The Knight of the Swords

Michael Moorcock
The Knight of the Swords Cover

Moorcock - where have you been all my life?


I have strictly avoided Moorcock books to date; wrongly thinking that nothing beats Lord of the Rings in the fantasy category and all this will be is the same stuff, just more 70s and hippie in content.

The first few pages looked like I was right - where an elf like creature tours some castles on a red pony - so I prepared to knowingly sigh and give up.

But then it all kicked off ...and it didn't stop until the end. Real shocking violence, great sci fi as well as fantasy concepts and a world rich with originality and detail. Best way I can describe this is Game of Thrones meets LOTR - except the baddies are really bad and the hero is not a muscle bound misogenist. The story is stressful with sudden violence and you reguarly wonder how the protagonist is going to make it through alive especially after a gruesome torture where body parts are lost.

It is also laced with some real dark humour such as a transplanted hand which suddenly does what it wants, ususally involving a sword, and leaving a fresh corpse swiftly after.

I also like the key message here that Man is the force of evil in the world; eager to destroy beauty or anything he does not understand.

You will find youself mourning for the majestic magic races, all but extinct thanks to the plague of humaity, who were able to transport themselves across 15 alternative planes of existence.

This is a book of so many levels and characters which prooved to me that firstly, I was very very very wrong and and that Moorcock is a source of a genre of his own right where fantasy meets sci-fi.

I was reminded of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant or the Many Coloured Land.... but this is not a thick waffly volume - it is a roller coaster ride up to the very end.... Off to read the other books without a break - which also deservedly won the british fantasy book awards...