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

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,501 ratings  ·  50 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, 0 pages
Published April 1st 1986 by Ace (first published 1968)
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Swords and Deviltry by Fritz LeiberMage's Burden by Whit McClendonA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. HowardElric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock
Best Sword and Sorcery
12th out of 106 books — 119 voters
The Sacred Band by Janet E. MorrisThe Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. HowardElric of Melniboné by Michael MoorcockSwords and Deviltry by Fritz LeiberThe Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl by Janet E. Morris
Sword and Sorcery
26th out of 354 books — 269 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Bill  Kerwin

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.
Kat  Hooper
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
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
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
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
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
"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.
If you haven't read the tales of hilariously macho sorcerous swordsmen and thieves, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, then its time you did. In this story our heroes, as always after gold and jewels, nearly get themselves killed climbing an unclimbable icy mountain and then plunging into the depths of a truly horrid underworld slave state. As always the two are thoroughly bamboozled and robbed by every eye-batting female they meet along the way but never seem to notice, so sure are they of their mascu ...more
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
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
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
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
Kat  Hooper
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
A really cool novel about the heroes embarking in a quest based on a riddled message, that later on transforms into a very different novel when the two of them part ways and go underground. The difference in textures and situations makes it a very entertaining mountain and cavern novel.
This set of stories was good, but I was a little let down on the greatest thieves. I didn't think the ending was consistent with the characters. Fafhrd and Mouser are still an excellent mix of sword & sorcery, humor, and good writing. If you like the others, continue reading. If you haven't read them yet, what are you waiting for?
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser is as enjoyable a quick no brain read as it gets. Fritz Lieber practically (or actually) invented the sword and sorcery genre. Jon in junior high introduced me to them, rereading them has been more than commuting books, I enjoyed them tremendously.
Late July already and I haven't read any Leiber so far this summer?!?!? This ends now...
Okay, so a big chunk of this book was apparently an unfinished story that some other guy wrote 60 years ago, which Leiber sort of shoehorned into this tale of Fafhrd and the Mouser. I guess it works okay, but the prose is kind of odd in parts, maybe because of a less than seamless integration of the work of the 2 writers? Also, the "chapters" or stories here are longer than usual, which is fine, but I prefer
I am rereading the Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser stories and loving every minute. This collection is the best so far with interesting plots, worthy characters and - best of all - some of the richest prose to be found. I'm not ashamed to admit that I have had to resort to dictionaries for the first time in years! Flocculent? Refreshing!

And how can you not love "Indeed, there was a legend that the present line had generations ago clambered dagger-fisted to power by that route, though it was death to
Yet another great compilation of stories by Leiber. Stardock and The Two Best Theives in Lankhmar still grip the imaginination two generations after they were written. One of the things that Leiber has much fun with throughout these stories is putting his heros in their place--and with wonderful supporting characters to boot. The second story mentioned above does that particularly well.

My bottom line is simple: this book, along with the others in the series, is required reading for those who lo
Third time for me? Fourth? Just read it.
Michael Pryor
Sly, sensuous, polished.
The two major stories in this book involve a race to the top of Newhon's tallest mountain and intrigue in the tunnels and dungeons under another. The fantastic elements are really great here: an invisible race flying invisible manta ray-like creatures, the best faked death I've ever read about, and an underworld realm made breathable by mutant slaves endlessly walking treadmills to turn giant fans. Each story also has the requisite lust interest for each hero to keep things light.
Maybe coming to this midway through a series is not the best strategy. I found it very difficult to engage with the characters. and there's the usual problem that fantasy has to feature the exploitation of women. not overly impressed.
It is also more a collection of short stories shoved into a loosely themed collection. Each section bore no relation to the others so the overall story didn't flow. Very disappointing. The author is certainly a product of his time.
I love all of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories. I listen to all these books and the reader is very good as well (I get them from Audible). I especially loved this set because of the hike up the snow mountain - which was amazingly described and just beautiful to listen to. I was a little disappointed in the characters for one of the stories, I felt they would have reacted a little differently - but I didn't write it so I must be wrong. I still love them anyway.
David Nichols
The fourth of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser novels, SWORDS AGAINST WIZARDRY is actually two novellas, one pitting the duo against the icy mountains of the Northern Waste, the other detailing their service to the scheming wizard-lords of the underground kingdom of Quarmall. Several short vignettes introduce and link the two stories. The book is a good piece of escapist fiction, but one shouldn't read it in search of enlightenment or cultural enrichment.
Jason Cassee
I rediscovered Leiber recently and am really enjoying the audiobook versions of the tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. They say Leiber first coined the term "swords & sorcery" and he is a facile writer who pulls you in and keeps you enthralled. You'll find so many of the foundations of more contemporary storytelling, with an amazing array of plot twists and turns of fate to keep you enthralled. [Rating: A slashingly good ride!]
Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser is about as old school sword and sorcery as it's possible to get. Lots of fun if you're in the mood for that sort of thing but completely offensive to modern sensibilities. It's no wonder that Sci-Fi & Fantasy had such a lowbrow reputation back in the day!

What is this Bechdel Test you speak of? Why should women want to do anything but hang about and be sex objects for the lusty heroes?
I loved this book. It's a bit dated now, sexist, etc, although not too racist. I love the two characters, I love the fact that these are short stories which get straight to the action not huge clunking kerbstones and I love the fact that they have adventures that don't involve "Stopping the Dark Lord from conquering the world"!
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Fritz Leiber 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 various points in ...more
More about Fritz Leiber...

Other Books in the Series

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (10 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)
  • Lean Times in Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #3-4)
  • Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1) Swords Against Death (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #2) Swords in the Mist (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #3) Ill Met in Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1-2) The Swords of Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #5)

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“A good earthy witch is more honest than some city rogue tricked out in black cone-hat and robe of stars,” 1 likes
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