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Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #4)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  3,141 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews

· In the Witch’s Tent · ss *
· Stardock · nv Fantastic, September 1965
· The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar · ss Fantastic, August 1968
· The Lords of Quarmall · Fritz Leiber & Harry Fischer · na Fantastic, January 1964
Paperback, 188 pages
Published April 1st 1986 by Ace (first published 1968)
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Bill  Kerwin
Aug 06, 2010 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy

This fourth book in the Fafrd and Gray Mouser saga is even better than the first three. The two short slight pieces are amusing, and the two novelettes "Stardock" (about a mountain-climbing quest in search of invisible jewels) and "The Lords of Quarmall (concerning a dynastic struggle between two vicious brothers who seek to dominate a joyless underground world) are filled with excitement, and--as always--wine, women, swordplay and sorcery.
Swords Against Wizardry: Our two lovable rogues ascend mighty mountains, are challenged by female thieves, and hire out as mercenaries for rival princes
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This is the fourth collection of stories in Fritz Leiber’s FAFHRD AND THE GRAY MOUSER series, and is better than the previous volume, Swords in the Mist. It features four stories: “In the Witch’s Tent” (1968), “Stardock” (1965), “The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar” (1968), and “The Lords of Quarmall” (1964). M
The publisher says:
Demons and evil gods inhabit the untenable peak of the mountain called Stardock. They guard a magnificent trove of treasure that lies at the heart of the dangerous peak, and the brave warriors known as Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser have decided that they will fight to make the riches their own!

As their quest leads them from adventure to adventure, the two heroes find themselves at the threshold of the magical and mysterious kingdom of Quarmall. As they attempt to breach the defe
Oct 04, 2015 Charlton rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I finished this book and honestly I have to rate it lower than any previous Fafhrd and Mouser book that
I've read.The banter between the two is still like friends,though there is some rivalry.
But the first half of the book is so slow.There were times I had to read a designated number of pages
before I would take a break.
But it paid off in the second half.We had wizards living in the same area and plotting against each other.
Aug 07, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
I have heard from multiple sources that I shouldn't read the later books in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series, because the quality goes down precipitously and it'll retroactively ruin my enjoyment of previous books. Now, that may actually be true, but I was happy to learn that even if it is, Swords Against Wizardry does not count as a later book for the purposes of that rule.

Much like Swords and Deviltry, there are only a few stories in this book. Two of them, "In the Witch's Tent" and "The
Kat  Hooper
Sep 23, 2011 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The time has come for sorcery and swords.

After a somewhat disappointing third volume in the Lankhmar series, Fritz Leiber is back to form in Swords Against Wizardry. This book contains four stories about Fafhrd the big red-headed barbarian, and The Gray Mouser, the small wily magician-thief. Three of the stories come from the pulp magazine Fantastic and the first story was created for this volume as an introduction. The stories fit so well together that th
Dec 27, 2008 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series--or the first one I've read so far--where each story seemed to hit the mark. Previous books seemed to contain one or two really good stories, with lesser material filling the rest.

"The Lords of Quarmall" has the distinction of being the best story of the series so far, edging out "Bazaar of the Bizarre" and "Lean Times in Lankhmar". It is all the better for the scaffolding originally written by Harry Otto Fischer, which Leiber filled out
Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome
Fritz Leiber invented the term "sword and sorcery", and he was the finest author the genre has ever had. In fact he was, in my opinion, the finest author of fantasy period. I rank him above Tolkien, Howard and Moorcock, never mind Martin or Jordan. I've read him described as a "master prose stylist", and the description is apt indeed. Fritz Leiber was, simply, a terrific, extremely talented writer with a true love of language and a prodigious, playful, incredibly unique style. The odd, absurd, w ...more
I'm pretty sure "Stardock" is my favorite Fafhrd & Gray Mouser story. --MK
May 07, 2009 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I rated this one in the inclusive volume, Swords' Masters.
Jan 27, 2012 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
The fourth in the series of sword and sorcery adventures continues to enchant me with the mix of humor and bloody action, beautiful language a unbridled imagination. It doesn't feel dated at all, in fact I think it has a timeless quality of essential storytelling, able to speak across generations and age groups.

