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My Review of The King of Swords, by Michael Moorcock

The King of Swords by Michael Moorcock is the last book in his Corum/Swords Trilogy. (The good news is there are three more books and if anything the second trilogy is better than the first) In this novel, after a plague of magically induced aggression leaves the remnants of humanity killing each other off, Corum, Jhary, and Rhalina must somehow try to stop the King of Swords, Mabelode, the most powerful of the Gods of Chaos.


Moorcock is more precise when describing the wars between Law and Chaos here. Again, Moorcock must be given credit. Every epic speculative fiction novel written before the Eternal Champion series concerned itself with good and evil. Moorcock takes the paradigm and throws it into a lake. Here is entropy versus order. Freedom versus sanity.

Moorcock gave thousands of people a different way of looking at the universe and even ethics. Another explanation for conflict, both real and imaginary. From the use of alignments in Dungeons and Dragons to countless work of art and tattoos, the modern concern and even prevalence of the use of chaos in our times has much to owe to Moorcock.


In 1993 I moved into a punk rock den known as The Waverly House. We hosted shows there for my roommates Vegetable and Beef (My father said they’d make a delicious soup) and I ran a small gig putting on shows. We were A.B.C. the Anti-Boredom Coalition. The band Destroy from Minneapolis needed to crash before their gig and I talked to the lead singer about the band’s use of the Chaos Symbol. He replied, “I used to read Michael Moorcock. His novel struck a cord and I realized I was a person that needed to embrace chaos.”

Sometimes fiction creates a mark on our concept of reality, Moorcock has done this here. If you haven’t explored it yet, it is a must for more reasons than the pleasure it brings.


I will be re-reading the next three books as soon as Titan can get them to me.


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