Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fortress of the Pearl (The Elric Saga, #8)” as Want to Read:
The Fortress of the Pearl (The Elric Saga, #8)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fortress of the Pearl

(Elric Chronological Order #2)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,509 ratings  ·  139 reviews
The seventh installment in the prolific Moorcock's series about warrior Elric of Melnibone is set early in the warrior's career, opening as the Lord Gho Fhaazi seeks the principal seat on the ruling Council of Seven of the city of Quarzhasaat. He lures Elric into seeking the Pearl at the Heart of the World--the price of admission to the council--by addicting him to a slow- ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published December 1st 1990 by Ace (first published 1989)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,509 ratings  ·  139 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Fortress of the Pearl (The Elric Saga, #8)
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
In which the Moody as Fish Albino Emperor of the Grumpy Soul-Eating Sword (MaFAEofGSEW™) goes on a super extra adventurous field trip to Lovecraft Country (aka the dreamland), and meets quite the wonderful array of most delightful characters and thingies in the process. (But not my Jojo Cabal, unfortunately.)

So how exactly did dear Elric come to visit this most welcoming, fun-filled place, you ask? Why by getting beautifully tricked (like a bloody shrimping amateur, if I might add) by a deliciou
Bill Kerwin
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing

After a fifteen year hiatus, when he was approaching fifty, Michael Moorcock returned to the Elric Saga. The result, this novel, The Fortress of the Pearl, is clearly the book of a middle-aged man. The flights of fancy are fewer, but the world-building is solid and professional. The prose, occasionally less vigorous, is more balanced and finely crafted. The pace is more leisurely, the dialogue more philosophical, and the young Elric, less wildly Byronic—though still dark with fits of despair and
Nicholas Eames
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good lord, this book was awesome. Moorcock's style is incredible: descriptive without being verbose, simple but oh, so elegant. And Elric as a character is just damn cool.

Some of its commentary about greed, government, and imperialism is shockingly relevant today (yikes!), and this book's last page--its final line, especially--was just...mind-blowing. Not sure if the revelation will play out in future books, but it's cool if it does and maybe even cooler if it doesn't.

Anyway, I have the next bo
S.E. Lindberg
Moorcock delivers souls for Arioch, and classic Elric for you, in The Fortress of the Pearl

Expect Michael Moorcock’s style/voice. It is “pulpy” with tons of wild action. A breathtaking pace will drag you from your reading chair! It’s blistering. Literally, every few pages new conflict emerges, and is dealt with. Every 2-3 pages, Elric encounters mind-bending conflicts. This is awesome for the first 33%, then it becomes underwhelming/distracting since many of the threats are obtuse. Some sequence
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
After being rescued from certain death, Elric finds himself in yet another predicament. Blackmailed into finding the legendary treasure, with little time and hazy prophecies, he sets out on his uneasy quest.

Perhaps not for perfect score, but I'll give it just that. It's been a while since I've heard the crooning of the black blade, and I've missed the adventures of the pale emperor. Having read the main body of works, and knowing the end of the saga, I still enjoyed the story told here. Moorcock
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yes... this is a fine piece of work. Written at a later time to the others in the series and that is so much in its favour.

The true nature of the anti-hero is examined and by the climax, your sympathies lie firmly in chaos.

Terrific tale.
Rob Thompson
In this post I review some the themes (and frustrations) I identified when reading The Fortress of the Pearl by Michael Moorcock.

Firstly, I was (and still am) a great fan of the Elric books having read these extensively as a teenager. This story takes place during a previously ambiguous period between Elric of Melniboné and The Sailor on the Seas of Fate and has Elric questing (as usual) following on from inadvertently swallowing some slow acting poison. He needs to retrieve the "Pearl at the He
I found the first Elric book entertaining and it piqued my interest. After reading this novel, however, I can say that I am sufficiently hooked on Elric. Although this is the eighth novel in the series (according to Goodreads), I read this one immediately after the first because I am reading the Elric stories in order of their internal chronology (see this list)

