The Story... The Sword of Lankor is the story about Thuron of Ulmekoor, an adventuring warrior (I wont go so far as call him barbarian, as he doesn't...moreThe Story... The Sword of Lankor is the story about Thuron of Ulmekoor, an adventuring warrior (I wont go so far as call him barbarian, as he doesn't act like one) and Gaar, a Kend oracle and conjurer. The Kend, by the way, are furry beings from a land called Kendsahr. These two meet up one fateful night at an inn, when Thuron decides to help Gaar in a battle against a group of blue-skinned guards from the city of Taveeshe. That same day, a strange Golden Sphere also appears out of nowhere.
The Golden Sphere speaks and is apparently seeking a champion, the True Son of Waabis Ka'arbu, to undertake a Quest. Yes, you can surely see where this is going. Gaar convinces Thuron that he must compete in the arena, to become the True Son, and that is exactly what happens.
Now, Thuron must undertake the quest for the Golden Sphere, a quest that will take him far from Mount Thona, to the Forbidden Sea and the Crystal Isles. This is a classic sword and sorcery tale... with a small twist.
I wont go into more detail, as it would surely contain severe spoilers!
My Judgement... Well, I knew what I was going into; a classic sword and sorcery tale in the tradition of Conan and Brak the Barbarian. I also knew (from the cover and backcover) that there would be a twist... a twist from Outer Space.
However, when that is said, I really enjoyed reading about Thuron and Gaar (especially Gaar) and their journey across the surface of Lankor. The story is humorous, fast-paced and easy to read. It knows its genre well and offers plenty of fights, strange monsters, evil priests, amazon warriors and even a group of shrewd pirates.
Don't expect more... or you will only be disappointed.
[Ah, I almost forgot to tell you that there is a (fun) mistake by the end of the tale... concerning the sword No'ondo'or, the Blade of Truth!](less)
It's been a while since I read the first book in the Brak the Barbarian saga, but now it was time to continue the saga and read the next book.
So what...moreIt's been a while since I read the first book in the Brak the Barbarian saga, but now it was time to continue the saga and read the next book.
So what is it all about? Brak the Barbarian continues his journey south, towards Khurdisan, the fabled city of his dreams. In the first book he was ever on the road, visiting strange places, but now Brak has come to some unknown place that reminds me a little of an english feudal farm community. However, before he finds that place, he is forced into the Pit of the Manworm where he rescues a girl named Elinor, meets a weird old man and hears the voice of Septegundas. Oh, he also finds his pony half-way eaten on the road.
The beginning is great. We learn that Brak is nothing like Conan... he has lots of weaknesses and is incapable of slaying even a simple hellhound called Scarletjaw. I loved the setup as it gave me a chance to learn a bit about Brak, however, from here it becomes one long walk towards the altar.
On the way there, we are introduced to Nordica Fire-hair, the witch who dominates the hellhound and, in fact, the small community. An old lord called Strann, his son, Prins Pemma and a bunch of other minor characters. Apparently, Nordica has taken over the rule of the community and for one specific reason...
Yep, I won't say any more about the plot.
Did I like the book? Well, as I said, the beginning was great, but from there, the story becomes a little back and forth. I had hoped to learn a bit more about the setting, but didn't learn a whole lot to be honest. I liked the idea of Nordica, but she should have been a bump on the way, not the center of the entire book.
Overall, worth reading but had it been 30 pages longer, I probably would have rated it much worse. I hope the next in the saga returns Brak to the road.(less)
The Story... Brak is a barbarian in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's Conan. He is a simple man who was exiled from his northern and slightly more s...moreThe Story... Brak is a barbarian in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's Conan. He is a simple man who was exiled from his northern and slightly more savage homeland. Ever since hearing of Khurdisan the Golden, Brak has been wanting to see that place with his own eyes. This is what drives him south to warmer and more exotic lands.
Brak's life is one of endless adventure!
My Judgement... As you can probably tell, this book is pretty straightforward. Brak owns a broadsword that is more often than not, what saves the hide on his back. He must be a favored of the Goddess of Unluck, because Brak seems to attract danger like a cow's dung attracts flies. He is not discouraged, however, but face the dangers that is presented to him. He fights stranger Darter boys, mad cultists, evil conjurers and strange creatures of the ancient lands.
Brak the Barbarian is a classic Sword & Sorcery tale with everything that you could and should expect. Its language is flamboyant and slightly over the top, but also quite accessible and easy to read. There is much to like here, but only if you like the genre, I guess. I will probably forget most of the book, but there are certain moments that I wont let go any time soon... moments that will feed my imagination... at least for a little while.(less)
This anthology offers the reader insight into some of the best sword and sorcery characters of all-time, from Elric, to Fafhrd and even Conan. I espec...moreThis anthology offers the reader insight into some of the best sword and sorcery characters of all-time, from Elric, to Fafhrd and even Conan. I especially liked the Conan story as it gave me a very different view on the big brute!
Well worth the time of Sword and Sorcery fans. Here is a short review-in-progress.
