The Worm Ouroboros

In 1922, E.R. Eddison published his first novel The Worm Ourobouros, a novel of daring adventures and dastardly treachery set in a never-never-land on Mercury; his four novels channelled the evolution of genre fantasy, not least by being much admired by both Lewis and Tolkien. The gallant and noble lords of Demonland are threatened by an assortment of villains -- the various kings Gorice of Witchland and the thuggish generals of their court, aided and abetted by the compulsively treacherous Lord Gro; Gro is one of the more fascinating villains in fantasy: charismatic, intelligent, sensitive and flawed. Eddison was obsessed with the poetry and prose of the Elizabethan era -- not trusting his own poetic skills, he simply has his characters quote sonnets and epigrams and ballads, some of them famous; when his characters deliver heroic defiance or counsel betrayal, it is always in a rhetoric that for once sounds like what the characters of a heroic age might say. What makes The Worm Ourobouros a classic fantasy is, quite simply, that it has some of the best battle scenes, some of the more terrifying scenes of magic and some of the most tender love scenes that the genre has ever achieved.

When J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was published, reviewers saw that there was only one book with which it could legitimately be compared: E.R. Eddison's classic fantasy adventure The Worm Ouroboros. Set on a distant planet of spectacular beauty and peopled by Lords and Kings, mighty warriors and raven-haired temptresses, Eddison's extravagant story, of a great war for total domination, is an unforgettable work of splendour.

(Amazon review)

1 comment:

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.