"In the Witch's Tent" is quite short, and serves as a prologue to the long novella that follows. It does a good job of reaquainting the reader with the laidback and amoral duo of lovable
Newton Nitro
Jan 16, 2014 Newton Nitro rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Várias aventuras interessantes nesse livro, que se interligam transformando o volume em um romance. “Stardock” conta as aventuras da dupla no norte gelado, atrás de um tesouro e um mistério milenar, “The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar” é uma história curta e divertida que se passar em Lankhmar e que descreve os esforços da dupla para desovar os tesouros conquistados na aventura anterior.

Minha história favorita nesse livro é a noveleta (uma história de mais de 40 mil palavras) “The Lords of Quarmal
May 26, 2011 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In the Witch's Tent": Fun fix-up addition. The boys pick up a tent while they are inside it and run around a city trying to escape people wanting to kill them. A silly good time.

"Stardock": The boys climb a snow covered mountain with a giant snow cat. Some cool moments but overall it was too long and tedious.

"The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar": Great Lankhmar story proving that the boys aren't as clever as they appear. Super character work and fine exploration and expansion of the dynamics of th
Dans ce court recueil, on ne retrouve que deux grosses aventures de nos héros : une escalade à la recherche de graines d'étoiles jamais lancées dans le ciel, et une visite dans un pays catacombesque.
Si le premier récit fait immanquablement penser à toutes ces histoires d'escalade (avec toutefois un supplément d'ennemis invisibles et volants), le second mélange habilement la politique machiavélique, une forte sensation de claustrophobie, et un dénouement dont seul Leiber pourrait nous gratifier.
Howard Jones
Aug 28, 2012 Howard Jones rated it really liked it
Probably my second favorite of all the Lankhmar collections, right after Swords Against Death. Not a bad one in the bunch -- I just prefer those in Swords Against Death by a little.
Bret James Stewart
Sep 13, 2016 Bret James Stewart rated it it was amazing
Fritz Leiber was a cool guy. He kept busy as an author, actor, and chess expert. He coined the term, “sword and sorcery,” one of the genres in which he wrote and the one for which he is generally recognized today. Swords Against Wizardry is the first of his work I have read, although I have known of his work for a long time due to the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons material based upon and inspired by his work. Leiber was a 20th century author of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

Swords Against Wizardry
I did just read this today, but I've read it probably a dozen times since I was a kid. A set of sword and sorcery tales that was my first introduction to the rogue/hero trope. "Stardock" is a thrilling account of mountain climbing, and "The Lords of Quarmall" a melancholy depiction of tyranny.
Kisbali Tamás
Nov 05, 2016 Kisbali Tamás rated it really liked it
The short "In the Witch's Tent" is great... and so is the long "The Lords of Quarmall"! "Stardock", the other long-format offering in this volume tends to move very slowly, following our heroic duo as they scale the titular mountain peak Stardock. "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" is a fun ride.
Swords and Wizardry is the fourth volume in Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series, which means that I’m past the halfway point in my re-reading now. It contains only four stories, two long novellas and two short tales serving as introductions to them. It maybe deserves some notice that the first story, “In the Witch’s Tent” was written especially for this volume, thus presumably being one of the bridge vignettes like those encountered in previous volumes which were intended to provide a c ...more
Christoph Weber
Jan 07, 2017 Christoph Weber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser enttäuschen nicht. Auch nicht im Kampf gegen Wizards. Naja, vielleicht davor im Vergleich mit Frauen...
F.J. Sanz
Sep 20, 2016 F.J. Sanz rated it it was ok
Como tengo por costumbre, comentaré esta saga al completo y no desgranando libro por libro.

Para analizar las aventuras de Fafhrd y el Ratonero Gris es necesario ambientarse en su contexto histórico. Publicada la primera novela (Espadas y demonios) en 1970, la sociedad y valores no eran los mismos que priman en la nuestra hoy en día.

Quizá haya quien se pueda escandalizar ante la visión tan machista que ofrecen sus páginas, donde sus dos héroes no buscan en el sexo opuesto más que la pura satisfac
Peter Carrier
“Even the wiliest hares are caught in simple snares[.]"

I was not wily enough to escape being snared, yet again, by the incomparable Mr. Leiber. The fourth volume of collected tales of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser is every bit as enjoyable and worthy a read as the three that precede it. While I prefer the shorter stories concerning Leiber's well-known characters, his longer works involving the famous pair are also quite sound. In this book, "Stardock" and "The Lords of Quarmall" take up the bulk of
Dec 01, 2015 Eldad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like these books. I first heard about them while I was in high school in the ‘80s, but I was never able to find them in bookstores and I had forgotten about them for a long time. Goodreads & Amazon fixed that for me.

