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Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 3) Paperback – November 25, 2008

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Frequently Bought Together

Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 3) + Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 2) + Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 1)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034549864X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345498649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“[Elric is] among the most memorable characters in fantasy literature.”
–Science Fiction Chronicle

“The greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy.”
–Michael Chabon

“Before Elric, my idea of a fantasy novel hero was a strapping fellow who rose from simple circumstances to lofty heights. Elric was decadent, sickly, and doomed. I loved him instantly.”
–from the Foreword by Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of The Spiderwick Chronicles

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

IN THE SKY a cold moon, cloaked in clouds, sent down faint light that fell upon a sullen sea where a ship lay at anchor off an uninhabited coast.

From the ship a boat was being lowered. It swayed in its harness.

Two figures, swathed in long capes, watched the seamen lowering the
boat while they, themselves, tried to calm horses which stamped their
hoofs on the unstable deck and snorted and rolled their eyes.

The shorter figure clung hard to his horse’s bridle and grumbled.

“Why should this be necessary? Why could not we have disembarked
at Trepesaz? Or at least some fishing harbour boasting an inn,
however lowly . . .”

“Because, friend Moonglum, I wish our arrival in Lormyr to be secret.

If Theleb K’aarna knew of my coming—as he soon would if we
went to Trepesaz—then he would fly again and the chase would begin
afresh. Would you welcome that?”

Moonglum shrugged. “I still feel that your pursuit of this sorcerer
is no more than a surrogate for real activity. You seek him because you
do not wish to seek your proper destiny . . .”

Elric turned his bone-white face in the moonlight and regarded
Moonglum with crimson, moody eyes. “And what of it? You need not
accompany me if you do not wish to . . .”

Again, Moonglum shrugged his shoulders. “Aye. I know. Perhaps
I stay with you for the same reasons that you pursue the sorcerer of Pan
Tang.” He grinned. “So that’s enough of debate, eh, Lord Elric?”

“Debate achieves nothing,” Elric agreed. He patted his horse’s nose
as more seamen, clad in colourful Tarkeshite silks, came forward to
take the horses and hoist them down to the waiting boat.

Struggling, whinnying through the bags muffling their heads, the
horses were lowered, their hoofs thudding on the bottom of the boat as
if they would stave it in. Then Elric and Moonglum, their bundles on
their backs, swung down the ropes and jumped into the rocking craft.

The sailors pushed off from the ship with their oars and then, bodies
bending, began to row for the shore.

The late autumn air was cold. Moonglum shivered as he stared
towards the bleak cliffs ahead. “Winter is near and I’d rather be domiciled
at some friendly tavern than roaming abroad. When this business
is done with the sorcerer, what say we head for Jadmar or one of the
other big Vilmirian cities and see what mood the warmer clime puts us

But Elric did not reply. His strange eyes stared into the darkness
and they seemed to be peering into the depths of his own soul and not
liking what they saw.

Moonglum sighed and pursed his lips. He huddled deeper in his
cloak and rubbed his hands to warm them. He was used to his friend’s
sudden lapses of silence, but familiarity did not make him enjoy them
any better. From somewhere on the shore a nightbird shrieked and a
small animal squealed. The sailors grunted as they pulled on their oars.

The moon came out from behind the clouds and it shone on Elric’s
grim, white face, made his crimson eyes seem to glow like the coals of
hell, revealed the barren cliffs of the shore.

The sailors shipped their oars as the boat’s bottom ground on shingle.
The horses, smelling land, snorted and moved their hoofs. Elric
and Moonglum rose to steady them.

Two seamen leapt into the cold water and brought the boat up
higher. Another patted the neck of Elric’s horse and did not look directly
at the albino as he spoke. “The captain said you would pay me
when we reached the Lormyrian shore, my lord.”

Elric grunted and reached under his cloak. He drew out a jewel
that shone brightly through the darkness of the night. The sailor
gasped and stretched out his hand to take it. “Xiombarg’s blood, I have
never seen so fine a gem!”

Elric began to lead the horse into the shallows and Moonglum
hastily followed him, cursing under his breath and shaking his head
from side to side.

Laughing among themselves, the sailors shoved the boat back into
deeper water.

