ELRIC OF MELNIBONE by Michael Moorcock
Published by Hutchinson £2.00
Although Elric of Melnibone has only recently been published, those familiar with Michael Moorcock’s Elric cycle will be pleased to know that this is the first of that series. But even if you have not read any of the previous works, it will not stop your enjoyment of this highly recommendable fantasy story.
Melnibone is a mythical island city whose inhabitants have ruled the world for ten thousand years, but for the last five hundred of their history they have only ruled themselves. During this last period, the Young Kingdoms have emerged from the darkness of dictatorial rule and as a result the whole world is moving into a new era, leaving behind the traditions and ancient rituals that have survived for so long.
Elric is the 428th Emperor to sit upon the dragon throne. The tale is about how this red-eyed albino prince battles against fearful sorceries and treacheries to keep his throne. It is also concerned with Elric coming to terms with his worthy ideals, that seemingly have no place in the destiny of his ruling the crumbling, fabulously rich island city.
The heroic, noble deeds that eventually overcome the powers of evil and darkness and the usurpers who convert the Dragon Isle, is not enough for one to dismiss the sadness and tragedy of a world that is changing and will never see again the glories of the past. Elric’s dilemma is that he realised that change must come and the future holds no place for Melnibone and its ways.
It would be wrong of me to compare this book to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but the level to which the sympathetic reader can find himself involved in the story, creates strong similarities, between the two.
For those with an adventurous imagination, this is an ideal tale for reading in a comfortable armchair on a cold winters evening, in front of a blazing, friendly fire.