Friday, January 17, 2014

Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Classic Download - The Worm Ouroboros by Eric Rücker Eddison,

The Worm Ouroboros book cover.jpg
Down load It Right Over
 This is it one of the classics of  dark fantasy and Sword and Sorcery,its considered a classic for a reason. from Tolkien to Moorcock this book has influenced all of the greats. E.R. Eddison was a commentary of Tolkien but there were and are vast differences in their styles and approaches to fantasy.
 I've read this book countless times since 1986 and its still in my mind perhaps one of the greatest dark fantasies ever created. The material is rich. The imaginary cultures are very well thought out and thoroughly detailed. Classic dark fantasy doesn't get much better in my mind.
Much of this material is taken directly from the wiki entry on this book and the reason is pretty simple. The Worm Ouroboros  by Eric Rücker Eddison is one very large book not simply in scope but reputation as well. I wanted to get this one right.
According to Wiki : 
 First published in 1922. The book describes the protracted war between the domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland in an imaginary world that appears mainly medieval and partly reminiscent of Norse sagas. The work is slightly related to Eddison's later Zimiamvian Trilogy, and collectively they are sometimes referred to as the Zimiamvian series.

 About Eric Rucker Eddison

 According to Wiki :

Born in Adel, Leeds, Eddison's early education came from a series of private tutors, whom he shared with the young Arthur Ransome. Ransome recalls Eddison's daring and machiavellian methods of getting rid of unpopular teachers in his autobiography.[1] Afterwards Eddison was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford and joined the Board of Trade in 1906, retiring in 1938 to work full-time on his fiction. During a distinguished career he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1924 and aCompanion of the Order of the Bath in 1929 for public service with the Board of Trade. He and his wife had one child, a daughter. Their son-in-law, a Royal Air Force pilot, died in the Second World War. 
The books exhibit a thoroughly aristocratic sensibility; heroes and villains alike maintain an Olympian indifference to convention. Fellow fantasy author 
Michael Moorcock wrote that Eddison's characters, particularly his villains, are more vivid than Tolkien's.[10] Others have observed that while it is historically accurate to depict the great of the world trampling on the lower classes, Eddison's characters often treat their subjects with arrogance and insolence, and this is depicted as part of their greatness. 

Plot once again according to wiki : 