As Elric and Moonglum mounted their horses and the boat pulled
through the darkness towards the ship, Moonglum said: “That jewel
was worth a hundred times the cost of our passage!”

“What of it?” Elric fitted his feet in his stirrups and made his horse
walk towards a part of the cliff which was less steep than the rest. He
stood up in his stirrups for a moment to adjust his cloak and settle himself
more firmly in his saddle. “There is a path here, by the look of it. Much overgrown.”

“I would point out,” Moonglum said bitterly, “that if it were left to
you, Lord Elric, we should have no means of livelihood at all. If I had
not taken the precaution of retaining some of the profits made from the
sale of that trireme we captured and auctioned in Dhakos, we should
be paupers now.”

“Aye,” returned Elric carelessly, and he spurred his horse up the
path that led to the top of the cliff.

In frustration Moonglum shook his head, but he followed the albino.
By dawn they were riding over the undulating landscape of small hills
and valleys that made up the terrain of Lormyr’s most northerly peninsula.

“Since Theleb K’aarna must needs live off rich patrons,” Elric explained
as they rode, “he will almost certainly go to the capital, Iosaz,
where King Montan rules. He will seek service with some noble, perhaps
King Montan himself.”

“And how soon shall we see the capital, Lord Elric?” Moonglum
looked up at the clouds.

“It is several days’ ride, Master Moonglum.”

Moonglum sighed. The sky bore signs of snow and the tent he carried
rolled behind his saddle was of thin silk, suitable for the hotter
lands of the East and West.

He thanked his gods that he wore a thick quilted jerkin beneath
his breastplate and that before he had left the ship he had pulled on a
pair of woolen breeks to go beneath the gaudier breeks of red silk that
were his outer wear. His conical cap of fur, iron and leather had
earflaps which were now drawn tightly and secured by a thong beneath
his chin and his heavy deerskin cape was drawn closely around his

Elric, for his part, seemed not to notice the chill weather. His own
cape flapped behind him. He wore breeks of deep blue silk, a highcollared
shirt of black silk, a steel breastplate lacquered a gleaming
black, like his helmet, and embossed with patterns of delicate silverwork.

Behind his saddle were deep panniers and across this was a bow
and a quiver of arrows. At his side swung the huge runesword Stormbringer,
the source of his strength and his misery, and on his right hip
was a long dirk, presented him by Queen Yishana of Jharkor.

Moonglum bore a similar bow and quiver. On each hip was a
sword, one short and straight, the other long and curved, after the fashion
of the men of Elwher, his homeland. Both blades were in scabbards
of beautifully worked Ilmioran leather, embellished with stitching of
scarlet and gold thread.

Together the pair looked, to those who had not heard of them, like
free-traveling mercenaries who had been more successful than most in
their chosen careers.

Their horses bore them tirelessly through the countryside. These
were tall Shazaarian steeds, known all over the Young Kingdoms for
their stamina and intelligence. After several weeks cooped up in the
hold of the Tarkeshite ship they were glad to be moving again.

Now small villages—squat houses of stone and thatch—came in
sight, but Elric and Moonglum were careful to avoid them.

Lormyr was one of the oldest of the Young Kingdoms and much of
the world’s history had been made there. Even the Melnibonéans had
heard the tales of Lormyr’s hero of ancient times, Aubec of Malador of
the province of Klant, who was said to have carved new lands from the
stuff of Chaos that had once existed at World’s Edge. But Lormyr had
long since declined from her peak of power (though still a major nation
of the south-west) and had mellowed into a nation that was at once picturesque and cultured. Elric and Moonglum passed pleasant farmsteads, well-nurtured fields, vineyards and orchards in which the
golden-leaved trees were surrounded by time-worn, moss-grown walls. A sweet land and a peaceful land in contrast to the rawer, bustling north-western nations of Jharkor, Tarkesh and Dharijor which they had left behind.

Moonglum gazed around him as they slowed their horses to a trot.

“Theleb K’aarna could work much mischief here, Elric. I am reminded
of the peaceful hills and plains of Elwher, my own land.”

Elric nodded. “Lormyr’s years of turbulence ended when she cast
off Melniboné’s shackles and was first to proclaim herself a free nation.

