In this collection of Elric novellas we have “Dead God’s Homecoming,” “Black Sword’s Brothers,” “Sad Giant’s Shield,” and “Doomed Lord’s Passing.”
In the first story, Elric’s wife, Zarozinia, is kidnapped by some beings out of chaos, on the behest of a resurrected god named Darnizhaan. Darnizhaan was killed by a soul-drinking Black Sword. Not Elric’s Stormbringer, but its twin, Mournblade. Darnizhaan wants both swords so that he doesn’t have to fear being killed again, and so that he can begin taking over the world. Elric, his companion Moonglum, and Mournblade’s owner, Dyvim Slorm, deliver the swords to Darnizhaan … but they have a little trick up their sleeves.
In “Black Sword’s Brothers” Elric learns that Stormbringer has the power to call upon its brothers (like Mournblade) to fight for it. Elric learns the secrets to make this happen, sending some of his opponents to an eternal death, but Elric loses his sword in the process and he’ll need to get it back as the sword feeds Elric, providing him with the sustenance he needs to survive. He succeeds in getting Stormbringer once again, and he heads off to rescue Moonglum.
Elric and Moonglum head off to fight Jagreen Lern, who is amassing an army to take control of large swaths of land. They learn of a giant who own s a Chaos Shield, which would come in real handy in the battle against Jagreen Lern so they go to get it. Along the way, while aboard a ship, a storm nearly has them drown when tossed from the ship, but they are saved by Straasha, Lord of the Sea. They get the shield, go off to battle and Elric is ready to confront his foes when he discovers Zarozinia who has been transformed into a giant worm. Distraught, she kills herself on Elric’s sword.
And finally, a strange end with “Doomed Lord’s Passing.” Elric and his band of friends and fighters head back to Melnibone. To put a stop to Chaos, Elric will need to blow the Horn of Fate. Blowing it once will awaken dragons. Blowing it twice will bring the White Lords. And blowing three times will end the world. But as Fate would have it, Elric is completely exhausted and drained and is unable to muster the strength to blow the horn three times and there no one near enough for him to kill in order for Stormbringer to give him energy … except for Moonglum. What will Elric do?
This was a really strong collection, and everything we’ve liked about Elric and Stormbringer and Moonglum are present along with some moments we’ve seen before that are quite moving (the inability to save a loved one and having Elric’s precious sword being the cause of their death).
I’m quite certain I read this back in the 70’s (buying it just as much for Michael Whelan’s beautiful cover as for the story within) but I didn’t remember most of the specifics.
Stormbringer has more and more a curiosity throughout the books, and it makes sense to have these four stories together which feature Stormbringer most prominently.
This book definitely feels like the end of the series, and in that sense I’m missing one element … the Eternal Champion. We’ve touched on this theme in earlier books and I would have liked to have had that a little bit more here, but I do recognize that this likely comes from the fact that I’ve now read eight of the books almost one right after another, so this is a little more prominent to me.
This is probably one of my more favorite books in the series, but I’d highly recommend reading some of the other books first, to get a feel for Elric and his compatriots, before jumping into this.
Looking for a good book? Stormbringer, by Michael Moorcock, sees the albino king of Melnibone in a Ragnarok-like battle to save the world from Chaos.
I received a digital copy of this book, as part of a collection of Elric books, from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Michael Moorcock
series: The Elric Saga (#6), Tale of the Eternal Champion (#12), Elric Chronological Order (#9), The Eternal Champion Sequence (#11.6)
paperback, 220 pages