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Von Bek by Michael Moorcock
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I was in the mood for some pulpy fantasy in the style of Elric or Hawkmoon and somehow I never ended up reading Von Bek while I was a teen. So I started this one and was disappointed that it was more talk than action. I liked the plot it just seemed a little dry and none of the characters really stuck out other than maybe Phillander Groot. The writing seemed a little wonky, with repeated words in the same sentence and occasional strange dialogue.

And he put fingers to his wretched lips. And now tears rand down his gaunt, pale cheeks. And he said again: "No."

He said: "No."

"It is true...

Three sentences starting with "and" is kinda weird but that (He said: "No.") had me completely confused. It's almost like it didn't get an edit. ( )
  ragwaine | Dec 28, 2014 |
How could I not love a novel entitled The War Hound and the World's Pain? Moorcock is just so delightfully over-the-top that it charms me in spite of myself. I still don't love his sense of pacing but I liked these stories better than most of the ones in the prior volume - Von Bek is a more engaging character than the often-whiny Eternal Champion. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
The War Hound and the World's Pain: http://www.librarything.com/review/25633015
The City in the Autumn Stars: http://www.librarything.com/review/25632244
The Dragon in the Sword: http://www.librarything.com/review/26051805

The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Saggitarius:

This is a short story added to end of this volume. In would, I guess, be considered the third in the von Bek sequence, taking place in an alternate timeline just prior to World War Two. The von Bek in this story is a time travelling homicide cop who gets called to the home of Otto Bismark, Berlin's Chief of Police. Along the way we meet Adolf Hilter and Albert Einstein - though neither is the way he's commonly viewed today. Also making an appearance is the old friend of the von Bek clan, Klosterheim aka Felipe Saggitarius. Bismark was having an affair with Eva Braun which pissed off Hitler who sent someone to spy on Bismark. Saggitarius has created a garden of sentient plants that end up killing Hitler, the spy and Braun. And odd story - and it certainly was not required that a von Bek be present or any of the historical figures. I kinda get the impression that the plot was laid out first, then Moorcock changed the names to make the story fit better into his multiverse... ( )
  helver | Mar 15, 2012 |
"Do You the Devil's Work." I must admit, Moorcock is a master of his craft. I've probably said this about a million times before. Nevertheless, he is.

When I started reading Von Bek (the White Wolf omnibus containing several stories about the family Von Bek, both originally and rewritten), I expected fantasy (for the most part). One hundred pages passes into one of the stories before anything remotely fantastic happens. But, I wasn't complaining. Each page leading up to there was full of an amazing story that I would have gladly read until the end, even if it wasn't fantastical. Moorcock made history INTERESTING to me!

The general premise of Von Bek, or at least, the Von Bek family, is that the Graf Ulrich Von Bek (not to be confused with any later Ulrich Von Beks) has made a deal with the devil, and as such, has charge of one of the most sought-out relics of Christendom: the Holy Grail. The family motto becomes "Do you the devil's work," and each subsequent Von Bek seems to struggle with this family code.

I would recommend Von Bek, at least the first two stories, to any fan of historical fantasy. Likewise, the third novel contained in this volume, would be ideal if you've read the first two Eternal Champion (Erekose) books. The final piece in this volume is a short story that has been recasted at least twice since it's original inscription, once for to make the protagonist a Von Bek, and once to make his Sexton Blake. Not surprisingly, this volume contains the Von Bek recasting.

If you enjoy well written, engrossing prose, then you'll definitely enjoy Von Bek. ( )
  aethercowboy | Jan 11, 2010 |
After "Kane of Old Mars" von Bek was my next favorite read of the Eternal Champion Omnibuses. Following the von Bek line and the dealings with Satan and the chasing and guarding of the Holy Grail in it's miriad forms. Klosterhiem is a rather interesting villian, one you can almost feel sorry for and then not. ( )
  readafew | Dec 13, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Moorcockprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aulisio Dannheiser, JanetCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is volume 2 of the series of omnibus editions published in the US by White Wolf during the 1990s.
The ISBNs associated with it are 1-56504-177-1 and 1-56504-192-5.
It should not be confused with volume 1 of the UK omnibus editions published by Millennium around the same time.
The US omnibus includes The War Hound and the World's Pain, The City in the Autumn Stars, The Dragon in the Sword and The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius. The UK edition includes The War Hound and the World's Pain, The City in the Autumn Stars and The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius. The overall title of the US omnibus series is The Eternal Champion and there are 15 volumes. The overall title of the UK omnibus series is The Tale of the Eternal Champion and there are 14 volumes.
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