I’m writing only one review for all of the books because my overall impression of them remains the same through most of the stories. The books remain oddly stagnant in some respects, and they vary wildly in others. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are almost comicall
Dominic Green
May 25, 2015 Dominic Green rated it liked it
Two stories masquerading as a novel. Both stories are brilliant in concept. The first concept is that the gods made all the stars that line the heavens, and the world's highest mountain, Stardock, is where legend says they were launched - cue Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser climbing to the peak to obtain starry riches beyond their wildest dreams. The second concept is that two evil wizards hire our heroes, unbeknown to all four parties involved, for opposing sides of a fight to the death. All modern ...more
Lee Broderick
This book balances two longer short stories with two shorter ones (that sounds oxymorinic to me, too, but you know what I mean). The first of these shorter stories, like a couple from Swords in the Mist , was written specifically for the volume. Although superficially written to link events of that previous collection to this one it's really little more than filler. Stardock, the second story is really the highlight of the bunch, consisting mainly of a quest/journey with a brief climax at the e ...more
Jul 14, 2008 Rhys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways Leiber's *Fafhrd & Gray Mouser* series gets better and better. The fourth volume of the seven book sequence contains four interlinked pieces of varying length.

The first piece, 'In the Witch's Tent', is amusing but very slight. But the second piece, 'Stardock', is probably my favourite episode in the entire career of the intrepid duo so far, a genuinely breathtaking ascent of the highest mountain on the world of Newhon, with the usual seductresses, supernatural assailants and mur
Jan 07, 2016 Kenny rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
These two are a fairly reliable fantasy duo. In this collection of 3 short stories and a novella they get up to their usual hijinks. :)

*** In the Witches Tent: sees Fafhrd trying to get help from a shaman to tell them what the future holds, and Mouser is the usual cynic :) They get some vague predictions, and a fantastic ambush :)

**** Stardock: sees them trying to climb a dangerous mountain in search of, what else, gems and women. Sure its a little out there, but I really could feel the cold and
Oct 16, 2016 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This volume contains two main adventures, each preceded by a briefer sort of prologue or linking story. In "Stardock," our two antiheroes embark on an expedition up an intimidating and dangerous mountain peak in search of rumored treasure. It is as arduous a read as a climb. In "The Lords of Quarmall," they become pawns (separately and unbeknownst to the other) in an ongoing duel between two hateful brothers who each hope to succeed their father as ruler. This, too, was a bit tough to get throug ...more
Douglas Milewski
Mar 29, 2016 Douglas Milewski rated it it was ok
If you know what you think of any other Fritz Leiber book, Swords Against Wizardry (1968) will confirm your opinion. If you love or hate the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser tales, you'll equally well continue loving or hating them. Here are a handful more short stories collected into novel form.

Myself, I thought the stories overwrought for the fun stories that they told. At time, Leiber settles down into a smooth narrative, but more often than not sticks in so many extra words and paragraphs that you can
Kat  Hooper
Apr 11, 2011 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
The time has come for sorcery and swords.

After a somewhat disappointing third volume in the LANKHMAR series, Fritz Leiber is back to form in Swords Against Wizardry. This book contains four stories about Fafhrd the big red-headed barbarian, and The Gray Mouser, the small wily magician-thief. Three of the stories come from the pulp magazine Fantastic and the first story was created for this volume as an introduction. The stories fit so well together that they almost feel like a novel.

“In the Witc
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Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. was one of the more interesting of the young writers who came into HP Lovecraft's orbit, and some of his best early short fiction is horror rather than sf or fantasy. He found his mature voice early in the first of the sword-and-sorcery adventures featuring the large sensitive barbarian Fafhrd and the small street-smart-ish Gray Mouser; he returned to this series at variou ...more
More about Fritz Leiber...

Other Books in the Series

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (8 books)
  • Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1)
  • Swords Against the Shadowlands
  • Swords Against Death (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #2)
  • Swords in the Mist (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #3)
  • The Swords of Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #5)
  • Swords and Ice Magic (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #6)
  • The Knight and Knave of Swords (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #7)

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