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The Eternal Champion

de Michael Moorcock

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547744,431 (3.71)12
Young and old, familiar fans and newcomers, will be captivated by Michael Moorcock's legendary Eternal Champion collection. Timeless, classic and beyond a doubt one of the foundations of modern Fantasy, the Eternal Champion is a series of stories that no Fantasy aficionado should pass up.Includes The Eternal Champion, Phoenix in Obsidian, To Rescue Tanelorn and The Sundered Worlds.… (mais)

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Moorcock is. . . Moorcock. In the age of Tolkien imitation, he deliberately went a different way.

His Eternal Champion saga, tied into so much of his very prolific writing life, is at times trippy, bizarre, heroic, epic, tragic, and nearly always highly original.

This is the first of the late '90s White Wolf Omnibus editions of his works- recommended for the collector- and contains the original Eternal Champion story, and John Daker's stints as Urlik Skarsol and Erekose, as well as the bonus story of Asquiol of Pompey.

The Eternal Champion is a single soul damned to be the soldier of Fate, born to fight in every major conflict in every possible world to drive history on its proper path. Only the Champion can wield the Black Sword; the embodiment of Terror itself- and the only true crime is for sword to betray man or man to betray blade. Perhaps he's damned because he took up the blade, perhaps because he betrayed it, perhaps because he's the only being that refuses to stand aside and admit that one being can only do so much. We don't know.

What we see here is the first adventure, when middle-aged unfulfilled artist, John Daker, hears the call in his dreams to return to his life as Erekose, hero of Mankind, in their eternal war against the Eldren. And he responds, and decides, in the end, to annihilate his own race to save the Eldren. Did he fulfill his purpose, or did he betray it?

From there he is taken on the Dark Ship that sails the seas of Fate, to find healing and a way to return to his beloved Ermizhad. Life after life he incarnates into, each time remembering all the incarnations he was in before, so much information it is like a dream- only to end as John Daker once more.

Moorcock will speak to you or he won't. Many metal rockers are massive fans. I enjoy Moorcock immensely- he can do more in a page to make what he is describing real than other authors can in chapters- but his books do have an element of a heavy metal album cover turned into a fever-dream of a story. If your imagination can support it, and you don't need deep explanations but are content with thematic impressionistic pointing to the ever flexible and changing truth- read him with interest, and start here. After this book, you will know if his ideas are for you.

I forgot the bonus short with Rackhir the Red Archer! ( )
  BrainFireBob | Jul 8, 2021 |
Comprising 3 novels and 1 short story, this begins the lore of the multi-verse and the Eternal Champion.
2 stories deal with Erekose, 1 with a Von Bek and the short story deals with Tanelorn.

The Erekose stories were enjoyable as a foundation to the other Eternal Champion incarnations, and made the glimpses we see of Erekose in Elric and Corum that much deeper.

The Von Bek storyline dealt with the multiverse and the tone was scifi/psychological and didn't really fit, in my opinion. Also didn't seem to fit in with Moorcock's Law, Chaos and the Great Balance schtick.

Definitely would recommend as a start before Elric or Corum. Even though it definitely would give spoilers for those 2 characters. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
My reactions to reading this omnibus in 1995. Spoilers follow.

“Introduction” -- An interesting introduction to the first volume of the saga of the multiverse hero, the Eternal Champion aka many other names including Elric of Melnibone. Moorcock explains that his Eternal Champion in his many manifestations allows him to create and explore many ethical situations and show the eternal tension and battle between Chaos and Law not, he says emphatically, to be confused with Good and Evil.(the Eternal Champion very often wars to establish a balance between the two). I find it revealing, given his outspoken political views, that one of Moorcock’s favorite books is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Moorcock also reveals a dislike for hard science fiction and a love of romantic science fiction, in particular C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Edmond Hamilton, Charles Harness, Phillip K. Dick, Alfred Bester, and Jack Williamson. His science fiction and fantasy was an attempt to re-evoke a type of wonder in sf.

