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Elric of Melnibone 1 Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1992

4.4 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Elric Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Elric of Melniboné is a requisite title in the hard fantasy canon, a book no fantasy fan should leave unread. Author Michael Moorcock, already a major player in science fiction, cemented his position in the fantasy pantheon with the five-book Elric saga, of which Elric of Melniboné is the first installment. The book's namesake, the brooding albino emperor of the dying nation of Melniboné, is a sort of Superman for Goths, truly an archetype of the genre.

The youthful Elric is a cynical and melancholy king, heir to a nation whose 100,000-year rule of the world ended less than 500 years hence. More interested in brooding contemplation than holding the throne, Elric is a reluctant ruler, but he also realizes that no other worthy successor exists and the survival of his once-powerful, decadent nation depends on him alone. Elric's nefarious, brutish cousin Yrkoon has no patience for his physically weak kinsman, and he plots constantly to seize Elric's throne, usually over his dead body. Elric of Melniboné follows Yrkoon's scheming, reaching its climax in a battle between Elric and Yrkoon with the demonic runeblades Stormbringer and Mournblade. In this battle, Elric gains control of the soul-stealing Stormbringer, an event that proves pivotal to the Elric saga. --Paul Hughes


I was so impressed with this audiobook that I wrote and thanked the director. -- SFFAudio.com

Jeffrey West brings this fantasy tale to life with such force, you can feel the swords clashing in his narration. -- Bennet Pomerantz, Audioworld

a time-proven fantasy classic, and a top notch technician, culminating in one of this year’s stellar releases. --CJ Henderson, AudioBooksToday --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Elric (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (July 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441203981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441203987
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
You're in for a treat. WOW! I can't believe this thing exists! I envy you who haven't read it before. It's so lush and dark, while at the same time stark and harsh. It's a grandly epic tragedy. For anyone who likes the first page, you will not be able to put it down without great difficulty. It's so fresh and original, which is a true feat for a series written mostly in the 60's (this was a little later, but not much). There's so much in here worth reading:the best example of the order-chaos struggle that Moorcock's ever done, one of the most fascinating characters in all of fiction(such cynical brooding and angst balanced against learning to have a conscience in a completely amoral society is truly rare, especially in fantasy, and Moorcock actually pulls off the miracle of making you care about Elric despite, or because of, his deep flaws), the atmosphere of Melnibone, Elric's contact with humans as he finds them both better and worse than he hoped, and the complete disregard for keeping all of the original characters alive(this is in one sense one big tragedy, complete with the death of most of the secondary characters, struggles against fate, and the constant pain that always results from Elric's actions) all make the Elric Saga truly worth reading and much more.
1 hint: if you don't want to spend more money than you have to, but this series sounds really good to you, get the first half of the series in the trade paperback "Elric:Song of the Black Sword" for a lot cheaper than 3 of these little books, and if it turns out you like it, there's a collection of the second half:"Elric:The Stealer of Souls", which is much cheaper(even though it's still only hardcover) than 5 little paperbacks.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After grimacing as I picked this title up from my College's book store, I ventured into the land of Elric of Melnibone. It wasn't half bad. While I am not a "typical" fan of this fantasy genre, it was a novel that I could not put down. The characters are complicated, and multi-dimensional, easy to sypmathize and easier to hate. This is a tale of love and love lost in a magical land full of sorcery and magic. Prince Elric is forced to make decisions for his land and his people, discarding his "morality". Although the plot takes a lot of unexpected turns, Elric shows his true strengths and superiority on his quest to save his lover. This is definately a good novel for those who have never read any fantasy novels, and are looking to expand their knowledge of literature, or just for an interesting read. Michael Moorcock has also left me on the edge of my seat, looking to pick up the next book in the series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Michael Moorcock created the character of Elric, a doomed albino prince of a dying race who carries a cursed sword called Stormbringer in his wanderings throughout the Young Kingdoms of the humans, in the mid-sixties for "Science Fantasy Magazine." Elric starred in a series of novellas which brought his saga to its apocalyptic conclusion in the novel "Stormbringer." However, the popularity of the character made Moorcock write many prequel novels detailing other adventures of the albino prince, and he shows no sign of stopping. This novel, written in 1972, the chronologically the very first episode in the Elric Saga. If you are new to Elric, this is the place to start.
The fast-moving, always creative story passes through three "acts" that take Elric from the weakened Emperor of dying Melniboné, a kingdom of inhuman, cruel people, to the start of his lonely sojourn in the Young Kingdoms (which will occupy the rest of his adventures). The tragic arc of the saga is established here: Elric pledges his service to the God of Chaos, Arioch, and takes possession of the treacherous sword Stormbringer. Moorcock's writing is breathlessly beautiful and intense, especially when he describes the decadent magnificence of the casually cruel Kingdom of Melniboné and the splendor of its capital city. The action is also brilliant and constantly inventive, especially the sequences involving ships trying to navigate the maze that protects the harbor of the capital of Melniboné. And through it all is the wonderful, brooding hero of Elric, one of the greatest creations in all of fantasy.
This is the place to start to experience one of the great, unusual, and philosophical fantasy series ever written.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Elric of Melnibone," by Michael Moorcock, is a sword-and-sorcery tale whose hero, Elric, is the albino king of an ancient island nation. Elric lives in a world of magic and warfare; it's a place where humans have dealings with powerful supernatural beings.
This is a decidedly adult fantasy story; Elric's is a world of drugs and slavery, and this story is dark, violent, and full of political intrigue. Moorcock succeeds in giving the story an evocative, mythic feel. The author has created, in addition to Elric, some really memorable characters (such as Doctor Jest, the master torturer). The book is full of wonderfully cinematic scenes and skillfully realized fantasy concepts. And the melancholy Elric makes for an interestingly offbeat hero.
Ultimately, "Elric" is about such resonant issues as love, ambition, responsibilty, and the seeming pull of destiny. For a compelling companion text, try Ursula K. LeGuin's "A Wizard of Earthsea."
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