Bazaar of the Bizarre (by Fritz Leiber) is a Fafhrd and Grey Mouser story set in Lankhmar. It is centered around a very special shop, run by some very special merchants. It is a fun and bizarre ride - well worth your time! (4 stars)
The Hungry Hercynian (by L. Sprague de Camp) is a fun little story about lords and cannibals. It has a well-deserved end! But honestly, I don't remember a lot about it. (2.5 stars)
Kings in Darkness (by Michael Moorcock) is an Elric story featuring his trusty sidekick, Moonglum. It is a classic Elric story, who finds adventure on his travels. (3 stars)
Shadows in Zamboula (by Robert E. Howard) is a Conan story. Whether it is classic or not, I'll leave for others to decide. This is more or less my first Conan story. This one also features cannibals and clever sorcerers. It paints a very different picture than, say, the Conan movies. (4 stars) (less)
I read this fantasy anthology a long time ago, at a time when I really hadn't read all that much Sword and Sorcery fiction. None of the stories really...moreI read this fantasy anthology a long time ago, at a time when I really hadn't read all that much Sword and Sorcery fiction. None of the stories really captivated me, but looking at it again, I realise that it has a Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser story as well as a Dying Earth tale. I really like those two, so maybe I should give it another read and see if it isn't better than I remember.(less)
This is a real Sword and Sorcery anthology in the best sense of the word, with stories from some of the best authors in the field, unfortunately, they...moreThis is a real Sword and Sorcery anthology in the best sense of the word, with stories from some of the best authors in the field, unfortunately, they dont really deliver.
It basically gets its second star because of the Elric story. Elric is a favorite character of mine, the Eternal Champion is... one of a kind!(less)
Another Sword and Sorcery anthology, and not one of the better. If only the stories were connected somehow, but they seem (to me at least) chosen at r...moreAnother Sword and Sorcery anthology, and not one of the better. If only the stories were connected somehow, but they seem (to me at least) chosen at random.
It gets the second star because it has a Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser story by Fritz Leiber, two favorites of mine.(less)
The Story... Erekose is the Eternal Champion. He is also John Daker. Elric of Melnibone. Aubec. Hawkmoon. And many others. He is called forth to champ...moreThe Story... Erekose is the Eternal Champion. He is also John Daker. Elric of Melnibone. Aubec. Hawkmoon. And many others. He is called forth to champion Humanity, by the old king Rigenos of Necranal. Champion Humanity in its war against the evil and dreaded Eldren. The king fears that the Eldren are planning to destroy all the humans, and seeks to destroy them in return.
Erekose is like a child. He awakes to this new world that he doesn't know and understand. He tries to make sense of it, but is merely a pawn in the hands of the king and his daughter, Iolinda. Erekose follows the kings command and sets out to claim the second continent from the Eldren, but sees that the humans are merciless. Is it right to slay women and children? Perhaps this is the price of peace.
Erekose is in love with Iolinda, but there is another woman as well - the Eldren sorceress, Ermizhad. She is the only captive after the humans destroy Paphanaal. Slowly Erekose is realizing that maybe the Eldren isn't as evil and vicious as he was told, but is there time to save them from the humans?
What is the price of peace?
My Judgement... I went into this story thinking that it would be classic sword and sorcery in the tradition of Conan and Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. It is not. Well, it is and it isn't. This story transcends the classic tale of the warrior setting out to find his good fortune, experiencing all kinds of great adventure on his way.
This story is about humanity, but what is humanity? Are we human just because we are born humans? Is Erekose human, just because he is born human? Are the Eldren human? It asks a great many questions, but doesn't necessarily asnwer them all - some you must judge for yourself.
I am not sure that I like Erekose why much. But then again, I am not the Eternal Champion. What do I know about war? Perhaps if I had been in the army, I would understand better what questions Erekose are faced with.
I can't wait to read the next one in the series.(less)
The Story... Erekose is being summoned again, to another world - another Earth. It is a time when the Ghost Worlds are once again close to Earth and w...moreThe Story... Erekose is being summoned again, to another world - another Earth. It is a time when the Ghost Worlds are once again close to Earth and without reason, the Eternal Champion is stolen away from his love, the Eldren Princess, Ermizhad. He does not want to leave this peaceful world behind, perhaps because he knows that he is being summoned to fight someone else's fight. The second before he leaves Earth, Erekose sees a man in armor with a big beard. This man is Count Urlik Skarsol - one of Erekose's many faces. The next second, he is riding a chariot driven by strange bears in a world of ice.
Urlik arrives at Rowenarc, the City of Obsidian. Yet in this city no one can tell him why he was summoned. Bishop Belphig takes in the warrior, but is he really the friend that he appears to be? What fight has Erekose (or Urlik Skarsol) come to fight? Who are the Silver Warriors?
My Judgement... This book is the second book about The Eternal Champion. It reveals another of Erekose's many faces - many personas. It is not, however, as spectacular and philosophical as the first in the series. Count Urlik wants to return to his love in another Earth - Ermizhad. He does not want to fight anyone else's battles and he certainly doesn't want to take up the Black Sword. He feels like a Phoenix caught in Obsidian.
There are things to like about this book, like the strange world that Michael Moorcock creates. It is a world of ice and salt, of strange creatures that look somewhat like creatures that we know. The story is not as epic as the book that came before, but is still a battle between the forces of good and evil.
This story also has en element of sci-fi that I am not quite certain if I liked or not. The Earth, you see, is an old earth with a dying sun and the moon has apparently crashed into Earth. The moon brought along a strange race of silverish creatures that is known as the Silver Warriors.
I recommend Phoenix in Obsidian, but mostly to those who like the Eternal Champion and Michael Moorcock's writing in general. This is actually closer to classic sword and sorcery than The Eternal Champion.(less)