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The Vanishing Tower (The Elric Saga #4)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,921 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
This is the DAW 5th printing.
Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
Mass Market Paperback, Daw No. 245 (UE1693), 175 pages
Published June 1st 1977 by DAW (first published 1971)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 14, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015

I am Elric of Melnibone, last of a line of great sorcerer kings. This blade I wield will do more than kill you, friend demon. It will drink your soul and feed it to me. Perhaps you have heard of me by another name? By the name of the Soul Thief?


Also known as the White Wolf, because he is an albino warrior. And as the Prince of Ruins, because in fulfilling a dark prophecy he has destroyed Imrryr, the Dreaming City, his own capital on the island of Melnibone. Also as Stormbringer, by the name of
Mar 01, 2011 Sath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Getting hard each time to write reviews for these. So much happened in this book that it would be impossible to sum it up properly, so it's easier just to think of what the highlights were for me.

Mostly I was happy to finally see the fabled city of Tanelorn. I loved the idea all along that there was a city that exists in every world and lasts for all time. I was glad it turned out to be more than just a myth.

Not many fantasy novels use the somewhat sci-fi device of alternate realities, but Moor
Aug 15, 2013 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Further adventures of Elric and his sidekick Moonglum consist of three interconnecting stories which is a usual structure of Elric books (sometimes there are four of them). It starts with some unfinished business from the previous book, proceeds to the city of beggars and ends in the incarnations of the Eternal Champion (Elric, Corum, and Erikose) working together.

Once again expect wild larger-than-life magic, meddling gods (they only meddle in the worst possible moments and never show up when
So, three novellas, structurally identical, wherein each the same lame antagonist threatens something that Elric wants preserved simply because he hates the antagonist, who returns from prior installments with new armies (one for each novella here) and new versions of the Fell Sorcery, only to be--surprise!--countered by Elric & Co., when they very luckily accidentally find a useful numinous object or when they very originally and unintuitively invoke the aid of some divine patron or other, ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jun 02, 2013 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am not very well-versed in the tropes of heroic fantasy, but Elric , the albino emperor of Melnibone, seems an unusually morose protagonist for such a genre. Not that he is without reasons for feeling down. He is, more properly speaking, the ex-emperor of Melnibone, and he saw to its destruction himself. Stormbringer, his mighty runesword that seems to have a mind and appetite of its own, has taken the life of his one true love, and he has lost other lovers and companions along the way. As thi ...more
Randolph Carter
You always get the feeling that most of the shorter Eternal Champion novels were written on the run, kind of like Anthony Trollope sitting down for so many hours to write so many pages per day. The Deus ex machina is always too much a part of this sort of Moorcock's sloppier slap-dash fantasy writing.

A pretty good start rambles about in typical Moorcock fashion into various travels, adventures, and perils involving a powerful sorcerer with much fantastical mayhem and swashbuckling. The best thi
Aug 23, 2015 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series does not keep its momentum very well, but I am crossing my fingers that the last few books of Elric are not as drab as this one. "Drab" might be a bit strong since the book has a lot of action, beautiful sorceresses, strong dude-bonds, and demonic redheads- but it all seems so passé!

What drew me into the series in the first place, Elric's weakened condition and intellectual musings, has been all but absent in this entry. So when the book should be full of gripping action sequences pi
Mi sembra di rivedere quelle classiche partite di calcio dove stai perdendo per 1-0 fino al 90esimo, e poi trovi il goal che ti permette di agguantare il pareggio.
"La torre che svaniva" è il quarto tassello della saga dedicata all'eburneo albino di Melnibonè, l'antieroe più famoso del genere fantasy.
Anche in questo volume ritrovo l'incostanza narrativa già ravvisata ne " il fato del lupo bianco", nonostante alcuni elementi affascinanti riescano ancora una volta a salvare la baracca.
Il primo atto
Dec 02, 2013 Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some very brief thoughts here. The episodic quality of these stories seems to put some people off, and that is a matter of taste. I enjoy the meandering quality of the books. So many fantasy works have a tightly focused quest that it's refreshing to have a break from that, more like the wanderings of Conan. I have never found the "transgressive" agenda of the books to be fully successful. Moorcock has discussed these works as an anti-Tolkien experience, but they still seem deeply enmeshed inn th ...more
Ignacio Senao f
Pues lo que se espera de ella: lucha con monstruos y magos.
Mar 09, 2016 Jos rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The series starts to get repetitive. Each volume consists of three short stories which could be read on their own by anybody familiar with Moorcock's multiverse. There's no sense of development. Elric masters one challenge after the other. It's still nice to have a conflicted grey hero who is tormented by his inner demons. But after 12 stories even their shortness and the fast paced plot barely manage to keep me entertained.

