Dust-jacket from the first edition
|Cover artist||Rowena Morrill|
|Series||Ulrich von Bek|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|LC Class||PR6063.O59 W3 1981|
|Followed by||The City in the Autumn Stars|
The book is set in Europe ravaged by the Thirty Years' War. Its hero Ulrich von Bek is a mercenary and freethinker, who finds himself a damned soul in a castle owned by Lucifer. Much to his surprise, von Bek is charged by Lucifer with doing God's work, by finding the Holy Grail, the "cure for the world's pain," that will also cure Lucifer's pain by reconciling him with God. Only through doing this can von Bek save his soul.
After many adventures, von Bek eventually finds the Holy Grail, and discovers that it will set mankind on the path to self-redemption through rationality, without the help of God or the hindrance of Lucifer.
The story is continued in The City in the Autumn Stars (1986).
- "Internet Speculative Fiction Database". Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Moorcock's Miscellany". Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- Brown, Charles N.; William G. Contento. "The Locus Index to Science Fiction (1984-1998)". Retrieved 2007-12-20.
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