The Queen of the Swords (Eternal Champion: Corum #2) ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Queen of the Swords
Series: Eternal Champion: Corum #2
Author: Michael Moorcock
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 123
Words: 44K


On another five planes, the forces of Chaos – led by Xiombarg, Queen of the Swords – reign supreme and are on the verge on eradicating the last resistance from the forces of Law. The avatars of the Bear and Dog gods plot with Earl Glandyth-a-Krae to murder Corum and return Arioch to the Fifteen Planes. Guided by Arkyn, Corum, Rhalina and companion Jhary-a-Conel cross the planes and encounter the King Without A Country, the last of his people who in turn is seeking the City in the Pyramid. The group locate the City, which is in fact a floating arsenal powered by advanced technology and inhabited by a people originally from Corum’s world and his distant kin.

Besieged by the forces of Chaos, the City requires certain rare minerals to continue to power their weapons. Corum and Jhary attempt to locate the minerals and also encounter Xiombarg, who learns of Corum’s identity. Corum slows Xiombarg’s forces by defeating their leader, Prince Gaynor the Damned. Xiombarg is goaded into attacking the City directly in revenge for Arioch’s banishment. Arkyn provides the minerals and confronts Xiombarg, who has manifested in a vulnerable state. As Arkyn banishes Xiombarg, Corum and his allies devastate the forces of Chaos. Glandyth-a-Krae, however, escapes and seeks revenge.

Alternate Synopsis

In the planes over which she rules, Xiombarg—a Greater God and one of the Lords of Chaos, known as the “Queen of the Swords”—is winning the battle against the humanoid inhabitants. She continues the fight in Corum’s plane, sending Prince Gaynor the Damned to direct the barbarian armies.

Corum, with Jhary-a-Conel and Rhalina, crosses the planes and find a world claimed by Chaos with plains of dried blood and other outlandish geography. They meet the King Without A Country, the last of his people who is seeking the City in the Pyramid. They find the city which turns out to be a floating one that originated in Corums own world – and the inhabitants are his kin. The city is under intermittent attack and for the moment its superior technology defends it. It could return to Corum’s world but needs special minerals to provide sufficient energy. They are able to send Corum and his companions back to seek the minerals in his own world. There he finds the last human city under threat from a monstrous army of barbarians and chaos allies. He seeks out Gaynor and defeats him in single combat. With Gaynor banished the barbarian armies are largely leaderless but still a terrible threat. Arkyn, a lord of law, supplies the materials needed and they are sent back to Xiombarg’s worlds. At the same time the barbarian armies crash against the last city standing. At the last moment the Sky city comes between the planes to help the defenders. Driven by anger Xiombarg follows the Floating city through the rift between the planes. This is in violation of the Cosmic Balance and the balance sends her back and restores Donblas, Arkyn’s brother lord of law. The sky ships of the City destroy the barbarian armies with their wondrous weapons.

In many ways, I think the success of this book is because of its contrast with the Elric books. Elric is also an aspect of the Eternal Champion, but he is fighting on the side of Chaos. In fact, his patron is Arioch, the Prince of Swords, whom Corum killed in the previous book. Corum is fighting for Law but there are several times where he and Elric team up together as a greater aspect of the Eternal Champion, thus they are on the same side. That dichotomy is fun to read about but Moorcock doesn’t make it a point here, you have to have read his other stories for it to actually be seen.

The other fun thing is seeing how each eternal warrior views the other side. In Elric, he at one point goes to a world completely governed by Law. It is presented as a dead and static world with nothing alive, just monuments that last forever. In this book, Corum goes to a world completely run by Chaos and it is simply random destruction and presented as untenable for a stable mind. In both worlds, in both stories, each respective Lord of Chaos/Law lectures their Champion about the dangers of untrammeled Other. Chaos warns Elric of Law freezing the universe into a static perfection and Arkyn warns Corum about the entropy of Chaos which will lead to ultimate destruction.

