We have: A rose. The Rose. Half plant, half woman. A player. A pilot between the planes of the multiverse.
"Sorry Sam, did I scratch you?"
she asks. And...moreWe have: A rose. The Rose. Half plant, half woman. A player. A pilot between the planes of the multiverse.
"Sorry Sam, did I scratch you?"
she asks. And you don't wanna know how scratched the poor guy looks. A rose has thorns.
Elric. I mean: ELRIC. In a very sane phase (for him). With the sword and without. Playing his own game. A king as in chess - not the strongest, but yet of infinite value. And there is a beautiful variant of the final confrontation. Not Elric against chaos. Not Elric against order. But Elric against all that he was and might be and will be - or Elric against the Eternal Champion, fighting to be himself. Fighting for the right to blow the horn - the right to reshape the multiverse.
There are the Phoorn, settled somewhere in Egypt, but still the Phoorn of "The Skrayling Tree".
"Adieu, little brother,"
says Flamefang to Elric, a dragon to a - no, not a human.
There is the big fight of Chaos against the Law, as it is always fought. This time with music:
"Worse than I'd guessed! They're fueling up Andrew Lloyd Weber's Greatest Hits - banned forever under the Nashville convention!"
How mean of the Lords of Law! One does not have to agree with Moorcock's Music taste, but it is incredibly funny to read.
There are three storylines: today, 1000 a.d. and sometimes in the 1930ies, in an alternate past at the end (or not?) of the Weimar Republic. All three stay apart and then fluidly, wonderfully come together. There are three Roses - and not all of them seem to be on the 'right' side. There are the daughter, the tigress, the silver cat and Colinda Dovero, which are all interconnected in a way which left me stunned. There is a bowl of fish, which plays a crucial role and is twice not what it seems.
The eternal champion assembles himself: not an engineer, a God or a Lord, not a player in the eternal game, but neither a chessman. And, when the things come together, this brings us Elric, with the black sword, in the whole middle-age warrior's costume - and giant 90ies sunglasses, wide grinning. This picture alone is worth the whole read.
There are, in spite of all the cheesiness, a lot of little wonderful moments: there is the word "weltschmerz", of which I did not know that it existed in English. There is the parking sign with the chaos emblem on it: the eight arrows, showing in different directions. What a wonderful sign! There is the road "B666: Moonbeam Road", there is the Ketchup Cove. And there are, very typically Moorcock-y, sentences, like:
"Enabling the mathematics of heart to reduce the ultimate equation to a single elegiac note,"
or, to stay in tone with the previos:
"sometimes I wish music and math weren't so thoroughly related".
Of course it is also a story of old friends and lovers meeting, of the Black Sword, the Grail and the Balance. Of Elric's ruthlessness and of Rose's cold-heartedness (weren't they lovers at some point? I need to re-read some of the books! But it is not about "them" actually, it is only about Elric and about Rose). Of the end of the world and of a new beginning. Hey, did you expect anything else of this author? You'll probably not going to enjoy the book as much if the pure reference of a place called T'aan-Al-Oorn does not make your inned child squee with delight or the moment the world "Phoorn" falls something inside you does not start dancing like crazy because... Dragons! Dragons who can fly between universes! And dragons whoes bloodbrother is the last Emperor of Melnibone. But it just made me so happy(less)