The overarching theme is his revenge against the evil wizard Theleb K'aa
Jérémie Moenne Loccoz
Cette aventure d'Elric nous transporte une nouvelle fois à un rythme effréné à travers les Jeunes Royaumes et au-delà. Toujours aussi torturé, le personnage d'Elric est certes riche et complexe, tiré par un destin toujours plus puissant. Cependant, l'action prend toujours le pas sur l'introspection et l'on reste sur sa faim tant on a le sentiment de ne faire qu'apercevoir la profondeur du personnage sans jamais vraiment qu'il nous laisse le temps de le comprendre et de créer un lien d'empathie q ...more
Sven Mysterioso
Jan 25, 2014 Sven Mysterioso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another in the saga of the albino incarnation of the Eternal Champion, Elric of Lost Melnibone. Which he himself pulled down to ashes in the first book.

Now he is a mercenary adrift. Hated and stereotyped by the people of the world. His features and lack of color certainly making him an easily recognizable demon of a man.

And stalwart Moonglum, who seems impervious to the curse the Elric apparently is for everyone else.

In this book we get more than a taste of the Eternal Champion mythos, as two ot
George Papuchis
Mar 13, 2016 George Papuchis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
70's pulpy goodness
Rachel Miller Wright
Ah. Turns out Elric is one face of the archetypal hero, who always travels with the archetypal companion. I like the idea but I am tired of the writing, so I think I will take a break from this series now. I am compelled only to find out why the "companion" seemed to have a god-like knowledge of things...will Moonglum turn out to have been a god all along? I just don't want to read two more of these repetitive tales to find out. Also, I don't like Elric. He has only selfish or bad reasons for do ...more
East Bay J
Jun 09, 2015 East Bay J rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Having lost his the most precious person in his life, Elric finds himself, aided by the faithful Moonglum, continuing to search for meaning and solace. The Weird Of The White Wolf saw Elric cast into despair and melancholy worse than any he had known, while the events in The Vanishing Tower find him examining relationships with his friends and companions, even as he wonders if there is any point in going on.

Theleb K'aarna continues to be a threat and a thorn in Elric's side and Elric has another
Aug 06, 2014 Kenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The saga of Elric the Emo continues. Seriously, I've not read any other 'hero' who whines so much about his own life and fate (except maybe Luke Skywalker), but nevertheless this is an entertaining tale.

The more I read, the more it seems the Elric is actually his own worst enemy. He manages to inspire the people he meets into ever more insane levels of revenge and plotting evil deeds, and seems to get out of trouble only to put himself each time into even worse situations. It's almost comedic :
Notice: I have made a review for every book of this series and they need to be read in order since they are supposed to feel like an on-going impression. So if you read the second without reading the first will feel rather off.

I am mostly focusing on the style of storytelling and a lot less on if it reads well or something sophisticated like that. For the same reason I tend to have lots of SPOILERS which means that if you read this text you will know THE OVERALL PLOT and how much I DIDN’T like
David Sarkies
Jul 09, 2015 David Sarkies rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like fantasy with a difference
Recommended to David by: Alice
Shelves: fantasy
Elric travels to Tanelorn
29 June 2013

I can't really remember much of this book because it has been a long time since I actually read it, though I believe that I did end up making my way through pretty much all of the Elric series. I am not sure either if I still have them, and I suspect that I don't because I ended up purging a lot of my books when I was somewhat younger to try to reduce the amount of clutter in my room. In a way I wanted, at the time, to not be burdened down by stuff so that I
Robert Beveridge
Jan 23, 2008 Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it
Michael Moorcock, The Vanishing Tower (DAW, 1970)

Some wag is bound to notice the odd release dates on the DAW definitive editions of the six "classic" Elric novels and ask "what's up?" It only starts making sense when you pair the books with the events therein; Moorcock makes mention of the events in The Vanishing Tower, for example, in The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (q.v.). Those events hadn't yet taken place in Elric's time, as Elric notes in The Sailor on the Seas of Fate; however, they had a
Nov 19, 2012 Onefinemess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Vanishing Tower (Elric 4) &
The Bane of the Black Sword (Elric 5)
both by: Michael Moorcock

I haven’t even finished Bane yet, but I’m confident enough to write the review ahead of time.