This is also where the Companion is introduced. The Eternal Champion usually has a companion to help him and said companion is as eternal as the Champion. But where the Champion doesn’t remember his other aspects, the Companion sometimes does and this allows him to be of great use. But his end is usually as sad as the Champions. Jhary-a-Conel is as much a plot device as a real character but is nonetheless integral to the story. In many ways, he’s more fleshed out than Corum’s human love interest, but once you start reading more Eternal Warrior stories and see what happens to the Companion, you also realize what a completely melancholic character he has to be. So there’s almost no point in fleshing him out because you know he’s going to disappear into the next realm at some point (the best scenario) or he’s going to die horribly and be reincarnated again. Poor guy.

This is just as good this time as the previous time I read these. I think Corum really is one of Moorcock’s best creations and I sure hope the rest of the series holds up as well.


The Knight of the Swords (Eternal Champion: Corum #1) ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Knight of the Swords
Series: Eternal Champion: Corum #1
Author: Michael Moorcock
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 147
Words: 52K


The Knight of the Swords is the first appearance of Corum, last survivor of the Vadhagh race. After his family is butchered by a group of Mabden (men) led by the savage Earl Glandyth-a-Krae, Corum tries to take revenge, but is captured instead; his hand is cut off and his eye put out before he escapes. He goes to Moidel’s Castle, where he is taken in by a very different sort of Mabden, the Margravine Rhalina. Corum and Rhalina fall in love, but their romance is interrupted when Glandyth leads an assault on the castle. Rhalina uses sorcery (which Corum had never believed in) to summon a ship of the dead which drives off the barbarians. However the bargain required means that she must go with the ship’s captain. Corum joins them and the ship takes them to the island of Shool, a near immortal and mad sorcerer who takes Rhalina hostage.

Shool trades Corum two artifacts to replace his lost hand and eye, the Hand of Kwll and the Eye of Rhynn. The Eye allows Corum to see into an undead netherworld; the Hand serves to summon the last beings killed by Corum, to fight for him. Shool explains that Corum’s ill fortune has been caused by a Greater God, Arioch, one of the Sword Rulers. When Arioch and his fellow Chaos Lords conquered the Fifteen Planes, the balance between the forces of Law and Chaos tipped in favor of Chaos. Corum is sent to steal the Heart of Arioch, which will give the sorcerer power to become a great god himself. After an adventurous journey which teaches him more about the metaphysics of Chaos, Corum reaches Arioch’s palace. There he finds the Heart, at which point Shool’s unknowing role as an agent of Arioch is revealed. The Hand of Kwll crushes the heart, killing Arioch. Corum returns to the island to rescue Rhalina. As it turns out, Shool’s powers were entirely of Arioch’s gift, so he can no longer threaten Rhalina or Corum. The couple return to their home on Moidel’s Mount.

It has been 23 years since I last read the Corum books by Moorcock. I have always meant to re-read them much sooner, but it always seemed that something else was pushing to the front of the line. Once again, they were a staple of my highschool and college days. Back then I read all 6 books in 2 collected omnibuses entitled Corum: The Coming of Chaos and Corum: The Prince with the Silver Hand. This time around I wanted to make sure to read each individual story so there would be as little blurring in my mind as possible.

This was great. The Vadhagh, the race that Corum belongs to, is very unlike the Melniboneans (of which the Eternal Champion aspect of Elric is a member) and thus their destruction was sad and melancholic instead of fiercely just. It makes Corum a much nicer protagonist and makes his fears and desires that much more relatable.

Having read this before, and several of the other Eternal Champion aspect series, I was familiar with the whole Cosmic Balance that Moorcock hangs everything on. Corum isn’t so much a rogue agent trying to do his own thing but is an unwitting agent of Law because he hates what Chaos has done (killed off his entire race!). As such, his adventures feel very much like he is a ball being batted back and forth without trying to forge his own path. While it can make the read feel a bit unsettling, it is also rather a comforting feeling because you know that Corum is as much along for the ride as the reader is.

