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Elric: Song of the Black Sword

(Eternal Champion #5)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,320 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The founders of modern literary fancy deserve their own place in the light. The Borealis Legends line is a tribute to the creators of the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres as we know them today.
Paperback, 504 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by White Wolf Publishing (first published October 1st 1995)
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Jared Millet Elric of Melnibone, The Fortress of the Pearl, Sailor on the Seas of Fate, and three of the four stories that were collected in Weird of the White…moreElric of Melnibone, The Fortress of the Pearl, Sailor on the Seas of Fate, and three of the four stories that were collected in Weird of the White Wolf.(less)
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Overall 3.5 stars - individual stories rated below will have cause to tremble and flee when they hear the names of Elric of Melniboné and Stormbringer, his sword.

Based on the fact that Elric and his demon-sword make for a pretty badass duo, and that he’s Moorcock’s most popular aspect of the Eternal Champion, I really wanted to finish this first volume and gush over how much I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy myself, more
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
As much as I like the Lord of the Rings the unrelieved black and white of good and evil can become tiresome. The Orcs are always evil. Mordor is always evil. Aragorn is always good. The elves are always good, to a person. The real word isn't like this. I know this is fiction but the best fiction draws something to the world with it, good, or bad, or indifferent. I think the best that can be said beyond bloody good entertainment is that LoTR shows the value of loyalty, love, honesty, courage, and ...more
Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the more recent re-releases of the adventures of Moorcock's classic brooding anti-hero. This volume collects the first three Elric books (Elric of Melnibone, the Sailor on the Seas of Fate, and the Weird of the White Wolf) as well as the Fortress of the Pearl, a standalone novel written in the early 90's. The Elric Saga is just as influential on modern fantasy as Tolkien was, bringing a darker, edgier and more realistic kind of hero. When I was a teen, I devoured these books. When ...more
Matthew J.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This contains three novels and a few short stories featuring the doomed antihero Elric. "Elric of Melnibone" introduces Elric, the albino scion of a decadent, collapsing civilization, and Stormbringer, the demon in the form of a soul-consuming black blade. "The Fortress of the Pearl" is sort of an odd-man out in this collection. It's just a story of Elric off doing some stuff. It doesn't feel like it plays into his larger story. Things come roaring back with "The Sailor on the Seas of Fate," ...more
Jared Millet
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Omnibus time! I bought this entire set of "Eternal Champion" hardbacks when they were published, but it's been over a decade since I made a stab at reading them. Picking up where I left off with the first Elric volume - since this will take me a while, I'll review each section as I get to it.

Elric of Melniboné
Wayyy back when I read the SF Book Club's "Elric Saga" editions, I had no clue that I was starting with the prequel. Knowing that now explains why the character and world of Elric are so
Jeremy Preacher
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
It's a classic for a reason. Moorcock's wild inventiveness and somewhat scattershot approach to storytelling all cohere into a compelling universe with interesting characters. Elric's weakness and introspection give him more actual weight as a hero than most of the strapping swordsmen of the genre, and his moral quandaries are genuinely affecting.

There are some downsides - Moorcock is... not exactly a feminist writer, and his female characters are basically quest objectives. That's probably more
John Devlin
Mar 21, 2007 rated it liked it
The evil, doom-shrouded hero. A nice break from all those upbeat fantasy books. Tragedy stalks Elric's life, and when you have a sword that sucks people's souls, sometimes your friends souls, you can see why.
I.A. Ashcroft
Oct 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Older, darker fantasy fans
This omnibus was my first exposure to both Michael Moorcock's writing and his character Elric, which a friend has talked about for years. I looked forward to reading it very much. It actually was easy to jump into, despite it not being book #1 in the Eternal Champion story set.

TL;DR: A real mixed bag for me. I'd happily read Moorcock's other writing - there is certainly skill here, and wonderful world-building - but these tales haven't aged well in some areas. Still, there are some real fantasy
Jeremy York
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable re-read, and nice contrast to more modern fantasy and fiction styles.

