Elric of Melniboné (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Elric of Melniboné
Elric of Melniboné (1972) 1st UK ed.jpg
First UK edition
AuthorMichael Moorcock
Cover artistLaurence Cutting
CountryUnited Kingdom
Published1972 (Hutchinson)
Media typePrint (hardcover, paperback)
Pages191 pp

Elric of Melniboné is a 1972 fantasy novel by Michael Moorcock.[1] It is the first original full-length novel to feature Elric, the last emperor of the stagnating island civilisation of Melniboné who wields the cursed, soul-drinking sword Stormbringer.[1]

Writing for NPR, Jason Sheehan calls Elric "far and away the coolest, grimmest, moodiest, most elegant, degenerate, drug-addicted, cursed, twisted and emotionally weird mass murderer of them all."[2]


After the death of his father, Elric is expected to reign as the 428th sorcerer-king of the island kingdom of Melniboné, known as the Dragon Isle. Elric believes that after millennia of dominating their world the Melnibonéans have become decadent, and sees that their empire is crumbling, a shadow of its former glory. Only the capital city, Immyr, has not reverted to wilderness. Melnibonéans are described as a haughty, arrogant race who live only for pleasure and novelty. Slavery and torture are common practices. Elric, a sickly albino, requires potions and magic to sustain his health. He has spent much of his youth on Dreaming Couches, which allowed him to learn from virtual years worth of experiences in a short time. Elric is in love with his cousin, Cymoril. Yyrkoon, Cymoril's brother, also desires Cymoril and opposes Elric. Elric confides to Cymoril that he would like to bring morality and fairness to Melniboné and that he is not interested in cruelty or power, as were his ancestors. Cymoril is supportive of Elric emotionally, but does not understand his ideas. Yyrkoon sees Elric as weak. He acts to eliminate Elric so that he would take the Ruby Throne, as Elric is without heirs, making Yyrkoon his successor. Due to Yyrkoon's treachery, Cymoril is placed in a trance and kidnapped. Elric makes a pact with Arioch, one of the Lords of Chaos and patron of Melniboné, for Arioch's help in finding Cymoril. During a sea battle, Elric is drowned but is brought back by Straacha, the Sea King. Straacha grants use of The Ship That Travels Over Land And Sea to Elric, who seeks the Runeblades; Stormbringer and Mournblade. He finds them in Limbo, but Yyrkoon has followed him. Wielding Stormbringer, a sentient sword that devours souls, Elric defeats Yyrkoon. Rather than putting Yyrkoon to death, Elric relinquishes the throne to him and decides he shall wander the Young Kingdoms alone and learn of the world outside of Melniboné.


  1. ^ a b Kross, Karin L. (July 12, 2013). "The Elric Reread: Elric of Melniboné". Tor.com. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Sheehan, Jason (June 17, 2014). "Summer Doldrums? These Nautical Reads Will Put Wind In Your Sails". NPR. Retrieved September 4, 2014.

External links[edit]