I remember when this ‘new’ Elric book came out. I was working in a book store in Los Angeles and I was so thrilled to get a copy as soon as the box was opened and I went home and devoured it. Elric … again! That was, what …. the seventh book in the Elric series? The eighth? Yeahhhhh… this is Michael Moorcock world. ‘Order’ is an unnecessary concept. According to the newest saga omnibus, this is now the second book in the series. Which makes some sense because events happen early in Elric’s life and career, though given the heated battle between Elric and Yrkoon in the previous (and first) book, it takes a great deal of willingness on the part of the reader to accept that Elric puts Yrkoon on the throne during his anticipated absence. How well do you think that’s going to work for you, Elric?
As mentioned, Elric puts his criminal cousin on the throne so that he, Elric, can go after the Pearl at the Heart of the World. Lord Gho Fhaazi puts Elric on this quest (Fhaazi needs this pearl to be seated on on the ruling Council of Seven of the city of Quarzhasaat). Lord Gho entices Elric by getting Elric addicted to a slow-acting poison. Of course Gho has the only known antitdote.
On this quest for the pearl, Elric discovers that the pearl can only be found inside the sleeping dreams of a young girl. To do this, Elric joins forces with Oone, a dream thief.
The dreams of a young girl are not as simple or safe as one might expect and the beautiful dream thief will help Elric navigate the dangerous dreamworld.
It’s really interesting to read this book again, right after reading the first book. Although Elric is young here, the author is not, and the writing is in many ways more mature as our hero alternates from brooding youngster to sword-wielding warrior to a seasoned battler of magic.
That brooding, though, is key. It’s this introspection and philosophical reflection that sets Elric apart from all the other sword & sorcery heroes in literature – not his albinism.
Author Michael Moorcock maybe tests the limits as to how long an action hero can spend thinking and worrying and planning, but just as we start to think, ‘Get on with it, already’ Elric will be tested and we’ll get the action scenes we were hoping for.
While I did feel we got some important clues to Elric’s nature with this book, I was also missing Cymoril. That triad of Cymoril, Yrkoon, and Elric set up perfect storylines and challenges, and yet we jump ship so quickly to take on this new adventure.
Only the second book in, but I’m really enjoying re-reading these Elric books.
Looking for a good book? The Fortress in the Pearl by Michael Moorcockis the second book, chronologically, in the Elric series. It is wildly adventurous and philosophical – a perfect sword & sorcery hero for the intelligent reader.
I bought a first edition hardcover copy of this book and received a digital copy as part of the Elric of Melniboné Saga omnibus, from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Fortress of the Pearl
author: Michael Moorcock
series: The Elric Saga #8, Elric Chronological Order #2, The Eternal Champion Sequence #5.2
publisher: Ace (1989) || Gallery/Saga Press (2022)
ISBN: 0441191231 (1989) || 1534445684 (Elric Saga #1)
hardcover, 213 pages (1989) || hardcover, 752 pages (Elric Saga #1, 2022)