The Eternal Champion -- I liked this well done fantasy of 20th century man being transported to another Earth in another time to be Erkosë, that universe’s version of the Eternal Champion. The prose was moody and evocative at times. I liked the grim – though the hero isn’t that bothered – ending where John Daker aka Erkosë wipes out humanity as the result of making a rash promise to a woman he doesn’t really love but tries to convince himself that he does. I think Erkosë is a little hard on his ex-friend Roldero who makes some excellent arguments (I think Moorcock includes them to muddle the moral waters) that, while the Eldern may individually be nice people, they are not human and, de facto, they are not threats to man’s interest. (Erekosë has supposedly been summoned to this world to annihilate the Eldern.) Erkosë sides with the Eldern and takes a rather harsh attitude towards humans. The Eldern, for their part, profess no self-interest. Still, they are not too unhappy about letting him break banned, ancient weapons out of their armory so man can be exterminated. I think Moorcock is quite right to say that one of the novel’s primary themes is betrayal of our notions of a morally simple world.

The Sundered Worlds -- This space opera was written, according to Moorcock’s notes, in a 36 hour session when he was 21. It shows some of the author’s speed and youth in not only its headlong pace, uninspired prose (Moorcock seems to have thought mystery is evoked by just pairing contradictory adjectives), dialogue filled with clumsy explication, and poorly developed themes (specifically the theme of abandoned lovers). Still, I liked two things. First, the Blood Red Game of mental warfare via disgusting/loathsome/terrifying images was neat. Second, I liked this slant on the Eternal Champion story with Count Renark von Bek sacrificing himself at the end of the first part, seemingly so that his driven, noble, obsessive spirit can be spread about the “multiverse” (perhaps as the Eternal Champion though that is not said). I liked the earnest, pulpy speeches about man having a destiny to fill by overcoming the limits of nature and the multiverse.

Phoenix in Obsidian -- I enjoyed this second John Daker sword-and-sorcery novel. Essentially this delightfully gloomy and decadent (though I would have liked more explicit details on the decadent life of Rowernarc, a city waiting for the world to die in ice) novel recapitulates the themes of The Eternal Champion and Moorcock’s Elric series. As in the first Daker novel, he is summoned to save a world (here from the onslaught of the Silver Warriors and the death of the sun) by individuals (the Silver Queen here) who later regret it (Daker kills the Queen to provide the blood for the Black Sword to restore the sun). Here, though, no race is annihilated. Rather Daker rescues the Silver Queen from Bishop Belphig so the Silver Warriors no longer have to fight for him. The central motif of the Elric series – a doomed hero who is “Destiny’s Champion, Fate’s Fool” and who wields a fearsome, soul drinking, demonic sword that will kill friend or foe of its own will but who can’t be denied – is repeated with Daker aka Ulrik and his Black Sword.

“To Rescue Tanelorn” -- Nice, short novelette of Rackhir the Red Archer of the Elric series saving Tanelorn with help from the dimension of the Grey Lords, gods who serve neither Law or Chaos. The realms of Law are the most terrifying – proving Moorcock’s contention that Law, in his work, is not synonymous with Good. Law’s realm is barren because Law “without something to decide between … is bereft of justice”. Tanelorn is an ideal that will always exist, we are told, as long as man does. Tanelorn comes from on 1868 poem by Ernest Wheldrake ( )
  RandyStafford | May 3, 2013 |
The Eternal Champion

Book One: The Eternal Champion

By Michael Moorcock

Publisher: White Wolf Publishing

Published In: Clarkston, GA, USA

Date: 1996, originally 1957

Pgs: 157


John Daker of the modern world finds himself awakening in the form of Erekosë, a mystically incarnated long-dead hero. Summoned to lead the human race in a fight against the other, the evil, the alien Eldren, as he did in the ancient past. He takes to the role though his consciousness is rife with patchy memories of past lives. He must learn the rules of this new world, to understand the magic…and who is telling him the truth and who is honorable.


