Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock

Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock

Whilst looking through a second-hand book shop last week I realized that although I’d played the roleplaying game Stormbringer and read a few of the later books I’d never read the story that explains how it all started. How could I possibly resist?

Although a fairly short story there is so much story and character in every page that it feels much longer. There is no wasted space in this thoroughly enjoyable story. It made a refreshing change to read a fantasy story that I could hold in one hand.

Probably my favourite thing about Elric’s world is that all sorcery comes at a price. A bargain must be made with the elemental or demon providing the power. The more powerful the magic the more dangerous the bargain. There is one line in this story that makes the whole thing work for me. It basically says that the physical manifestations of a bargain are inversely proportional to the power of the spell. That is the insidious nature of sorcery. The powerful sorcerer thinks they are in control and so makes ever greater bargains that hasten their demise. All that from a single line. There are more lines like that too.

If you have any interest in fantasy fiction you really do need to read this book.

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