In the first one-third of this novel, Elric finds himself in the scorched desert realm of Quarzahasaat some unspecified amount of time a
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is either the second or seventh book in the Elric series, depending on whether you're going by suggested reading order (I'm not sure who made the suggestion) or by publication year. Either way, this one (as well as The Revenge of the Rose, which appeared a couple of years later) has a very different feel from the original six books in the saga. Elric is a core character in Moorcock's vast multiverse tapestry, and the first six books had a wild flair and breakneck pace with a spontaneity tha ...more
Elizabeth Wallace
I read this book years ago, and honestly, I have no idea why I held on to my copy all this time. It's not very interesting I'm afraid. Only 230 pages and it goes on FOREVER in places, Elric's a whiner, and Moorcock pulls stuff out of nowhere all the time (last 50 pages of the book and Elric suddenly remembers a story he heard when he was wandering the marketplace at the beginning of the book, but Moorcock didn't MENTION any of that in the beginning, Elric just happens to remember it NOW. A littl ...more
Signed edition is limited to 300 copies, each signed by Michael Moorcock, Tom Kidd, and Neil Gaiman.
Bound in full black cloth, stamped in three colors.

This hardcover is numbered 40 of 300 produced

Color illustrations hand-tipped into the book with translucent overlays.
Introduction by Neil Gaiman.
Oversize at 6½ × 9½ inches.

Head and tail bands, ribbon marker.


007 - Introduction Neil Gaiman
013 - "Fortress of the Pearl "
265 - "The Black Blades Song"
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not much for the fantasy genre, but I love the Elric cycle. The library bought them :D . The dream journey allegory was so good. I didn't roll my eyes, which is the reaction I tend to have to this sort of literary device. Well done. "What you think is your greatest strength could be your biggest flaw" runs through the narrative and...yeah. Good point! ...more
Alex James
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
‘Never again would she know that self-destructive pride so familiar to all great empires in decline.’

‘Yet some of us can refuse the destiny that the Lords of Law and Chaos set out for us and still survive, still create something which the gods are forbidden to touch.’

Patient, expansive, and filled with oriental mystique, Elric: The Fortress of the Pearl (ETFP) is a completely different story to its precursor Elric of Melnibone (EM), which was concerned with courtly intrigue, empire, and tragedy.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Book#8 (strictly speaking Book#2 chronologically; a descriptive I find rather humorous considering the nature of the Eternal Champion concept…) takes this reader back in “Elric of Melnibone” time (Yyrkoon is on the throne, Cymoril is alive) and plops us down in the Sighing Desert, where Elric has found himself near death in his failed search for the fabled Tanelorn (similar to Atlantis). Rescued (surprise!), he is again called upon to use his sword-and-sorcery to attain something for another. Bu ...more
Pedro Pascoe
While re-reading 'Elric of Melnibone' after more than a decade (as part of an omnibus) brought back many if not nearly all of the story to me, in a very pleasant way, the same can't be said for 'The Fortress of the Pearl', as far as my memory of the story goes at least. While I enjoyed the story enough, there were no recollections that came back, and I may as well have read it for the first time. Most probably a fault on my part far more than a lack of memorable story on the part of Moorcock's.
James Oden
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ok, I have to admit that I have been reading and re-reading Michael Moorcock's works and specifically his Elric series since I was in my teens (that's 30 years or so). I can never get enough, even though his stories are counter-intuitive to what one normally expects from a story. There is never a happy ending in sight, his "heroes" are more villain than savior, and an overall gloomy perspective pervades his books. It is in this morass of negativity that Moorcock shines. Ultimately, despite all h ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Not quite as good as Elric of Melnibone but still enjoyable. It started to drag a little when Elric and the Dreamthief Oone enter the dream world but starts to pick up again towards the end. Apart from the unfortunate middle slump the only real criticism I have is that Michael Moorcock seemed to be entirely too fond of the word 'Ironic' when he wrote Fortress of the Pearl, as it is used so much that it really began to take me out of the story every time it appeared.