Sword and sorcery, militaria, alien worlds, alternate worlds, alternate history, science fiction, fantasy,

Main Character:

John Daker/ Erekosë

Favorite Character:

John Daker/ Erekosë

Least Favorite Character:

Count Roldero, who on some level understands what is going on, but can’t grow beyond his prejudices and the constraints of his position in human society.

Favorite Scene:

The series of scenes where the treachery is revealed to Erekosë and he has to decide how he will deal with it…and it’s consequences. Though his dealing with it’s consequences shows his shortsightedness in the fullness of time.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:

Roldero’s change, between the time that Erekosë goes forward under a flag of truce to negotiate with the Eldren, and his return. His character flip flops pretty hard at this point in the story. I don’t buy the excuse that he is a good man forced by history to do evil. Chameleon historians rewriting what actually happened try to do this kind of crap all the time. Truly good men don’t do evil. There’s a lot of room between pure good and pure evil. Roldero is presented one way early in the book and differently later on.

Last Page Sound:

It’s a good book, but the ending is unsatisfying. John Daker/ Erekosë appears to be cheated of his happily ever after even as he is living it. But how long, before he is called to another life to battle for another people and the cycle goes round.

Author Assessment:

I love him. I’d read a cereal box written by him.

Disposition of Book:

Keep it, re-read it…someday. ( )
  texascheeseman | May 23, 2012 |
Reviews for the included books:

The Eternal Champion: http://www.librarything.com/review/83771555
The Sundered Worlds: http://www.librarything.com/review/25543321
Phoenix in Obsidian: http://www.librarything.com/review/25450631

"To Rescue Tanelorn..." is a short story describing at attempt by the Lords of Chaos to destroy the Eternal city of Tanelorn and its inhabitants. The Red Archer, Rackhir, goes on a quest to find the Grey Lords who might be the only hope of that peaceful city. The way to the dimension of the Grey Lords is fraught with peril, however and it will take all of his skill and wisdom to save his beloved city. ( )
  helver | Mar 12, 2012 |
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Michael Moorcockautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Canty, ThomasArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Vallejo, BorisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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I found in dreams a place of wind and flowers,
Full of sweet trees and colour of glad grass,
In midst whereof there was
A lady clothed like summer with sweet hours.

Her beauty, fervent as a fiery moon,
Made my blood burn and swoon
Like a flame rained upon.
Sorrow had filled her shaken eyelids' blue
And her mouth's sad red heavy rose all through
Seemed sad with glad things gone.

She held a little cithern by the strings,
Shaped heartwise, strung with subtle-coloured hair
Of some dead lute player
That in dead years had done delicious things.

The seven strings were named accordingly;
The first string charity,
The second tenderness,
The rest were pleasure, sorrow, sleep and sin,
And loving kindness, that is pity's kin
And is most pitiless.

—Ernest Wheldrake, "A Ballad of Life,"
from 'Tanalorn, an Ellegy', 1868
All know the road to Tanalorn
The map lies in their hearts. . .

A knife, a cup and a man shall be
The means by which the world's set free.

—The Chronicle of the Black Sword.
Destiny's Champion,
Fate's Fool.
Eternity's Soldier,
Time's Tool.
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To the memory of Doulgas Fairbanks, the greatest hero of them all.
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This is volume 1 of the series of omnibus editions published in the US by White Wolf during the 1990s. The ISBNs associated with it are 1565041917, 1565041763, and 0565041762. It should not be confused with the second volume of the UK omnibus published by Millennium around the same time, or with the Gollancz omnibus of the 2010s, or with the novel of the same name. This US omnibus includes "The Eternal Champion", "The Sundered Worlds", "Phoenix in Obsidian", and "To Rescue Tanelorn".
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Young and old, familiar fans and newcomers, will be captivated by Michael Moorcock's legendary Eternal Champion collection. Timeless, classic and beyond a doubt one of the foundations of modern Fantasy, the Eternal Champion is a series of stories that no Fantasy aficionado should pass up.Includes The Eternal Champion, Phoenix in Obsidian, To Rescue Tanelorn and The Sundered Worlds.

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