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The Sailor on the Seas of Fate

(The Elric Saga #2)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,831 ratings  ·  267 reviews
Leaving his cousin Yrkoon sitting as regent upon the Ruby Throne of Melnibone, leaving his cousin Cymoril weeping for him and despairing of his ever returning, Elric sailed from Imrryr, the Dreaming City, and went to seek an unknown goal in the world of the Young Kingdoms where Melniboneans were at best, disliked.
Paperback, 225 pages
Published April 12th 1989 by Grafton (first published 1976)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,831 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Holy crap! I, Mark Lawrence, have read an entire book in 4 hours!

Admittedly I picked it up after discovering that it was only 24,000 words long, or 1/2oth of a George Martin epic.

EDIT: over the long grind of this summer holiday I've been writing a "short" story that I'm being paid to write to inspire an Xbox game. It's nearing the end and has just passed 40,000 words :o
Somebody stop me!

Still, the copy I have is a hardback, 40 years old, and at 169 pages, not an exceptionally slim novel. Admitt
Bill  Kerwin
May 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 20th-c-brit

In this second volume of the series, Emperor Elric of Melnibone takes leave of his kingdom to discover the nature of the upstart human world that lies beyond his ancient Dragon Isle. But instead the Lords of Chaos offer him a less common odyssey: a journey upon the “seas of fate” that border other planes, other times and wash up on the shores of his own particular destiny.

Elric has three distinct adventures: 1) “Sailing to the Future,” in which—together with three other incarnations of the Etern

4.0 stars. Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!!.....A wonderful and deeply satisfying dose of that lush, rich Moorcockian prose is delivered directly into the fanboy-center of the brain in this second injection of the Elric of Melnibone series. In this treatment we are introduced to the mythos of the “Eternal Champion” as Elric hooks up with 3 of the EC’s other primary avatars: Corum Jhaelen Irsei, Dorian Hawkmoon and Erekose. The four component badasses agree to undertake a mission to unleash a torrent of Grade A
J.G. Keely
Too few fantasy authors ask what 'magic' means, which is a problem, since, with a few notable exceptions, magic is what makes fantasy fantastical. When reading Moorcock, it becomes clear you have found an author who is very interested in exploring what 'magic' is, and who has made very deliberate decisions about what his magic means.

Magic is a conceptual space. It was created, inadvertently, as a representation of the inner reality of human thought, as opposed to the external reality of the phys
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015

... and leaving his cousin Yirkoon sitting as Regent upon the Ruby Throne of Melnibone, leaving his cousing Cymoril weeping for him and despairing of his ever returning, Elric sailed from Imrryr, the Dreaming city, and went to seek an unknown goal in the worlds of the Young Kingdoms where Melniboneans were, at best, disliked.


Elric has it all: a rich island kingdom to rule, a beautiful woman's love, friends and enemies to make life interesting, plus a huge library to peruse. Yet he is unsettled
Absolutely amazing.

No amount of words can explain just how great these two books are for either the world of Fantasy or of even regular Literature. This is the template of which all other fantasies are but mere illusions or drawn-out caricatures.

Heavy words, no? Seriously. Let me explain.

This is drawn in the traditional sword and sorcery style, yes, but that is just a platform on which to leap out and explore wild imaginings and deep world-building, all of which is done so smoothly that it put
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Elric is a bit more mature and worldly in book 2 as he sails around getting into various scraps with sorcerers and gods. Some people might find Elric stories a bit slow, but I like how it stops to ponder things such as morality, law, and chaos from time to time.

Also, Stormbringer is starting to exercise a bit more control over Elric, although the pivotal moment in his life has yet to happen (maybe in volume 3? The last time I read these was 20 years ago and it was a combined edition).
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Elric, the last Emperor of Melnibone, left his island empire to learn more about the world outside with a hope of finding a way to reverse the decline of his people's civilization. During his travels he was accused of being a spy - his race is not much trusted by outsiders - but was able to flee from his imprisonment. Being closely pursued he had no choice but to board a mysterious ship bound for an unknown destination - unknown to everybody on board except for even more mysterious captain.

Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrific book. In only 160 pages, Michael Moorcock can create complex worlds and memorable characters. On to Book 3 in the series.
Signed edition is limited to 300 copies, each signed by Michael Moorcock, Richard Hescox, and Michael Chabon.