Overall, though, I liked this.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
One of the later Elric books. Not as good as the earlier stuff, I thought. Still pretty good.
Christian Kallias
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my favorite books, but also of this series.
Eric Orchard
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A nearly perfect fantasy.
Richard Read
The second book in Gollancz’s seven-volume collection of Elric stories is even better than the first. That may be due to its less-fragmented content—book one includes short stories, a novel(la), and the text of comic books, while book two is mostly one mid-sized novel. But it’s also due to the fact that The Fortress of the Pearl was published nearly 20 years after the central story of volume one, Elric of Melnibone. And as a result, the writing here feels more mature, more thoughtful, and more n ...more
Mar 04, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a complicated book to review. I'm giving it three stars because, although the first part of the book was very promising, and the end both satisfying and appropriately Epic, it came much later than I felt it should have done. In comparison to Elric of Melnibonè, which was packed with action, history, lore, and moved almost as fast as I could read it, this is a much more ponderous novel; like the desert, it drifts and swirls along.
This book was written several decades after Elric first ap
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the introduction to the 2007 Taiwanese edition, Moorcock mentions that by the time he’d gotten the request to deliver a fantasy character, he’d kinda gotten over speculative fiction and enjoying the modernists. He talks about literary techniques that were planted in the 60s that were still in use today. In Aspects of Fantasy he devotes pages to the mood-enhancing qualities of gothic novels. In short, Moorcock is a guy who cares about the craft.

Little surprise, then, that Fortress of the Pearl
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Not being a fan of the first book, The Fortress of the Pearl took me by surprise. Although I still think Elric is the weakest character in the book - as in the first book - in The Fortress of the Pearl Elric displays traits that align him more understandably as a patron of Chaos. It's still not enough to make him as insteresting as I would like, but it's a step in the right direction.

I view Elric as more of a passive character that serves as a medium to get to know the wide-ranging and more inte
Cesare Bartolini
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only people who really want to read the whole Elric saga
While I (somewhat, not overly) enjoyed the first book, this one was a downright shame. A large part of the book is in a dreamland, and although the whole picture makes sense in a dreamy way, the lot is so uninteresting to read. The characters walk through the seven realms of the dreamland, one by one, with little meaning but some sort of depicted emotion.

I am rating it two stars because the initial part of the book and the final one improve it somewhat, giving more of Elric than the whimpering c
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another great story, and another tedious read. It's probably just a dated narrative, but it's sad to be shown such great ideas with such tired presentation. I genuinely want these stories, I want to find out what happens, I want to see how Elric's life progresses...but I just...I just don't want to have to read it...
I will, though, because I probably wouldn't watch it if it was translated to TV (and books, to my mind, shouldn't be), but I've found it difficult to want to pick it up and read on i
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ok, this is really Elric #2. It takes place soon after the events of book #1. And it is very good. Well written, great characters, decent villains. We like Elric more in this book. This was written long after book 1, and Moorcock had improved nicely as a writer. I enjoyed this even more than Book #1 and Book #3. It more clever, artful. I'll keep reading this character, but I fear later stories won't be quite as well written. ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

Elric and his demon sword are cool, but I didn't particularly enjoy the bizarre dreamscapes. The character dialogues aren't very engaging, and felt forced at times.

*Nightblood has subtle similarities to Stormbringer.

This is the second story in Elric: Song of the Black Sword after 'Elric of Melnibone'.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ruby Throne (Michael Moorcock's Elric, #1)
  • The Burrowers Beneath
  • The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Cimmerian, #1)
  • Swords Against Death (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #2)
  • Hothouse
  • Swords in the Mist
  • The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth #2)
  • The Dying Earth (The Dying Earth #1)
  • The Transition of Titus Crow
  • Stormbringer (Michael Moorcock's Elric, #2)
  • Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #1)
  • The Incompleat Enchanter
  • The Broken Sword
  • Three Hearts and Three Lions
  • The Silver Spike (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #3.5)
  • Elric: Tales of the White Wolf
  • War of the Twins (Dragonlance: Legends, #2)
  • Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #4)
See similar books…
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,

Other books in the series

Elric Chronological Order (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Elric of Melniboné (The Elric Saga, #1)
  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (The Elric Saga, #2)
  • The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga, #3)
  • The Vanishing Tower (The Elric Saga, #4)
  • The Revenge of the Rose (The Elric Saga, #9)
  • The Bane of the Black Sword (The Elric Saga, #5)
  • Stormbringer (The Elric Saga, #6)
  • Daughter of Dreams: Book One of Elric: The Moonbeam Roads (Elric Chronological Order, #7)
  • Destiny's Brother: Book Two of Elric: The Moonbeam Roads (Elric Chronological Order, #8)
  • Элрик из Мелнибонэ (Элрик из Мелнибонэ, #1)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
54 likes · 14 comments