Here is the book that first introduces the greatest anti-hero of high fantasy: Elric the restless, beautiful, fallen king of wicked Melnibone. Every dark elf hero since that time has a small piece of Elric in his or her soul. So, Elric's chilling adventures are not only great stories on their own but also helpful in tracing the development of the modern fantasy epic. In tone, these books are very reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft's tales of dreaming Cthulu as they weave a sinister, hypnotic tale of a decayed empire of decadent supermen.
This first book of the Elric saga follows his struggles as a sickly young emperor to maintain his grip on the helm of Melnibone's ebbing glories. He searches desperately for some source of power to aid him in withstanding his thuggish cousin Yrkoon, who seeks to wrest away both his throne and his lover. Like R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt, Elric gradually develops a painful capacity for empathy amongst a starkly, casually amoral society, and this only increases his desolation. Left without other recourse, he casts himself into the service of Arioch, god of Chaos, claims possession of the treacherous black greatsword called Stormbringer, and begins to wander throughout the Young Kingdoms of upstart men.
This paperback edition of the series features really gorgeous Robert Gould illustrations on all the covers.