Those who dare swear by the Runestaff must then benefit or suffer from the consequences of the fixed pattern of destiny that they set in motion. Several such oaths have been sworn in the history of the Runestaff's existence... - The High History of the Runestaff. Dorian Hawkmoon, late the Duke of Koln, fell under the power of the Runestaff, a mysterious artifact more ancient than Time itself. His destiny, shaped by a vengeful oath sworn by the maddened Baron Meliadus of the Dark Empire, pitted Hawkmoon in battle against his own allies and forced him, by the Black Jewel embedded in his skull, to betray his very heritage.
From Publishers Weekly
This classic sword and sorcery novel from 1967 finds a shattered future Europe recovering from the Tragic Millennium spent under the control of the overtly evil Dark Empire of Granbretan. The reclusive Count Brass, lord of the former French region Kamarg, enrages the empire when he spurns an offer of alliance. Imperial envoy Baron Meliadus sends defeated rebel Dorian Hawkmoon to kidnap Brass's daughter, Yisselda, but Hawkmoon's inherent morality, his own infatuation with Yisselda, and Brass's kindness lead Hawkmoon to ally with Brass though he knows it spells his own doom. This novel is quite short by modern standards, giving the story a compressed and distilled effect. There is little space for nuanced politics or any depth of characterization, but the action is extremely fast-paced, and Moorcock fits more plot into 224 pages than other authors manage in a dozen volumes. (Jan.)
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"The greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy."
--Michael Chabon, _New York Times bestselling author of The Yiddish Policemen's Union
_"If you are at all interested in fantastic fiction, you must read Michael Moorcock. He changed the field single-handedly: he's a giant. He has kept me entertained, shocked, and fascinated for as long as I have been reading."
--Tad Williams, New York Times bestselling author of the Otherland series
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