds of Evil.

Now, on the other two continents, I saw the wheatlands of the West on the continent of Zavara, with their tall cities of multicoloured rock, the rich cities of the wheatlands–Stalaco, Calodemia, Mooros and Ninadoon.

There were the great seaports–Shilaal, Wedmah, Sinana, Tarkar, and Noonos of towers cobbled with precious stones.
Then I saw the fortress cities of the Continent of Necralala, with the capital city Necranal chief among them, built on, into and about a mighty mountain, peaked by the spreading palace of its warrior kings.
Now a little more came clear as, in the background of my awareness, I heard a voice calling Erekos‘, Erekos‘, Erekos‘ . . .

The warrior kings of Necranal, kings for two thousand years of Humanity united, at war, and united again. The warrior kings of whom King Rigenos was the last living and aging now, with only a daughter, Iolinda, to carry on his line. Old and weary with hate–but still hating. Hating the unhuman folk whom he called the Hounds of Evil, mankind’s age-old enemies, reckless and wild, linked, it was said, by a thin line of blood to the human race–an outcome of a union between an ancient queen and the Evil One, Azmobaana.

Hated by King Rigenos as soulless immortals, slaves of Azmobaana’s machinations.

And, hating, he called upon John Daker, whom he called Erekosë, to aid him with his war against them.
“Erekosë, I beg thee answer me. Are you ready to come?” His voice was loud and echoing and when, after a struggle, I could reply, my own voice seemed to echo also.

“I am ready,” I replied, “but appear to be chained.”

Chained?” There was consternation in his voice. “Are you, then, a prisoner of Azmobaana’s frightful minions? Are you trapped upon the Ghost Worlds?”

“Perhaps,” I said. “But I do not think so. It is space and time which chain me. I am separated from you by a gulf.”

“Already we pray that you may come to us.”

“Then continue,” I said.

I was falling away again. I thought I remembered laughter, sadness, pride. Then, suddenly, more faces, I felt as if I witnessed the passing of everyone I had known, down the ages, and then one face superimposed itself over the others–the head and shoulders of an amazingly beautiful woman, with blonde hair piled beneath a diadem of precious stones which seemed to light the sweetness of her oval face. “Iolinda,” I said. I saw her more solidly now. She was clinging to the arm of the tall, gaunt man who wore a crown–King Rigenos.

They stood before an empty platform of quartz and gold, and resting on a cushion of dust was a straight sword which they dared not touch. Neither did they dare step too close to it for it gave off a radiation which might slay them.

It was a tomb in which they stood. The Tomb of Erekosë–my tomb. I moved towards the platform, hanging over it. Ages before, my body had been placed there. I stared at the sword which held no dangers for me but was unable, in my captivity, to pick it up. It was my spirit only which inhabited the dark place–but the whole of my spirit now, not the fragment which had inhabited the tomb for thousands of years. The fragment which had heard King Rigenos and had enabled John Daker to hear it, to come to it and be united with it.

“Erekosë!” called the king, straining his eyes through the gloom as if he had seen me. “Erekosë–we pray.”

Then I experienced the dreadful pain which I suppose a woman to go through when bearing a child. A pain that seemed eternal and yet was intrinsically its own vanquisher. I was screaming, writhing in the air above them. Great spasms of agony–but an agony complete with purpose–the purpose of creation.
At last I was standing, materially, before them.

“I have come,” I said. “I am here, King Rigenos. I have left nothing worthwhile behind me–but do not let me regret that leaving.”

“You will not regret it, Champion.” He was pale, exhilarated, smiling. I looked at Iolinda who dropped her eyes modestly and then, as if against her will, raised them again to regard me. I turned to the dais on my right.

“My sword,” I said reaching for it.

I heard King Rigenos sigh with satisfaction.

“They are doomed, now, the dogs,” he said.

They had a sheath for the sword. It had been made days before. King Rigenos left to get it, leaving me alone with Iolinda. I did not question my being there and neither, it seemed, did she. We regarded one another silently until the king returned with the scabbard.

“This will protect us against your sword’s poison,” he said.

I took it, slid the sword into it. The scabbard was opaque, like glass. The metal was unfamiliar to me, as John Daker, light, sharp, dull as lead. Yet the feel of it awaked dim remembrance which I did not bother to arouse. Why was I the only one who could wear the sword without being affected by its radiation?
Was it because I was constitutionally different in some way to the rest of these people? Was it that the ancient Erekosë and the unborn John Daker (or was that vice versa?) had metabolisms which had become adapted in some way against the power which flowed from the sword?