The framing story having introduced the chief lords of Demonland — the brothers Juss, Spitfire, and Goldry Bluszco, and their cousin Brandoch Daha — the story begins in earnest with a dwarf ambassador from Witchland arriving in Demonland to demand that the Demons recognize King Gorice XI of Witchland as their overlord. Juss and his brothers reply that they and all of Demonland will submit if the king (a famous wrestler) can defeat Goldry Bluszco in a wrestling match.
The match is held in the neutral territory of the Foliot Isles, and Gorice is killed. His successor (or reincarnation) Gorice XII is a sorcererwho banishes Goldry to an enchanted mountain prison, by means of a sorcery requiring the help of Lord Gro.
While Lord Spitfire is sent back to raise an army out of Demonland, Lord Juss and his cousin Brandoch Daha, aided by King Gaslark of Goblinland, attempt an assault on Carcë, the capital of the Witches, where they think Goldry is held. The rescue fails, the Goblins flee, and Juss and Brandoch Daha are both captured. They escape with the aid of La Fireez, the king of Pixyland, who helps them at great personal cost because he owes them a debt of honor.
Juss and Brandoch Daha return home to Demonland and then start an expedition to rescue Goldry Bluszco from his terrible prison, somewhere past the mountains of Impland. Lord Spitfire again stays behind to lead Demonland's armies against an expected invasion from Witchland.
The expedition's fleet is smashed and its army destroyed. Juss and Brandoch Daha meet with three strange enchanted heroes of an earlier time, and Lord Juss is nearly killed by a manticore. After a year of wandering they climb the mighty peak of Koshtra Pivrarcha and then attempt the even more difficult peak of Koshtra Belorn. Before reaching the summit of Koshtra Belorn they encounter Queen Sophonisba, a royal from that area to whom the Gods had granted eternal youth when her realm was laid waste by the Witches.
From Sophonisba they learn that Goldry is held on the top of Zora Rach, a mountain which cannot be climbed and whose peak is surrounded by unceasing flames. There is only one way to free him: they must find a hippogriff's egg, and one of them must ride the newly hatched hippogriff. Queen Sophonisba gives Lord Juss one hippogriff egg, but their lone companion, the Impland native Mivarsh Faz, knowing that he will have to walk back home by himself if the Demons get the hippogriff, steals the egg and tries to use it himself, causing his death. Lord Juss and Brandoch Daha set out for home, their quest defeated for the time being, although matters are not completely hopeless as Queen Sophonisba's martlet scouts have told them of another hippogriff egg lying at the bottom of a lake in Demonland.
Meanwhile, the armies of Witchland have attacked Demonland. Duke Corsus is the first commander of the Witchland army, and conquers part of Demonland, but is defeated by Spitfire. A new Witchland army, under the command of Lord Corinius, defeats Spitfire and captures most of Demonland, including Brandoch Daha's castle of Krothering, which had been watched over by his sister Lady Mevrian.
At this point, Lord Gro changes sides and helps Lady Mevrian escape from the grasp of Corinius, who wishes to marry her against her will. A few months later Lord Juss and Brandoch Daha return and expel the Witches from Demonland.
Equipped with a new hippogriff egg, Lord Juss makes a second attempt to rescue his brother and this time is successful. However, his forces are trapped in an inland sea by the Witchland navy; forced to engage in battle directly, they completely destroy that navy. La Fireez dies in this battle.
The Demons then sail to Carcë and face the army of Witchland in a climactic struggle. In the battle, Lord Gro is lambasted by Corund for switching sides; Gro responds by killing a Demon and is himself killed by Spitfire. Corund dies from wounds he suffers fighting with the heroes of Demonland.
His armies having failed, King Gorice attempts another terrible summoning; lacking the aid of Gro, he is unable to complete the spell and is destroyed. Lord Corsus poisons the remaining nobles of Witchland, and is killed himself by the dying Corinius.
Though triumphant, the Demon lords find that victory is bitter because there are no more enemies worthy of their heroism, no more great deeds to perform. Sophonisba, seeking to reward their heroism, prays to the Gods, who return the world to how it had been four years before; and so, with a blare of trumpets, an ambassador from Witchland arrives, "craving present audience," and the story starts over again.
The World of  Zimiamvian Trilogy,

 Even though Worm Ouroboros appeared in Appendix N its not an easily understood book by the conventions of fantasy. This is a dark fantasy novel and this is a very brutal as well as dangerous world.
 According to Wiki : 
A framing story in the first two chapters describes the world of the novel as Mercury, though it is clearly a fantasy version of Earth, a "secondary world"; no effort was made to conform to the scientific knowledge of Mercury as it existed at the time of writing. At a number of points the characters refer to their land as Middle earth, used here in its original sense of "the known world", and the gods worshiped have the names of deities from Greek mythology.
 Here's a quick list of characters from the Demon side along with allies - 