This hard cover is numbered 40 of 300.

Bound in full black cloth, stamped in three colors.
Color illustrations hand-tipped into the book with translucent overlays.
Introduction by Michael Chabon.
Oversize at 6 × 9 inches.


007 - Introduction by Michael Chabon
011 - Introduction to the Audio version
017 - "The Sailor on the Seas of Fate"
207 - "The Dreaming City"
249 - "A Portrait In Ivory"
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm now a little clearer why I class Moorcock as a guilty pleasure... On several occasions I've ranted about ridiculously elongated and unpronounceable N'ames (yes and with apostrophes) in SF books (planets, people, procedure... paah!), and in this tale, it is particularly bad. It irritates the crap out of me to be honest, but for some reason I am able to forgive Moorcock of this.

Having said that, this is the third Elric book in a row and which was preceded by four Corums. I have another two Elr
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own, e-book
This series was recommended to me by a friend. After this second book I can honestly say I'm not becoming a diehard fan of Moorcock. He jumps around too much for my tastes. I'd rather he stick to one of his subplots, which have great potential, and really develop that instead of constantly offshoot. I'll read book three because I feel like I'm vested now.

Summer Fantasy Fest read #13
Kat  Hooper
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Michael Moorcock’s Sailor on the Seas of Fate continues the adventures of Elric the albino emperor of Melniboné. While his ambitious cousin Yyrkoon sits as regent, and his consort Cymoril doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive, Elric is in self-exile, exploring other lands so that he can better understand his subjects. He hopes to become a more worthy emperor and, perhaps, to discover why his own race has lost what he calls its “humanity.” For his ancestors ar
I finished reading Sailor on the Seas of Fate last night. Book two of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné series. It’s very atmospheric and, in many ways, romantic. As I lay in bed this morning, resisting the necessity of getting ready for work, it suddenly struck me: Sword and Sorcery fantasy is to men what romance-novel fantasies are to women. They are a way of escaping from the real world, where jobs are boring, relationships require effort and we have to eat our vegetables.

These books are
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am not a reader who actively looks for series or sequels. But there are many talented writers who extend their vision out beyond the end of one book and contribute entertaining and engrossing novels after establishing a world building or a charismatic protagonist. These later novels, while not always as strong as the original, deserve notice and frequently praise.

Some writers establish the foundation of a series and then, as is too often the case, merely dole out a carbon copy, with each succe
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I looked over some of the reviews and was surprised at the number of negative attitudes toward the Eleric books. To me these (and most of the other Eternal Champion series) hold a special place in the "annals" of Epic fantasy. I reviewed the Omnibus edition of these books but my first experince was with the paperback single editions.

In this volume several "incarnations" of the Champion meet and the book can actually be seen to have several places in the Eternal Champion Multiverse as the histori
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am under the impression that The Sailor on the Seas of Fate is a composition of short stories initially published as standalone stories and it shows. The The Sailor on the Seas of Fate feels disjointed, its structure forced.

The book is divided into three parts (Sailing to the Past, Sailing to the Present and Sailing to the Future), which constitute three loosely connected stories from Elric’s life, each with a very different feel to it. My favorite part was ‘Sailing to the Future’ and my le
Kaustubh Dudhane
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Death is the promise we're all born with, sir."

I think I might not have read the most depressing book in the world. Yet, I feel gloomy when the start of the book is like this -
"It was as if the man stood in a vast cavern whose walls and roof were comprised of gloomy, unstable colors which would occasionally break and admit rays of light from the moon."

However, the feeling which I had felt while reading the book was like -

For the book one of this novel, I could not fathom what is truth and w
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an awesome series, let me just get that out right now. But if I had to pick the book I liked "least", it would be this one.

It's not because it's a bad book - it's not. But it feels like it's sort of an aside to the main story, even though it covers the first real adventuring Elric does (that's worthy of being chronicled at least) once he's left Melnibone. I guess it's because in the grand scheme of things, nothing that happens in this book is immediately connectible to the main direction
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Inconsistencies and Moorcock overextending his writing skills got me thinking about dismissing this cycle. Luckily, the book was rescued in the last third when it became obvious why this cycle had such an impact on the fantasy genre.