I had become, in that transition from my own age to this, unconcerned. It was as if I was aware that my fate had been taken out of my own hands to a large extent. I had become a tool. If only I had known for what I should be used, then I might have fought against the pull and remained harmless, ineffectual John Daker. But perhaps I could not have fought.

At any rate, I was prepared from the moment I materialized in the Tomb of Erekosë to do whatever Fate demanded of me. Later, things were to change.

I walked out of the tomb into a calm day, warm with a light breeze blowing. We stood on a small hill.
Below us a caravan awaited–there were richly caparisoned horses and a guard of men dressed in that same golden armour I had seen in my dreams, but these warriors were fresher-looking.

The armour was fluted, embellished with raised designs, ornate and beautiful but, according to my sparse reading on the subject of armour, coupled with Erekosë’s stirring memory, totally unsuitable for war. The fluting and embossing acted as a trap to catch the point of a spear or sword, whereas armour should be made to turn a point. This armour, for all its beauty, acted more as an extra danger than a protection.

The guards were mounted on heavy war horses but the beasts that knelt awaiting us resembled a kind of camel out of which all the camel’s lumpen ugliness had been bred. These beasts were beautiful. On their high backs were cabins of ebony, ivory and mother-o’-pearl, curtained in scintillating silks.

We walked down the hill and, as we walked, I noticed that I was dressed in the pyjamas I had worn when first I went to bed. I was surprised, although they were not wholly incongruous, since the king’s garments were flowing and loose, but they seemed wrong. I felt that I should have left these, also, behind me–on another body. But perhaps there is no body left behind.

