This novel follows on the heels of The Dreamthief’s Daughter, continuing the intertwined saga of Elric, his daughter Oona, her husband and Elric’s son-in-law Ulric von Bek. Moorcock brings his Eternal Champion mythos to early North America, as seen through the eyes of both the native tribes and the immigrant Vikings. The Vikings call the native peoples skraelings or skraylings – which gives the title of the novel, The Skrayling Tree. The Tree itself may well be the essence or objectification of Moorcock’s all encompassing Multiverse. The three plot strands follow Oona, daughter of Elric and the dreamthief; her husband Ulric von Bek, himself bearing strong ties to the Eternal Champion; and the most recognized of all the Champions incarnations, Elric of Melnibone.
We see the story from three perspectives, Oona’s, her husband Ulrich Von Bek and Elric. Three disparate threads that are gradually drawn together. The writing is beautiful, Moorcock really taking it all in his stride, taking time to create a story of wonderful complexity, yet with a paradoxical simplicity. It builds slowly, gradually gathering steam as the story reaches its climax. Each step along the way is an opportunity to stop and look around at the strange and wonderful world he has created, where mass and time and scale mean little.