Tuesday, January 16, 2007

By Fritz Leiber

The final volume of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series finds our heroes in semi-respectable retirement. You knew that couldn’t last!

Death and the gods are still out to kill and otherwise torment Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Meanwhile the heroes are now leaders on Rime Isle. They have settled down with local women, Cif and Afreyt. They are formidable ladies of keen and subtle intellect (which helps them keep out light-minded heroes on track). They have deputy heroes in Skor and Pshawri and a gaggle of youngsters who are no end of trouble and relief.

The centerpiece of Knight and Knave is “The Mouser Goes Below”. This tour de force sends the Mouser on a subterranean tour of Nehwon, a review of his life and a “where are they now” of long-ago loves and foes. While there is some very strange sorcery, there is little sword here. It’s a summing up, but the Falstaffian touches are still here. We learn the shocking truth about cabingirls and have a fond tribute tot he shaving fetish that marks Fafhrd and the Mouser’s adventures.

The Knight and Kanve of Swords is a strange and elegant farewell to two of sword and sorcery’s greatest heroes from one of sword and sorcery’s greatest writers.
-Dave Hardy

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