Gloriana, Or The Unfulfill'd Queen by Michael Moorcock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Queen Gloriana rules Albion, an alternate reality British Empire, with the help of her Chancellor, Montfallcon, and his dirty deeds in the name of the throne. Gloriana, as the title indicates, gets no release from sex and grows increasingly distraut. Montfallcon's main henchman, Quire, doesn't like how he's being treated and finds a new patron. His goal: the toppling of Albion...
Like a lot of people, the first thing that drew me to Michael Moorcock was the Elric saga. In my old age, the Moorcock stories I like best are the ones that have little to do with Elric or the Eternal Champion cycle, like Dancers at the End of Time or the Jerry Cornelius stories. Or Gloriana.
As I said before, Gloriana can't have an orgasm no matter what. No man nor woman, ape-man nor robot sheep, nothing can make her climax. Moorcock could easily make this a porno novel but doesn't. Though it takes place in a fantasy universe, it more of a political novel than anything else, with all the court intrigue and backstabbing. The writing is different from Moorcock's other work, more like Mervyn Peake, whom the book is dedicated to. It's easy to see Peake's influence on Moorcock on this one, both in the writing and the labyrinthine halls of Gloriana's palace. Gloriana is a well-written character, as are Una, Wheldrake, Quire, Montfallon, and the rest.
Longtime Moorock readers will note that Una and Wheldrake appear in other Moorcock works as well. Moorcockian gods Arioch and Xiombarg are invoked as curse words and are regarded as old gods. As near as I can tell, those are the only references to the Eternal Champion saga.
I'd recommend this to Moorcock fans with an open mind, as well as Mervyn Peake fans, fans of decadent fantasy, and also readers who like their fantasy to have a political bend.
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