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The Quest for Tanelorn, by Michael Moorcock
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley
Published: 1975
Review Posted: 1/2/2008
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Quest for Tanelorn, by Michael Moorcock

Book Review by S C Bryce

Have you read this book?

Michael Moorcock's hero, Dorian Hawkmoon, concludes his adventures in The Quest for Tanelorn, the third book in "The Chronicles of Castle Brass."

Having recovered Yisselda from Limbo, Hawkmoon is certain that their children (which both he and Yisselda alone remember) also existed in Limbo and are waiting rescue. Could all the dead heroes of the Battle of Londra exist somewhere in Limbo?

Orland Fank appears at Castle Brass, seeking to discuss with Hawkmoon his own observations of changes in the multiverse and the disappearance of the Runestaff. Neither is able to give the other much information, but Fank does advise Hawkmoon to seek his missing children in the fabled city of Tanelorn.

Hawkmoon is sucked into Limbo, where he meets again Jhary-a-Conel and his winged cat. They stumble into a meeting of the servants of the Runestaff then, once again, Hawkmoon finds himself alone in Limbo with few instructions and fewer expectations. It is not until he meets a ship that any insight is gained—and that information proves to be more confusing than none at all. The ship proves to the same on one which three other incarnations of the Eternal Champion (Corum, Erekose, and Elric) said, and Moorcock tells the story of Agak and Gagak (which also appeared in "Sailing to the Future" in "The Sailor on the Seas of Fate," Book Two of "The Elric Saga") from Hawkmoon's perspective. A substantial chunk of this last book is, therefore, familiar to those who have read The Elric Saga. Other portions and references will be familiar to readers of the Corum and Erekose stories.

It is the aftermath of this tale which will be more interesting for fans of Moorcock's Eternal Champion—for it shows how the Eternal Champion is released from his seemingly unending damnation, ties to incarnations of Stormbringer (Elric's famed runeblade), obligations to the Runestaff and the Balance between Order and Chaos. The purposes of the Runestaff and other talismans are also revealed, as well as how many of these objects and ideas interconnect.

Because of all these ideas and because it is billed as the "end of the long story of the Eternal Champion," this last book is the most philosophical of the three, dealing increasingly with inter-dimensional traveling, battles between Law and Chaos, the multiverse, the Eternal Champion, and other ideas standard in Moorcock's sword and sorcery tales. Indeed, this last book is arguably less about Hawkmoon and his friends than it is about these themes, mythos, and artifacts. Further, much of the fast, pulp action of the first series is gone, along with nearly all of Hawkmoon's personality and the uniqueness of Granbretan.

Even with some familiarity with Moorcock's Eternal Champion and multiverse ideas, this volume can be confusing. And, of course, more Eternal Champion stories were written after this one. This books main interest will be to fans of Moorcock's Eternal Champion series who want to see how that story "ends."
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