The Demons and their Allies
  • Lord Juss is the chief lord of Demonland and a chief player in most of the battles in the story. He also leads two expeditions to rescue his brother Goldry Bluszco.
  • Goldry Bluszco is the brother of the hero and one of the chief lords of Demonland. Bluszco has two brothers, Lord Juss and Lord Spitfire. Unlike his bachelor brothers, Bluszco was betrothed to marry Princess Armelline of Goblinland.
  • Lord Spitfire is a Demon lord who spends most of the story in Demonland fighting the various Witchland invasions. His chief residence is the castle Owlswick.
  • Brandoch Daha is a lord of Demonland and the greatest swordsman of the age. After Corinius sacks his castle of Krothering, Brandoch Daha swears vengeance against Corinius.
  • Lady Mevrian is a great lady of Demonland and the sister of Brandoch Daha, who is left the task of defending her brother's castle of Krothering against Corinius's army. After a siege, the castle is taken and Lady Mevrian has to fend off the advances of Corinius. She is able to escape only with the aid of Heming and Cargo (Corund's sons) and Lord Gro, who betrays Witchland to help her.
  • Prince La Fireez is the ruler of Pixyland. Witchland has asserted suzerainty over his land, but he is consistently a Demon ally by way of repaying Lord Juss for saving his life. He dies in a naval battle.
    The Witchlanders and their Allies
    • Gorice is the King of Witchland, ruling from Carcë; he is said to be a single king with twelve incarnations. His eleventh incarnation, a champion wrestler, is killed in a wrestling match by Goldry Bluszco; his twelfth, a sorcerer, wears a signet ring in the shape of the ouroboros of the book's title.
    • Corinius is a warrior leader of Witchland, full of life and ambition. He is an enemy of Demonland, and as warrior of some skill he commands some respect from the lords of Demonland. He is poisoned by Duke Corsus and dies right after the Demons take Carcë.
    • Duke Corsus is one of the war leaders of the armies of Witchland. Duke Corsus was the chief war leader of Witchland a decade before the story begins. Corsus is wily and skillful but prone to drinking and no longer young. Right before the Demons conquer Carcë, he poisons Corinius, his wife Zenambria, his son Dekalajus, Corund's son Viglus, and Corund's son Heming. Corinius killed him when he realized that Corsus had poisoned him.
    • Lord Corund is the chief war leader of the armies of Witchland. He is a noble man, a mighty warrior, and has some respect from the main characters. Corund leads the Witchland army against the Demonland expedition to Impland. He is fatally wounded by Lord Juss.
    • Lord Gro is an advisor to Witchland; later he is an ally of Demonland. Gro is originally from Goblinland and was the foster-brother of King Gaslark before a falling-out. Gro is a famous explorer and wrote a book about his travels through Impland. Gro provides crucial aid to King Gorice XII of Witchland when he summons the magic which carries Goldry Bluszco away. He acts as an advisor and trusted messenger to the King regarding the campaign in Demonland. While in Demonland he meets and falls in love with Brandoch Daha's sister, the Lady Mevrian. Because of his love, he betrays the Witchland army and helps Mevrian escape from Corinius after Corinius captures her brother's castle of Krothering.
    • Lady Prezmyra is the young wife of Corund and the sister of La Fireez of Pixyland. She is a close friend of Lord Gro, and poisons herself, after the death of her husband and her brother, when the Demons conquer Carcë.

Please note  once again from Wiki : Despite the names of the nations, all the characters in the book are recognizably human and they are all the same species, or at least able to intermarry (e.g., Goldry Bluszco and Princess Armelline, Lord Corund and Lady Prezmyra). Witchland, Demonland, and others appear to be country names, like England and France. When first presented, the Demons are seen to have horns on their heads, but these horns are not mentioned again, nor is it said whether the other peoples have horns.

 Here are the kingdoms, countries, and domains of  The Worm Ouroboros 
The named nations and countries are:
  • Witchland
  • Demonland
  • Pixyland
  • Impland
  • Goblinland
  • The Foliot Isles
  • The land Zimiamvia (beyond the known world)
  • The Ghouls, wiped out in a genocidal war a few years before the story opens
The King of Witchland claims lordship over a number of locations which are not described (page 12):
  • Duke of Buteny and Estremerine
  • Commander of Shulan, Thramnë, Mingos, and Permio
  • Warden of the Esamocian Marches
  • Duke of Trace
  • King Paramount of Beshtria and Nevria
  • Prince of Ar
  • Great Lord over Ojedia, Maltraëny, Baltary, and Toribia
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  1. Check your national copyright laws before downloading. The Aussies let things out in the public domain before the US. Silly with the internet but politics is about power not rationality

  2. By all means check your international copyrights. Its in the public domain as far as the USA is concerned. I've actually done my research on this one.
    Thanks for the heads up Rod, and thanks for the comment.
    More to come.