THE DREAMTHIEF'S DAUGHTER by Michael Moorcock
A TALE OF THE ALBINO
Warner Books, April 2001
Ulric von Bek suffers from the albino genes that have cursed his ancestors and is doomed to live in Germany during the Nazi takeover. The Nazi rulers seek the visible signs of Germanic dominance and the Counts of Bek have long been believed to hold the sword of Roland and the Holy Grail itself. Ulrick is called on to turn over these family heirlooms to a grateful government--or be ruled an enemy of the state. Philosopher Ulrick's resistance, is strengthened by bizarre dreams of a double dressed in ancient armor and weilding a sword similar to Ulric's ancestral weapon.
When Ulric resists, he is thrust into the complex dimensions of the multiverse--the totality of life where each decision is carried out to its logical consequences. There, Ulric's Nazi cousin Gaynor pursues the ultimate Nazi dream, destructive power over space, time, and even the gods. Together with Oona, the Dreamthief's daughter and an albino like himself, and with his disembodied double, Ulric must somehow preserve the multiverse against all of Gaynor's multidimensional attacks--attacks aided by the awful power of the gods themselves.
In THE DREAMTHIEF'S DAUGHTER, Michael Moorcock combines an explanation for the strange Nazi fascination with the holy artifacts of religions they scorn, Nazi leader Hess's incredible decision to parachute to Britain in the middle of the war, legends of dragon attacks on the German Luftwaffe, and his own tales of an ancient race of albinos betrayed by Elric, the only one with a touch of a conscience. Moorcock uses the first person narrative approach, telling the story in the form of a reminiscence from Ulric long after the events this novel describes.
THE DREAMTHIEF'S DAUGHTER is an interesting story. Nazi Germany remains one of the great mysteries of history--how could a democratic country that fathered so many great philosophers turn to genocidal madness? Moorcock's descriptions of the multiverse and his use of multiple aspects of a character (Ulric/Elric) from different dimensions in the multiverse is intriguing and well thought out. Moorcock occasionally slows down the narative to allow Ulric to descend into philosophical non-action (largely to contrast him with the always acting Elric). Fortunately, Moorcock is talented enough to overcome this occasional slowness with a compelling story.
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