We begin with meeting the Emperor, Elric, at a party, but the intrigue and political maneuvering begin almost immediately. There’s not a lot of time in this volume in which Elric is not beset by someone, or something trying to manipulate or fight him, making for an exhausting, but truly interesting, life upon the page.
It’s an interesting take on a hero’s quest, ours already has the power that most seek, but he has not had to use his considerable skill in arms or potential in sorcery to attain it, though he finds himself increasingly encouraged to use both. Somewhat of an outcast in spite of his status, Elric does not agree with the idea that because you can do a thing, such as use sorcery, that you necessarily should. As he finds himself in more dire predicaments, however, he must fall upon that talent more and more, and not everyone is sure what the consequences will necessarily be.
The art may seem dated to some, but it’s very vibrant and informative, and truly indicative of it’s time. If you dug the Prince Valiant strips in the Sunday paper or have an affinity for the art style of Aeon Fluxx, you’ll feel right at home with the long, sinuous characters striding across the page, pitting their lives on verbal and physical combat.
I’m glad to have begun my time with Moorcock’s work with this volume; it’s exciting and intelligent and paints a wonderful picture of the world being built within. If you’re a fan of Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms from the late '80s, this is a collection that should absolutely be on your shelf.