Inconsistencies: Elric just escaped from prison. Without any explanation, he's still in the possession of Stormbringer, his armor and his needed drugs. While I can accept the various improbable encounters with ships as a sign of a higher fate, I have difficulties wit
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
And so Elric relinquishes his throne to go a wandering and to find himself. But more often than not he is swept along by fate and what he finds out about himself is not to his liking. People seek his help but more likely than not he brings more harm than good to those he associates with. But ever onwards is he drawn by an insatiable restlessness.

In one of the stories herein is Elric's first occasion (perhaps) to meet other manifestations of the 'Eternal Champion'. Four different facets must unit
Florin Pitea
Mar 09, 2010 rated it liked it
The third volume in the Elric saga. An very good example of swords-and-sorcery with an ironic twist. For a more detailed presentation, please visit my blog:
Negar Bolboli
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, sci-fi-fantasy
"Man may trust man, Prince Elric, but perhaps we’ll never have a truly sane world until men learn to trust mankind. That would mean the death of magic, I think"
Book two jumps into the deeper waters of Moorcock’s multiverse of the Eternal Champion. Seas of Fate is actually a collection of three connected short stories. Two of these I have encountered under different names and possibly edited versions of.

Book 1: Sailing into the Future dives the deepest into the EC waters. Hawkmoon and Corum both appear.

The last book “Sailing into the Past” I know I have encountered as a short story in Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords! anthology, book 2 I believe.

All thre
David Sarkies
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like their fantasy different
Recommended to David by: A young aldy
Shelves: fantasy
Elric Explores the World
25 April 2013

This is the second of the Elric books, and like the first, is crafted by using a collection of short stories (four I believe). Elric, or at least the early Elric books, because once the Elric saga became a runaway success Moorcock began to simply write, what I consider at least, rubbish simply to capitalise on the fame of his anti-hero. The only problem is that I do not believe (and I have catalogued most of my books) I still have them, and I suspect that I
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in the Elric series.
Elric decides he needs some self improvement, and that he should take a year out from being Emperor and travel the lesser kingdoms. I think his idea is that he could better understand the younger human races by living amongst them, but hatred of melniboneans is so rife that Elric has little luck, and instead ends up wandering despondently on some random lonely shoreline. When up rolls the mist and a mysterious boat! And this boat travels the seas between all
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't been able to settle on a book recently. While I usually have two or three on the go at any one time, I've been at six or seven the last few weeks. So, in exasperation, I decided to try "one from the vaults", and landed on Elric!

It's been thirty-odd years since I last read this one, and I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint. I'd initially given it a provisional three-star rating, which I've happily upped to four stars. So...

A collection of three episodic adventures for the self-e
Edward Rathke
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting book. It begins as a somewhat normal adventuring novel but imbued with a lot of surrealism. But then it blossoms into this internality, this meditation on life and purpose and fate and grief.

Elric is a tragic hero and we really begin to see that here. He begins the novel as the same super powered man he was before but by the end Moorcock's playing with what that means for him and those around him.

A surreal swashbuckling novel that becomes a lamentation, a dirge. Frig
Stephen Richter
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
This is some Old School Grim Sword & Sorcery, The albino Elric of Melnibone, after being stranded on his last adventure, joins a group of kick ass warriors for some treasure hunting that includes reptile men and a blind god. A little humor here or there would have made Moorcock a better read, as his tales are as serious in tone as a sword in the heart, which can happen if you stand too close to Elric and his cursed sword. " Don't blame me, it the sword, " is now my favorite excuse.
Timothy Boyd
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best know of the Eternal Champion incarnations. Elric is a tragic figure, enough to make an ancient Greek weep with joy. Great fantasy epic. Not your Tolkien style story. Very good plots and characters. Highly recommended.
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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

The Elric Saga (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories (Elric Chronological Order, #1)
  • Elric of Melniboné (The Elric Saga, #1)
  • The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga, #3)
  • The Vanishing Tower (The Elric Saga, #4)
  • The Bane of the Black Sword (The Elric Saga, #5)
  • Stormbringer (The Elric Saga, #6)
  • Elric at the End of Time (The Elric Saga #7)
  • The Fortress of the Pearl (The Elric Saga, #8)
  • The Revenge of the Rose (The Elric Saga, #9)
  • The Dreamthief's Daughter
“I know not which I prefer the look of—those who attack us or that which defends us!” 11 likes
“Death is the promise we're all born with, sir. A good
death is better than a poor one.”
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