The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga #3) by Michael Moorcock - Book Review

Write on: Fri, 21 Aug 2020 by  in Assaph's Reviews Read 3477

After reading the prequel Elric of Malnibone (review), I wanted to read the first original stories, which were collected and published in this volume.

What to Expect

Three swords-and-sorcery novelettes of one of the most famous and influential heroes of fantasy, plus one semi-related short not involving Elric. Moorcock wrote the original stories in the 1960's, and though he revisited Elric throughout the coming decades I wanted to read the original tales.

The first story, The Dreaming City, tells of Elric's revenge and destruction of the culture on which he was raised. This essentially closes the events described in the prequel Elric of Malnobone (written a decade later), but bear in mind it was the first Elric story published and sets to describe Elric and set the scene for his future adventures.

The second is While the Gods Laugh, and is somewhat hallucinogenic (hey, man, it was the 60's). In this Elric meets his long time companion, Moonglum.

The last is The Singing Citadel, exploring more of Elric's patron god, his revenge motivations, and the earthly magic vs truly demonic powers.

What I liked

A lot of what I listed in my review Elric of Malnibone holds true here: the swords & sorcery atmosphere of ennui, the linguistic choices, and the cosmology.

What to be aware of

Again, a lot of my previous comments hold true. This is a dated work, written in a style that will deplete the red pen of any any modern editor and will appall modern readers looking for inclusivity.

Felix's Review

Again, Felix agrees with many of Elric's choices. He has the power, and though Elric is bent on revenge and is self-styling himself evil, he mostly used his skills for the greater good.


It's a dated work, and it shows. I'd recommend it for those trying to explore classic Swords & Sorcery, to learn from both the (good) style of storytelling and the (bad) way of handling diversity. At this point, I think I got what I wanted out of it and might take me a while to pick up the other volumes.

Last modified on Friday, 21 August 2020 03:57

Assaph has been a bibliophile since he learnt to read at the age of five, and a Romanophile ever since he first got his hands on Asterix, way back in elementary school. This exacerbated when his parents took him on a trip to Rome and Italy - he whinged horribly when they dragged him to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art. 

He has since been feeding his addiction for books with stories of mystery and fantasy of all kinds. A few years ago he randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair, and fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. His main influences in writing are Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, Barry Hughart and Boris Akunin. 

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kids, cats, and - this being Australia - assorted spiders. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.



Twitter: @assaphmehr