This is an interesting "in between" story of Elric. He is shown in a desperate situation, almost dying, and restored by a viciously addictive liquid. Only by acquiring a fabulous pearl from a sleeping young girl can he be released.
His quest takes him through different lands of dreams, with a dream thief as a guide. Combining their talents, they avoid traps and gain their goal. Which comes to the question: how real are dreams? If we dream of something constantly, do we make it real? If we are hurt in dreams, do our bodies bleed?
And the last portion, which I hesitate to mention, in case I spoil those who haven't read this book yet, promises a "to be continued" .
Again--classic sword and sorcery!
From back cover: At last, award-winning author Michael Moorcock unveils a never-before-told chapter in one of the greatest sagas in modern fantasy. This all-new adventure marks the glorious return of the warrior Elric and his vampiric blade, Stormbringer. A stunning journey into the human imagination.
In a decadent desert city, where water is more precious than jewels, young Elric is poisoned--and blackmailed. To obtain the antidote, he must steal a magnificent pearl, which exists only in the mind of a sleeping princess. There is but one way for Elric to succeed. He must journey through a strange realm of unbelievable beauty, wonder, and terror... He must enter the girl's dreams.
The seventh installment in the prolific Moorcock's series about warrior Elric of Melnibone is set early in the warrior's career, opening as the Lord Gho Fhaazi seeks the principal seat on the ruling Council of Seven of the city of Quarzhasaat. He lures Elric into seeking the Pearl at the Heart of the World--the price of admission to the council--by addicting him to a slow-acting poison to which he, the Lord Gho, has the only antidote. Moorcock leads Elric over a course of monstrous and horrifying obstacles, pits him against the Sorcerer Adventurers, servants of Quarzhasatt's jaded rich, and then thrusts him into a dreamworld within the mind of an adoelscent girl. Trapped in a comatose state by the Sorcerer Adventurers, she is undergoing her own rite of passage into adulthood. Through the vast and turbulent landscape of the Dream Realm, guided by the Dreamthief Lady Oone, Elric seeks the Pearl. This is a superior adventure, colorful and exotic, well-paced and exciting.
Tricked into a deadly bargain by a greedy merchant in the decadent desert city of Quarzhasaata, Elric--the albino prince of Melnibone, and Chaos' Eternal Champion--voyages deep into the Dream Realms in search of the Pearl at the Heart of the World. Fans of the author's ``Elric Saga'' will welcome this return to the adventures of one of sword-and-sorcery's most popular heroes. Recommended.