My only quibble is the romance side of things. Corum has gone on for hundreds of years (I can’t remember if it ever says how old he is, but his father was close to 1000 when he was killed at the book’s beginning) without being interested in romance with another Vadhagh but suddenly, he’s shacking it up and risking his life for a human woman? It wasn’t that it rang false so much as it just felt very quick. Of course, in a story that is under 150, that is kind of to be expected I guess. Which is why it is only a quibble and not a real issue 😀

But for a sword and sorcery, it gave me everything I wanted. Corum gets his eye plucked out and his hand cut off. And then gets mystical items to replace them. Which allows him to call forth those he has killed from a kind of hell to fight on his behalf. He’s not a great swordsman OR magician, which ties into the idea of him being batted around. But as a reader we get our fill.

I am already looking forward to Corum’s next adventure as he battles the Queen of the Swords.




Eternal Champion: Elric #6

Michael Moorcock

4 of 5 Stars


I hadn’t remembered that this book was about the End of the World, not just Elric’s end. So it was definitely a different tone for me than the previous books.

Blast those Pan Tang’ians 🙂 Always causing trouble…

The Weird of the White Wolf

The Weird of the White WolfThe Weird of the White Wolf

Eternal Champion: Elric #3

Michael Moorcock

4 of 5 stars


Another fantastically melancholic set of stories.

And Elric gets another depressing soubriquet as he ends up killing his cousin love, abandoning one woman and leading on and abandoning another.

We meet Moonglum and another encounter with Arioch.

What an awesome world Moorcock has created. A world on the crux of ruin between Law & Chaos, in flux between massive powers of humanity.

The Elric Saga intrigued and drew me on as a teenager and now as a 30+ man, it still keeps my interest.

The Sailor on the Seas of Fate

The Sailor on the Seas of FateThe Sailor on the Seas of Fate

Eternal Champion: Elric #2

Michael Moorcock

4 of 5 stars


I completely, thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
3 connected stories that deal with murder, spirits and magic. Nobody is safe from Elric and Stormbringer, nobody.

We get to see the first real hints of how Stormbringer might not be just a sword and how Elric is becoming reliant on it.

On the down side, we get some extremely slimmed down existential philosophy, but thankfully nothing like on the scale of Steven Erikson.

The blend of pathos, eros and good old horror are perfectly balanced with the heroic element of good vs evil.

Elric of Melniboné

Elric of MelnibonéElric of Melniboné

Eternal Champion: Elric #1

Michael Moorcock

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Dark, melancholic, but just enough hope to keep things from spiraling into hopeless horror.

Man, I ate this stuff up when I was a teen and young 20 something, reveling in hopeless despair.

Reading it now, it is just good writing. Very lyrical, sparse yet telling a wonderfully tragic tale. Sometimes sad can be ok.

The Eternal Champion

The Eternal Champion
The Eternal Champion #2
by Michael Moorcock
DTB, 484 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


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.


Chronicles of Castle Brass #3
Michael Moorcock
3 Stars
80 Pages, Epub

the end of the Eternal Champion series. Hawkmoon, along with Corum, Elric and Erekose [the eternal champion who remembers all his incarnations, unlike the others] must battle 2 sorcerers from outside the multiverse who want to take all its energy [hence destroying it] and use it to become greater in their own dimension. Much like the time in Elric, all 4 become 1 and defeat them. In the process, Law and Chaos and the Balance are destroyed and humanity is left to fend for itself. Hawkmoon finds his children at Tanelorn. He goes back to Castlebrass with them and his wife to live out his life instead of staying in Tanelorn.

I have read the stories of Hawkmoon, Elric and Corum and after reading this, am tempted to go find out Erekose’s story. A good ending to this universe of Moorcock’s.