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The Fortress of the Pearl by Michael…
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The Fortress of the Pearl (1989)

by Michael Moorcock

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Eternal Champion (Elric 2), Elric (novel 2)

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English (6)  French (3)  All languages (9)
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In this post I review some the themes (and frustrations) I identified when reading [b:The Fortress of the Pearl|594574|The Fortress of the Pearl (The Elric Saga, #8)|Michael Moorcock|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1265756984s/594574.jpg|1479741] by [a:Michael Moorcock|16939|Michael Moorcock|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1222901251p2/16939.jpg].

Firstly, I was (and still am) a great fan of the Elric books having read these extensively as a teenager. This story takes place during a previously ambiguous period between [b:Elric of Melniboné|30036|Elric of Melniboné (Elric, #1)|Michael Moorcock|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388345555s/30036.jpg|388812] and [b:The Sailor on the Seas of Fate|60154|The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2)|Michael Moorcock|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1352574936s/60154.jpg|1777516] and has Elric questing (as usual) following on from inadvertently swallowing some slow acting poison. He needs to retrieve the "Pearl at the Heart of the World" to receive the antidote. The journey takes him through a dream world where reality is distorted and warped. In addition to the antidote Elric will also secure the release of a young boy who has been taken hostage.

The book is split into three parts: parts I and III are more in line with the previous Elric books, in terms of thrills, composition and construction. In these sections you have the characteristic elements which you’ve come across before in terms of rich descriptions of cultures and civilizations, plus the usual strange mix of characters all underpinned with ruthless action.

The first issue I had concerned the reason for the quest itself. Here we have a mighty warrior, aided by magic and a sword which sucks your soul out of you. Why didn't Elric just beat the living daylights out of the villain and get the antidote immediately after swallowing the poison (in fact he does as much towards the end of the book anyway, practically killing everyone in the entire city)? Also, why is he so bothered about one boy? Like I've just said he practically kills everyone anyway, plus in previous books he slaughters many innocents basically because they just got in his way.

As ever the book uses the idea of the multiverse:
"There is an infinity of worlds and some are yet unborn, some so old they have grown senile, some born of dreams, some destroyed by nightmares."

This idea is explored further in part II via an exploration of the nature of dreams and reality. Each of the dream worlds Elric passes through tries to entice Elric to attain unreachable desires in different ways but ultimately suggests that spiritual nourishment is an important as physical.

So in summary, not one of the best Elric stories as there was too much philosophizing which slowed down the action to a meandering snail’s pace at times and although you could read [b:The Fortress of the Pearl|594574|The Fortress of the Pearl (The Elric Saga, #8)|Michael Moorcock|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1265756984s/594574.jpg|1479741] as a stand-alone novel I would suggest that your read the rest of the series first to set this story into context. ( )
  Rob.Thompson | Nov 22, 2014 |
Placed chronologically somewhere very early in the Elric saga (before the death of Cymoril), this is the story of Elric taking down an all-but-dead empire that once thought itself a rival for Melnibone. He does this somewhat unwillingly - as he is manipulated into seeking out a particular Pearl that can only be found by a Dreamthief - people who are able to enter another person's dreams and live in those dreams as well as make real items from the dream. Unfortunately for the orchestrater of this little plot, he leaves Elric alive and doesn't quite poison him enough to make him fear death.

With the help of an experienced Dreamthief, Elric enters the dream of a nomadic princess/wisewoman and seeks the Pearl. Throughout the dream, the two are assaulted by dreams. In this place, they temporarily meet up with another aspect of Moonglum who guides them for a little way. Of course, at the end of the day, Elric retrieves the Pearl, rescues the princess and returns from dreamland. He takes the Pearl to his intended murderer and proceeds to stuff it down his throat. Then, our hero draws his sword and dedicates the entire remnant of that ancient empire to Arioch. ( )
  helver | Oct 11, 2012 |
This was a very long awaited addition to the Elric Saga. Unfortunately, for me it did not live up to the original books. It didn't have the same alien feel, the same mysticism and strangeness that his earliest books had. This one is perhaps a little darker and more drawn out, less of Elric just going out and being Elric. I still enjoyed it though. Mediocre Moorcock is better than a lot of writers. ( )
1 vote Karlstar | Feb 8, 2012 |
The Fortress of the Pearl - Michael Moorcock
This novel was published in the late eighties, but comes in around second, chronologically.

Elric is in trouble, and when he arrives at the mysterious city of Quarzhasaat he is easily convinced to undergo a quest in return for aid.

He must find the Pearl at the Heart of the World. It ain't that easy though, as it is in a fortress. But Elric is still Elric, and having recovered his strength, he still has Stormbringer along with his other talents.

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/wordpress/2006/12/the-fortress-of-the-pearl-micha... ( )
  BlueTysonSS | Jul 12, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Moorcockprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was in lonely Quarzhasaat, destination of many caravans but terminus of few, that Elric, hereditary Emperor of Melniboné, last of a bloodline more than ten thousand years old, sometime conjuror of terrible resource, lay ready for death.
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