Monday, December 05, 2005


Michael Moorcock is best known for being the author of the Eternal Champion series in the fantasy genre. He has written other things, of course, but the size and scope of Eternal Champion and its impact on the fantasy genre is Moorcock's true legacy. This is a fantasy series spanning decades in the man's career. Started back in the 1960's (I believe), Moorcock has only recently published the final Eternal Champion novel. Most of the books have been collected in omnibus editions which group the novels by theme or character.

The Eternal Champion is a warrior who has had multiple incarnations in various eras, worlds, dimensions, times, and has fought for Balance in the multi-verse (multiple universes). Some of the aspects has known that there have been other lives, others have not. This volume, "Hawkmoon" is the third Eternal Champion omnibus out of...thirteen (?). It collects four short novels about the Hawkmoon aspect of the Eternal Champion who is fighting in an alternate Earth against the Granbretons (Great Britain) invaders of Europe and their Dark Empire which has nearly conquered the globe. There are swords, and magic, and wondrous beasts, and great valor, magic talismans, and darkest evil, and grand adventure. In short, "Hawkmoon" is a collection of some classic pulp fantasy from the past.

Moorcock is able to spin these stories in such a way that I remained interested the entire time. There are heroes and villains, but the lines aren't always as clear as we initially think for some characters but others are fairly stock with the classic heroes of Count Brass and the classic villain of Granbreton's evil empire of insane warriors. It works, though. While a whole lot of bad, nasty things happen in these books, they are fun. They a fast paced classic fantasy in which a Conan character would not be out of place, but Moorcock's writing is still good.

It has been suggested that Moorcock only wrote the Eternal Champion novels so that he would have the financial freedom to work on other, less successful projects that he cared more about. That may be so, but Moorcock has also created a lasting series of fantasy which has impacted the genre and other authors.

I gave this series a try after seeing so many online recommendations of Moorcock's work, and in general I have truly enjoyed it (though less so for the "Von Bek" volume). There is no question that I'm going to continue on with this series which only seems to be available via Interlibrary Loan at my library.

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