Written in 1957.
City-troubled but untroubled, the river flooded silently through the dawn mist. Drifting banks or early fog shrouded the cluttered townscape: the twisting alleyways, the jagged spires and ant-heap tenements.
Soon, soon the sun would burn through and dissolve the looming morning mystery. But for the moment Jephraim Tallow could sit, look down at his misshapen, strangely proportioned body and wonder.
Then it was that the golden barge, drifting but purposeful, emerged from the glowing haze, burning brightly with an inner light, to fade again, unexplained, silent.
Jephraim Tallow knew then that he had to follow, alone, that lure, the mystic enticement that would lead him down the river, deep into the fabled downstream lands of war, of famine and enchantment...
Michael Moorcock (born 1939) is a prolific English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy. Moorcock's most popular works have been the Elric novels, starring the character Elric of Melniboné. In 2008 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him as a Grandmaster of SF.
Selected mainstream works
1. The Chinese Agent (1970)
2. The Russian Intelligence (1980)
Between the Wars (Colonel Pyat Quartet):
1. Byzantium Endures (1981)
2. The Laughter of Carthage (1984)
3. Jerusalem Commands (1992)
4. The Vengeance of Rome (2006)
Mother London (1988)
King of the City (2000)