Rather than long detailed descriptions - of a beast, a battle, our hero's conflicted state of mind, or unworldly landscape - things are painted in broad strokes or hinted at. This allows the pacing to move along, while (if the reader is not lazy) not being shallow. Some of the fast pacing is used to accelerate the plot, condensing epic events into 30 pages and 4 scenes or so. Sometimes it is used to explore a wide
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Ah Elric. He's the biggest rock star in swords-and-sorcery fantasy, a genre that is at its most comfortable on the cover of a Heavy Metal album. I have to give this Thin White Duke the devil-horns and say, "Rock on, Elric, you Silver Stallion!"

I think to some extent the idea of this character is much better than the actual stories about him. He conjures up such vivid images -- all morose and haunted, slinging a black sword as big as he is over his back, tossing back drugs and black magic to deal
Joel Mitchell
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Elric, the drug-dependant albino sorceror-emperor of a decadent amoral empire in decline and wielder of the black soul-sucking sword Stormbringer, is probably Michael Moorcock's best known hero/anti-hero. The novels and short stories that make up this volume are fairly typical offerings from Moorcock: slightly trippy swords and sorcery mixed with a lot of philosophizing and soul-searching.

Unlike the rest of his race, Elric has some concept of morality and conscience. This leads to a few
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
• I remember reading this book about eight years ago, and I think I liked it better the first time I read it. Elric seems a little too sulky. He seems to brood an unrealistic amount of time. This book, much like Hawkmoon, makes only passing reference to the Eternal Champion. Some of the later stories also seem to end a bit abruptly. I understand that they are short stories, but it would be nice to flesh out some of the smaller characters. Overall, this isn’t the worst of the first five books in ...more
Justin Achilli
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm torn on this one. It's a classic, sure, but it's not one that I particularly enjoyed. The sequencing is simple: Elric goes to a place and fights a dude or thing. Then he does it again. Then he does it again. Then he pouts a while then goes and kills another fruity thing. Parts of the tale are quite resonant, as with how he deals with his treacherous cousin Yrkoon and his wife-to-be Cymoril, but then it dips back into the ersatz picaresque that reminds me of D&D games with an unprincipled ...more
Christian Herro
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Re-read this, and it still holds up. Elric turns fantasy on its head...he is neither the anti-hero he is frequently alluded to in lazy genre shorthand, but neither is he truly a hero. More a disillusioned protagonist, he is sometimes charming, sometimes grating & whiny, and always entertaining. By playing with the genre conventions (such as they were at the time), Moorcock carves out his own niche in the fantasy landscape that has yet to be matched.
Richard Houchin
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Very cool. Written back before moody elves with soul-drinking swords were cliched. Moorcock is the first, and last, person to make this character-type cool ^^

I'd compare it to the Odyssey or Iliad, updated for modern fantasy aesthetics.
Heather Carter
Feb 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
I absolutely cannot finish this book. I've started it three times and I keep re-shelving it. I find the writing stale and the characters all too whiny or otherwise annoying to bother putting up with them for more than a few chapters.
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Santana
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moorcock at his best. The White Wolf Moorcock Collection is one of the best ever.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: michael-moorcock
The Elric saga part 1. Great. A cornerstone of dark fantasy.
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
Jun 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: do-not-own, fiction
Patrik Sahlstrøm
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While the individual stories are good, this epic tale really shines when read together. Not for those looking for rainbows and unicorns in their fantasy ;-)
Steve Williams
More 3.5 stars. Great prose, colourful description and imaginative setting. And yet. And yet something was missing that was evident in the Hawkmoon / End of time sagas.

John Page
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Mar 24, 2012
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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,

Other books in the series

Eternal Champion (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Eternal Champion (Eternal Champion, #1)
  • Von Bek (Eternal Champion, #2)
  • Hawkmoon (Eternal Champion, #3)
  • A Nomad of the Time Streams (Eternal Champion, #4)
  • The Roads Between the Worlds (Eternal Champion, #6)
  • Corum: The Coming of Chaos (Eternal Champion, #7)
  • Sailing to Utopia (Eternal Champion, #8)
  • Kane of Old Mars (Eternal Champion, #9)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time (Dancers at the End of Time, #1-3)
  • Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Eternal Champion, #11)