A fantastic and stylized story of a protracted war between domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland in an medieval world reminiscent of Norse sagas.
nd fair-haired. Horns grew on their heads. When their tasks were accomplished they departed, and the presence began to fill with guests. Ajoy it was to see such a shifting maze of velvets, furs, curious needleworks and cloth of tissue, tiffanies, laces, ruffs, goodly chains and carcanets of gold: such glitter of jewels and weapons: such nodding of the plumes the Demons wore in their hair, half veiling the horns that grew upon their heads. Some were sitting on the benches or leaning on the polished tables, some walking forth and back upon the shining floor. Here and there were women among them, women so fair one had said: it is surely white-armed Helen this one; this, Arcadian Atalanta; this, Phryne that stood to Praxiteles for Aphrodite's picture; this, Thals, for whom great Alexander to pleasure her fantasy did burn Persepolis like a candle; this, she that was rapt by the Dark God from the flowering fields of Enna, to be Queen for ever among the dead that be departed.
Now came a stir near the stately
The Worm Ouroboros is a fanfare to the English language. In these days when language, both spoken and written, has evolved to virtual monosyllabic structure and form, this book allows escape to a World where saying 'just enough to be clearly understood' is quite simply not acceptable. To describe the two colossal mountains of Koshtra Belorn and Koshtra Pivrarcha as, 'Two rather striking snow-capped peaks' would be insulting to the extreme. Today escapism usually relates to television or video games, but I'll wager my very soul that to wander through the World of Demonland and Witchland is the next best thing to drug-induced psychadelic hallucination!
Granted - as, indeed, most critics of this work seem compelled to point out - the beginning lacks polish and the overall style is archaic; but what would the Taj Mahal be if it were constructed from wattle and daub? just another building. The Worm Ouroboros is not 'just another book' it stands alone, unique and pre-eminent in the history of English literature. If you read this book and have a love for the English language then prepare for a rare, bordering on spiritual, experience.
Forty years since I first tried to read this book. I had a really bad time fitting my too-young mind around a story filled with lengthy over coloured paragraphs with far too many thee's and thou's. Yeuch, just more Shakespeare.
Picked it up for my new kindle only because I wanted to see how the download would work. Purely chance.
Read it in three days and really allowed the book to take over my mind. When I found that I was truly out raged when Corinius was preparing for his wedding night with the Lady Mevrian. I had to sit back and ask "Why do I care about these characters?"
My how my tastes have changed.
Wonderful style, imagination, as are his others. If you like this, you would like anything by Lord Dunsany (alfred)
This is one of the strange old classics of fantasy. Ignore the first few pages -- they're a crappy little framing story, and Eddison quickly forgets about them altogether.
After that -- the grand struggle between Witchland and Demonland is a beautiful and subtle epic war, full of grandeur and subtlety.
It's a touch challenging to read, but absolutely worth your time.
This book is a find! It is very descriptive and the vocabulary is excellent. True, sometimes it is hard to read when it reverts to really old-style English but the cast of characters and the plots more than make up for the slightly slowing down of your reading speed in order to fully understand what is written. Here the demons are the heroes and the witches are the villians. It is funny how the demons and witches do refer to themselves sometimes as "human" when they are actually living on a far-away planet. I am currently in the middle of this book, and enjoying every minute of it. Every so often I look up an archaic word and enjoy reading the history of the word and it's meaning.
The first few pages shocked me like a first taste of strong drink. I could hardly comprehend what I was reading. But once I was drunk on the book it got much better and I can't put it down. If you care to use your brain and wade through the language, it will start to make sense. This is not watching a TV show; this is READING! It demands your concentration and your imagination.
This is an absolute masterpiece. The story is not especially powerful if examined in summary form; but the grandiose narrative never slips, and the dense, archaic prose (which, by the way, is etymologically correct) places the story on a pedestal far above other works of fantasy.
For sheer gravity of tone, it surpasses LOTR, though not the Silmarillion. I thought I would never find another book to add to my canon, until I stumbled across this book's Wikipedia entry. Take the plunge, ascend the heights of Koshtra Pivrarcha and look down on Koshtra Belorn. You will be rewarded!
Eddidon was a Victorian gentleman who wrote Elizabethan prose. The style takes getting getting used to. I learned to appreciate it when I learned to relax and let the book read itself to me, rather than trying to actively read it, so to speak. Once I did, I was hooked. Now it goes down like fine cognac, and I read it precisely for the glory of the language.
Difficult reading, especially for anyone who expected light pop SF-fantasy reading. Worth the learning curve if you like good literature.
This book is really different to most fantasy books, the style is extremely - and I mean extremely - hard work. I got about a third of the way through it before abandoning it because I just got a bit sick of the style, not the story though. It might appeal to you though if you can take the saga style of writing, it's certainly very different and has some good scenes from what I read.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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