Sunday, January 14, 2007

By Fritz Leiber

The one true novel of Fafhrd and the Gray Mousesr, Swords of Lankhmar brings our heroes into conflict with their most determined foes. At stake is nothing less than the Queen city of Nehwon, Lankhmar itself.

After a convocation of the twain’s creditors fails to arrange a mutually satisfactory payment schedule, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser go to sea. Wile acting as guards for Lankhmar’s grain fleet, they meet the delectable Hisvet and her dour but lovely maid Frix. Aside from an invasion of Mingol Hordes and an eruption of the skeletal, flesh-eating ghouls, Lankhmar has some real problems. An enemy within, dwelling alongside humanity is finally making its power manifest. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you who they are.

Fritz Leiber is undoubtedly one of the three best sword and sorcery writers ever. In the author’s note, he compares his heroes to Robin Hood. There’s quite bit of truth to this, not that the twain are champions of the poor who steal from the rich in some Marxist tract. Rather they are trickster heroes as much as battlers, much like the legendary Robin Goodfellow. Leiber’s heroes are as uproariously funny as Falstaff and as dashing as Douglas Fairbanks.
-Dave Hardy

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