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Elric 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are unfamiliar with the Elric novels, do not buy! Wait for SFGateway to re-release the original novels. This version of the series is terribly disjointed with the first book in this series containing parts of the 3rd, 5th and all of the 6th original novels. The third book in this series matches up with the 4th original novel. And the fourth book in this series matches up with the 2nd original novel. If you are not already familiar with the novels, good luck putting it all together or understanding the motivations of the characters.
Valid8r More than 1 year ago
I first discovered Moorcock's Elric and The Eternal Champion saga in 7th grade. I have read every English edition and I recommend them all to the neophyte and to the subject matter expert if one has never had the pleasure. Makes me want to break out my AD&D gear and my vorpal sword! :)
harstan More than 1 year ago
"Fortress Of The Pearl". Lord Gho Fhaazi wants a position on the Council of Seven that rules over the city of Quarzhasaat, but he knows he needs help to overcome his rivals. He chooses Prince Elric of Melnibone as his tool to obtain the Pearl at the Heart of the World that will insure his spot on the council. To insure Elric cooperates, he poisons him using a slow acting agent in which he has the serum. Elric begins his escapades as the affluent class' minion the Sorcerer Adventurers try to prevent his success and eventually trap his mind inside that of a comatose teenage female, but with the Dreamthief to guide him through the Dream Realm, Elric continues his quest. The novel above is half of Elric In the Dream Realms and it is one of his greatest early tales and makes the book worth reading. The short story "A Portrait in Ivory" is terrific also as the albino hero is confronted by his worst enemy, the mirror reminding him he should be known as Elric Kinslayer filled with remorse for Cymoril more so than Imrryr. The other entries like "Elric: The Making of a Graphic Novel", the essay "Aspects of Fantasy", and the background material of "Earl Aubec of Malodor", etc. target die hard fans of Michael Moorcock only. Overall the fifth Chronicles of the last Emperor of Melnibone is an engaging look at Elric In The Dream realms. Harriet Klausner
EricABQ More than 1 year ago
Elric the Stealer of Souls starts a series of books collecting Moorcock's Eternal Champion cycle. The Eternal Champion is a character that is reincarnated in differant times and places to fight for balance between the forces of extreme Order and Chaos. The first few books are about Elric last emperor of Melnibonie who carries the soul stealing blade Stormbringer.
NYM More than 1 year ago
Elric: The Stealer of Souls is the story of Elric, the last of his noble line, and his travels. Elric has left his kingdom behind and is exploring the outlying lands with Stormbringer, his sentient sword. Being a dark fantasy, Elric's adventures are filled with horrendous creatures, evil beings and violent encounters. Moorcock does a fabulous job developing the characters and setting his scenes. The world he creates is well thought out and planned. There were occasional scenes that didn't quite ring true to me, but not so much that they seemed off. Enjoyable read and recommended to those who enjoy the genre, but those who don't should probably pass.
StokerFan More than 1 year ago
Del Rey's current release of Michael Moorcock's Elric was conceived as an authoritative edition of the Albino king, who is a a central incarnation of Moorcock's Eternal Champion. I've been picking these up as they come out to the tune of what is currently five volumes, of which DUKE ELRIC is volume 4. Leaving my starred-rating breakdown as a commentary on the quality of the work, I'll leave additional explanation here to qualify and elucidate my feeling on DUKE ELRIC, in particular. Some of these comments may be extended in general to my feeling toward the series as a whole, that being favorable. So, DUKE ELRIC. This book contains the text of a segment of ELRIC titled THE SAILOR ON THE SEAS OF FATE, which had appeared in earlier editions as a familiar episode in the ELRIC saga often represented as part 2 of the cycle. That it appears as late in the current edition as volume 4 illustrates a point: Moorcock, like Gaiman and others after him, allows reinterpretation of his ideas with ELRIC being a prime example. I've compared this text of SAILOR with that in the Science Fiction Book Club edition and found differences as significant as the addition and deletion of full paragraphs in the early pages, and British versus American usage differences in some word choices. That the current edition is to be considered authoritative may, I suppose, be accepted given the author is alive, has allowed this, and has provided essays and other material, some new. Further comparison of early pages shows this edition to match more closely the text included in the White Wolf collectible hardcover ELRIC: SONG OF THE BLACK SWORD for those who desire to know, although neither comparison is comprehensive. Further inclusions in this volume are text of an ELRIC graphic novel titled DUKE ELRIC, and part 2 of Moorcock's essay ASPECTS OF FANTASY, as well as other related material. I very much like this series as it contains a longer view of the ELRIC cycle than we've had in a uniform edition, with material as diverse as essays, graphic novels, early, rare art, and good, authoritative editions of the familiar text.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first of three volumes of "The Balance Lost" series, which unites Elric, Corum, Dorian Hawkmoon, and Eric Beck in worlds where Law and Chaos are out of balance. This volume sets the stage of an increasingly unbalanced set of universes. Each of the champions is navigating their respective world and in the end all are called to the same place as the boundary between universes start to blur.
Chris_ More than 1 year ago
This particular volume contains "The Sailor on the Seas of Fate" novel in Michael Moorcock's Elric cycle. When I first read this novel as a kid I never really rated it (I wasn't keen on the Eternal Champion team-up stories) but reading it again recently it really impressed me. The story begins with our anti-hero on a stony shore, alone and on the run. Here's a slightly edited sample of the first chapter right from the top: "It was as if the man stood in a vast cavern whose walls and roof were comprised of gloomy, unstable colours which would occasionally break and admit rays of light from the moon. That these walls were mere clouds massed above mountains and ocean was hard to believe, for all that the moonlight pierced them, stained them and revealed the black and turbulent sea washing the shore on which the man now stood. "Distant thunder rolled; distant lightning flickered. A thin rain fell. And the clouds were never still. From dusky jet to deadly white they swirled slowly... "The sea seemed weary. Great waves heaved themselves together with difficulty and collapsed as in relief, gasping as they struck sharp rocks." Those last two sentences are quite possibly the best I've read all year. The writing is crisp and assured and the pacing and structure are tight. Like many of his fantasy novels, however, it's perhaps a little too brisk at times for my tastes when the action and plot overtake atmosphere and texture. But when it is atmospheric, as per the quote above, it is suitably fantastic - in some places even disorienting, such as the distant far future in the first part of the novel which was reminiscent of those of Jack Vance and William Hope Hodgson. If you like fantasy with a lot of flavour and have never read any Elric before then I highly suggest you push this series to the top of your list. It's a surprisingly light read too for all the detail and action. Although it's often violent and sometimes gruesome, the series is never as gothic as some of its fans make it out to be - and if that's what you're after you're probably better off checking out Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast" series. This is more along the lines of swash-buckling dark fantasy with a modern sensibility. It's worth noting that it doesn't really matter what order you read the books because Moorcock wrote the end of Elric's saga about a decade before he published its beginning. Which brings me to another small criticism I have with this novel, and perhaps my only real one: while the beginning of Sailors blew me away, the foreshadowing at the very end of the novel (the last sentence or two) felt a little heavy-handed and slightly bathetic, especially as we all know how the saga ends. But this is a small quibble in a novel and and writer well worth your time.
LamontCranston on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I have heard an awful lot about Moorcock and Elric, and I have heartily agreed with his 'Epic Pooh' essay. So I approached this with great expectations, further enhanced by Alan Moores introduction.What I read unfortunately did not live up to them.
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