Elric of Melniboné

Saga: S. & S. (Elric Saga, Bk. 1). Feb. 2022. 752p. ISBN 9781534445680. $29.99. FANTASY
This handsome omnibus edition collects four novels (Elric of Melniboné; Fortress of the Pearl; Sailors on the Seas of Fate; and The Weird of the White Wolf) comprising the early adventures of beloved sword-and-sorcery antihero Elric, whose brooding, bone-white goth persona stood in striking contrast to the doughty, muscle-bound jocks of the Conan tradition. Rendered in spellbinding elevated prose, the saga begins as the 428th sorcerer-emperor of Melniboné and embattled ruler of the decadent Dreaming City of Imrryr finds—or is found by—his demonic sword Stormbringer while fending off the treachery of his ambitious cousin Yyrkoon. In episodic adventures that range from bloody, action-packed battles to dreamlike metaphysical vision quests, readers follow Elric’s fateful transformation: from frail and reluctant young leader, to the kind of haunted nihilist latterly so fashionable in postmodern superhero narratives.
VERDICT The first of three hardcover volumes assembling over five decades of Elric stories according to internal chronology and in the author’s preferred versions, this promises to be the definitive edition of a cornerstone of high fantasy, and an essential purchase.
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