The Worm Ouroboros

Eddison’s first fantasy novel, The Worm Ouroboros, is an epic tale of adventure. Set in the imaginary world of Mercury, it tells of the battles of the heroic Demons against their age-long foes, the Witches, a treacherous and war-like race, ruled by their sorcerer-king, Gorice XII. The Demons led by Lord Juss, his brothers, Lords Goldry Bluzsco and Spitfire, and their cousin Lord Brandoch Daha, refuse to submit the free island nation of Demonland to the predations of the Witches.

To overcome their adversaries, the Lords of Demonland engage in battles by land and sea, venture across the remorseless wastes of the Moruna, scale the icy summit of Koshtra Pivrarcha, slay the hideous mantichores, ride to unassailable heights on a hippogriff (even on Mercury, a beast of myth and legend), and conquer their fears and desires to reach the captive on the black peak of Zora Rach.

After a final assault on Carcë, the fortress of the Witches, the Lords of Demonland are victorious in battle. The annihilation of the Witches is made complete by the failed sorcery of Gorice XII, and the treachery of one of their own. The military prowess and loyal comradeship of the Demons carry them to victory, aided by allies such as Queen Sophonisba, a semi-divine being of great beauty and youth.

When the Demons realize that their lives are meaningless without the struggle against their old enemies, Queen Sophonisba intercedes with the gods on their behalf, so that the Witches are revived and the battle for supremacy can begin again. The tale ends where it began, with the Witches seeking the subjugation of the Demons. The Worm Ouroboros is the serpent which eats its own tail, a fitting symbol of the continuous and everlasting conflict of the novel.