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CBRG #1: The War Hound and the World's Pain

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  • CBRG #1: The War Hound and the World's Pain

    Title: The War Hound and the World's Pain
    Author: Michael Moorcock
    Genre: Fantasy
    Number of Pages: 239

    Beginning Date: February 17th 2012

    Description:
    The War Hound and the World's Pain is a 1981 fantasy novel by Michael Moorcock, the first of the "von Bek" series of novels.

    The book is set in Europe ravaged by the Thirty Years' War. Its hero Ulrich von Bek is a mercenary and freethinker, who finds himself a damned soul in a castle owned by Lucifer. Much to his surprise, von Bek is charged by Lucifer with doing God's work, by finding the Holy Grail, the "cure for the world's pain," that will also cure Lucifer's pain by reconciling him with God. Only through doing this can von Bek save his soul.
    The discussion opens as soon as the reading date (Feb. 17th) begins. Some of us are faster readers than others so if you wish to reference specific parts of the novel please be courteous and use spoiler tags. This discussion is intended for people who are actively reading or have read the novel as of the date listed in this post.
    Last edited by ThanosShadowsage; 02-10-2012, 10:33 AM.

  • #2
    What an amusing coincidence. I've just finished TWHatWP the other day. Good timing on my part I suppose.

    My discussion is somewhat rife with minor spoilers, so I tagged the whole thing:



    Also, I think War Hound has some of the coolest cover art I've ever seen.
    Last edited by rm2kking; 02-17-2012, 01:32 PM.

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    • #3
      I look forward to reading your thoughts after I've finished my read-through rm2kking.

      Speaking of art and other added tidbits I don't know if all editions are going to have all the same material. I'm reading War Hound from within the Von Bek Omnibus (Which I think has very cool cover art but is probably not the same cover art rm2kking is referring to) and inside is a drawn portrait of Ulrich as well as an interesting bit about this story being the true testimony of the Graf Ulrich von Bek written down by Brother Olivier. I won't transcribe the whole thing out of respect for copyrights and such but I wanted to point it out because that's something that Mike has done numerous times that I really like; adding that extra bit about the story at the beginning or end.

      Alright, time to stop talking about the book and dive in properly.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is the cover art I was referring to btw:

        Comment


        • #5
          I must confess to a preference for Chris Achilleos' artwork for the UK editions:



          Other covers, including non-English editions, include:


          (left to right: US '85, Finnish '93, French '83, French ,85, French '93, French ??, German '85, Hungarian '91, Hungarian '07, Japanese '82, Japanese '07, Polish, Spanish '87.)

          Interestingly, the Rowena cover rm2kking posted appears to be a Canadian edition that we don't/didn't have in the Image Hive. Presumably it was a simultaneous release with the US edition?
          Last edited by David Mosley; 02-17-2012, 01:45 PM.
          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

          Comment


          • #6
            I do really like that one too. It's awesome how Ulrich is front and center, and the part of the story that it depicts is awesome. I also like his Christ-like pose. The reason I like the Lucifer cover so much is that I first saw it on my friend's bookshelf, when I was only vaguely aware of who Elric and the Eternal Champion were, and the cover looked so profound and mysterious to me. It's a very cool depiction of Lucifer. One gets the sense of fallen angel from it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's the full Achilleos wraparound cover (taken from the hardcover edition):



              The rear half once turned up as the cover of an issue of White Dwarf magazine (#58):

              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

              Comment


              • #8
                Nice find, David.

                I'm currently on page 30 of my volume and I've spotted the first usage of the word sardonic.

                Comment


                • #9
                  i'm reading a bookclub copy, it has the lucifer cover but the art is a little larger, and its JUST the art with mike's name and the book title on top in red, much cleaner and nicer that way, methinks.

                  i wasn't sure how to approach this, i could read the book quickly then get back to other books, but i thought i'd try reading a chapter a day and see how that works, that way i'll still be reading other books every day, and if i see fit i'll post thoughts about each chapter. there are 15 chapters, so thats half a month, i might skip a day here or there, i'm not a strict person by any means.

