Continuing Moorcock's saga of Elric the albino sorcerer prince and mercenary warrior (The Fortress of the Pearl, 1989, etc.), whose blade Stombringer devours the souls of those it slays. This time out, a dragon brings Elric before the ghost of Sadric his father; Sadric requires Eiric to locate his soul, now reposing in a rosewood box in a far distant land, and restore it to him--or Sadric's ghost will be welded to Elric with horrid consequences. During his quest Elric will discover an ally, the mysterious warrior princess Rose; their mutual foe will be Charion, the undead agent of Chaos. Matters are complicated by the constant interference of the dangerous contending demons Arioch and Mashabak. Before he finally restores Sadric's soul, Elric learns that most of what occurs is motivated by Rose's vast scheme to revenge herself upon Charion for destroying her people. Long on philosophy and chat, short on plot and action; annoying, too, is the way the narrative slips from past to present tense and back, to no discernible purpose. A disappointing installment, seemingly cobbled hurriedly together from ill-matched parts.