I have a liking for this restful landscape. It soothes me. Now we have
another reason for finding the sorcerer before he begins to stir his brew
of corruption.”

Moonglum smiled quietly. “Be careful, my lord, for you are once
again succumbing to those soft emotions you so despise . . .”

Elric straightened his back. “Come. Let’s make haste for Iosaz.”

“The sooner we reach a city with a decent tavern and a warm fire,
the better.” Moonglum drew his cape tighter about his thin body.

“Then pray that the sorcerer’s soul is soon sent to limbo, Master
Moonglum, for then I’ll be content to sit before the fire all winter long
if it suits you.”

And Elric made his horse break ...

More About the Author

Born in London in 1939, Michael Moorcock now lives in Texas. A prolific and award-winning writer with more than eighty works of fiction and non-fiction to his name, he is the creator of Elric, Jerry Cornelius and Colonel Pyat, amongst many other memorable characters.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James M. Folks on February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the first volume in the series was exclusively about Elric, the second was largely not about Elric at all. The bulk of the stories were devoted to various other incarnations of Moorcock's Eternal Champion and to introducing his multiverse. This third volume returns to the story of Elric. This time he is either avenging himself against the villianous sorcerer Theleb K'aarna in a story which takes place after the fall of Elric's empire, or his Yyrkoon, his usurping brother, in a story which builds up to Elric's exile and revenge.

In this book, we learn a lot more about the nature of Elric's alienation from Melnibonean culture. We learn of his natural bookishness, and his origins as a scholar-king. Melnibone is a fascinating place, where terrible cruelty is justified by the exquisite perfection it achieves, tradition holds the place of morality, and the measure of an emperor's power, prestige and effectiveness is the delight he extracts from his subjects, at whatever cost. In such a world as this, Elric, for all his brooding and rage, also has a conscience. That is enough to make his nature strange to even those close to him.

We also learn of how he recovered the rune swords, and his relationship with The Red Archer.

This volume approaches the joy I felt in reading the first one, where Elric felt like a refreshing antidote to the "pretty," high fantasy of Tolkien, and Conan's jolly, "onward and upward" travels across Hyborea culminating in his becoming king. Elric's story is the story of a downward spiral, terrible, permanent consequences, and his doomed quest for personal peace. If you want more of this, then you'll like this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. R. LAVALLEY on October 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book contains two novella's The Sleeping Sorceress (The Vanishing Tower) and Elric of Melnibone; these novelella's where written very close in time, but occupy rather distant places in the overall story arc. As the Publisher and Author have for this collection chosen to present the Elric Stories in their order of publication; vs their order in Elrics Story Arc. This IMHO is a terrible decision guaranteed to confuse anyone not already familiar with the Character and Mythos; unfortunately just now this is the only treatment of the Elric stories available for Kindle. btw their proper order is Elric of Melnibone; Sailor on the Seas of Fate, Weird of the White Wolf (The Dreaming City); The Vanishing Tower, Bane of the Black Sword; and Stormbringer. There have of course been several prequels written now; Elric is Michael's most popular character but this is the core material

In Elric of Melnibone we get a wonderful vision of the Dreaming City, Imrryr once the capital of a proud empire now the last vestige of that glory. One does not wish to spoil the books for the reader, but here Michael does a wonderful job of portraying a truly alien culture and people. The citizens of Melnibone are Elegant and Cruel and there is a disturbing Elegance to their Cruelty.

In the Sleeping Sorceress, set after the fall of the Great City, we get a more introspective story; a story that delvs deeper into Elric's Alienation from his own people; and the Empire he was born to rule and doomed to Destroy. The Stories themselves are Good tight, and not at all what one might expect if one is used to so much of Todays Cookie Cutter Fantasy. One can only hope that the "The Elric Saga" will soon be released on Kindle so readers can easily access the stories in their proper order.BB.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I love magical mysteries, and have enjoyed Elric's previous adventures, this story seemed a little out of sync for me, maybe I had not read an Elric story in too long a time to pick up on all the nuances, it was enjoyable and a good quick read.
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By Gabs on August 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like the Elric saga, but if you like the typical hero-type, do not read this: he is tragic, gloomy, has many issues, but I like those kind of characters, so ^^
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