Here’s how it goes: Elric is chasing some guy that wronged him a book or two ago, and in the process has various adventures – almost all of which are resolved rather abruptly by one deux ex machina or another. It’s very bizarre. I’m like, “Is there a story here?” Half the time it feels like a loosely padded o
Edward Rathke
So far, this is the worst of the Elric books, I think. The writing is less sloppy than book three, back on par with book one and two, but it's less surreal and less tragic. It feels more scattered and somewhat petty, and the deus ex machina effect is troubling in this one.

All that aside, it's still a fun read. Elric is still a great character and the world is endlessly fascinating.

Still digging this series. Onto book five in a bit.
There are certain places in fiction that seems to have a life of their own, that seem to exist outside of ink and paper, Rick’s Café, Yoknapatawpha County, Lankhmar, The House of the Last Lamp, or Tanelorn where weary heroes go to find peace.

Elric of Melniboné is not the average sword & sorcery hero. He springs from an ancient pre-human race, steeped in black sorcery and evil. Elric is an albino, preternaturally weak except for two things. He is allied with the foulest of all the foul deitie
Luís Bermer
Interesante saga de fantasía heróica la de Elric el Melniboné, con toques oscuros e interés mantenido sin grandes altibajos.

Lee mi reseña completa aquí.
Vladimir Ivanov
May 20, 2015 Vladimir Ivanov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Очень неплохой, ровный сборник. Три красивые истории про путешествия Элрика и его вечное противостояние с обезумевшим от ревности Телебом Каарна. Финал несколько испорчен героями других книг Муркока, которые навязчиво лезут в мир Элрика (впрочем, нам не впервой).
Siskoid Albert
Again, Moorcock writes three interconnected novellas, that connection being Elric's confrontations with the evil wizard Theleb K'aarna. In the first, Elric consorts with a Goddess of Order. In the next, he is captured in the City of Beggars (an intriguing and original location). And in the third, he meets up with a couple other incarnations of the Eternal Champion to get his hands on a deus ex machina to save his friends. While the Eternal Champion concept is an interesting one, I feel like its ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Ann-lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ma mäletan, et need kõik mulle meeldisid ja said mitu korda üle loetud... Need kolm ilusat väljaannet siis. Teised kaks eestikeelset on mul samuti, aga nende kaaned on hirmsad ja lugesin neid hiljem ja seega armastan vähem :)
M. Ihsan Tatari
Jan 26, 2016 M. Ihsan Tatari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kader Denizlerindeki Denizci ile birlikte şimdiye dek seride okuduğum en iyi kitap. Yaşanan maceraların güzel olmasının yanı sıra bazı tanıdık yüzlerin de tekrar sahne alması aldığım keyfi ikiye katladı.
Rex Hughes
Oct 23, 2015 Rex Hughes rated it liked it
While it possesses many of the trappings that have made the Elric saga so strangely alluring up until now, the fourth volume was too erratic for my tastes. I understand that the stories were published separately, lending a different atmosphere to the three separate novellas; however, the only common thread running through all of them was a desperate quest for vengeance against a mad sorcerer. Suffice it to say, the story ran itself into the ground after repeating the same cat and mouse game over ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading the Elric series. What an epic series, told in a voice that is not seen in other books. The books vary in quality.

This particular book is my favorite so far. The imagery, the motivations, and the pain of Elric make this book magic.

It appears this one is the first one to have been written.... which kinda makes sense.

my reread order:

Elric of Melniboné (1972) -> done
The Fortress of the Pearl (1989) -> done
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (1976) ->done
The Weird of the White Wolf (19
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Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956,
More about Michael Moorcock...

Other Books in the Series

The Elric Saga (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories (Elric Chronological Order, #1)
  • Elric of Melniboné (Elric, #1)
  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2)
  • The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga, #3)
  • The Bane of the Black Sword (The Elric Saga, #5)
  • Stormbringer (Elric, #6)
  • Elric at the End of Time (Elric, #7)
  • The Fortress of the Pearl (Elric #8)
  • The Revenge of the Rose (Elric, #9)
  • The Dreamthief's Daughter

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