                  anyway, thoughts on Chapter I
                  Last edited by David Mosley; 02-17-2012, 05:11 PM. Reason: Hit 'edit' button not 'quote' button by mistake. Sorry.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nobody View Post
                    i'm reading a bookclub copy, it has the lucifer cover but the art is a little larger, and its JUST the art with mike's name and the book title on top in red, much cleaner and nicer that way, methinks.
                    That's the same cover as was used for the original US hardcover edition, which is the true 1st Edition, I believe:
                    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nobody View Post
                      i wasn't sure how to approach this, i could read the book quickly then get back to other books, but i thought i'd try reading a chapter a day and see how that works, that way i'll still be reading other books every day, and if i see fit i'll post thoughts about each chapter. there are 15 chapters, so thats half a month, i might skip a day here or there, i'm not a strict person by any means.
                      Yeah. I read 2 chapters today. I might make that my daily quota. I don't want to finish it too quickly but I also don't want to be too slow about it either. I've been lax in my reading for several years now. I'm trying to get back into the swing of it. I was never a particularly fast reader (definitely not a "book a day" person) but my current rate is noticeably slower.

                      Originally posted by nobody View Post
                      thoughts on Chapter I
                      Good points all round.

                      One thing that I noticed right away, and it isn't really a spoiler so I won't mask it, is the language Mike adopts for this period. I'm not a historian so I can't point out any inaccuracies (if there are any) but the vocabulary he uses feels appropriate without being difficult to read. And (as always) Mike keeps us moving at a nice brisk pace; descriptive but not too descriptive.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
                        The rear half once turned up as the cover of an issue of White Dwarf magazine (#58)
                        I thought I recognised that from somewhere :-)

                        Cracking the book open now for a chapter or two before bed...
                        The name that can be named is not the true name.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by David Mosley View Post

                          Interestingly, the Rowena cover rm2kking posted appears to be a Canadian edition that we don't/didn't have in the Image Hive. Presumably it was a simultaneous release with the US edition?
                          I think that may be the case. It's the cover of the copy I recently bought and I'm pretty sure it was the cover of the version I bought when it first came out. I remember seeing the US version too though, but I think that was in used bookstores.

                          That first french one, with the Vallejo cover, is a recycling of the art for the cover of Gordon R. Dickson's The Dragon and the George. I've even got an old puzzle that lists that as the piece's title.

                          Meanwhile... I am on chapter five of the Warhound. For now, all I will say is that I thought the scene setting in the first section of chapter 1 was absolutely brilliant. Right down to the opening phrase of the first sentence: "It was in that year that the fashion in cruelty demanded..."

                          Originally posted by ThanosShadowsage View Post
                          ...and inside is a drawn portrait of Ulrich as well as an interesting bit about this story being the true testimony of the Graf Ulrich von Bek written down by Brother Olivier. I won't transcribe the whole thing out of respect for copyrights and such but I wanted to point it out because that's something that Mike has done numerous times that I really like; adding that extra bit about the story at the beginning or end.
                          There's a similar passage in my old second hand copy as well. Among other things I thought it might be a nod to Edgar Rice Burroughs, who I seem to remember sometimes used that device as well.
                          Last edited by Heresiologist; 02-19-2012, 10:21 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            ...

                            With the 30 years war as the backstory this book is quite the opposite of escapist fantasy.One touch i really liked,given my love for all things mythological was the identity of the guardian of the Grail. I re-read this book in a day, just like my first go at it more than twenty years ago...getting a little stamina back i guess.
                            Mwana wa simba ni simba

                            The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ThanosShadowsage View Post
                              ...an interesting bit about this story being the true testimony of the Graf Ulrich von Bek written down by Brother Olivier. I won't transcribe the whole thing out of respect for copyrights...
                              It's worth mentioning that we do have an open permission from Mike to reproduce his work at Moorcock's Miscellany, so there shouldn't ever be a problem with quoting a portion of any of his books/stories, particularly when it's for the purpose of review.

                              Here, for instance, is that part Thanos refers to:

                              Being the true testimony of the Graf Ulrich von Bek, lately Commander of Infantry, written down in the Year of Our Lord 1680 by Brother Olivier of the Monastery at Renschel during the months of May and June as the said nobleman lay upon his sickbed.

                              (This manuscript had, until now, remained sealed within the wall of the monastery's crypt. It came to light during work being carried out to restore the structure, which had sustained considerable damage during the Second World War. It came into the hands of the present editor via family sources and appears here for the first time in a modern translation. Almost all the initial translating work was that of Prinz Lobkowitz; this English text is largely the work of Michael Moorcock.)

                              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                              Comment

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