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The Hammer and the Blade (Egil and Nix #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,244 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
Egil and Nix, adventurers and swords for hire, are pulled into the dark schemes of a decadent family with a diabolical secret. A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by Angry Robot (first published June 24th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Egil and Nix, after slaying a demon during a routine tomb-plundering, are pulled into the machinations of a sorcerer whose family has made a pact with the same clan the demon was a part of. Also, they buy a bar.

The Hammer and the Blade seems to be an homage to those Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser tales I love so much, a buddy swords and sorcery tale. The two bicker and exchange witty dialogue while plundering tombs and running afoul of sorcerers and demons and things. It's a lot of fun at times.

Jan 16, 2013 seak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review, 2013
I've been hearing about Paul S. Kemp for a while now, mostly from his Forgotten Realms work with Erevis Cale trilogy, but (like usual) had never gotten around to reading his work. There's just so much time and so few books, am I right?

This last year, 2012 to be exact, Kemp comes out with a new book from Angry Robot who's more than generous with its review copies, so I figured why not?

The Hammer and the Blade is fast-paced buddy sword and sorcery that is part homage to the classics in this sub-ge

Mr. Kemp, forgive me. I enjoyed your book. Buddy sword and sorcery, against the odds, grit and luck, fun time. It reminded me of an updated Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or a more interesting Riyria Chronicles. It entertained me during a slow night shift when I needed to be entertained and to stay awake, so it was working against gravity, as it were, and it still worked. Kudos. I completely would have given it three and a half stars if it wouldn’t have been for one major plot-point:
What a fun romp this was!


Excellent protagonists. Both Egil and Nix come alive on the page. Their dialogue and interplay is great, and the author really delivers a sense of their brotherly camaraderie.

The book overall balances humor within the dialogue. It's easy to allow a book to have a humorous tone overall, but often times when an author does this, the jokes can undercut dramatic tension. This is done simply by lending a feeling of insincerity to the entire book. If the protag is too
Mike (the Paladin)
Apr 22, 2013 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I struggled "a little" with the rating here...3 or 4. This is another of the "famous" 3.5 books. It's very, very light reading (and there's nothing wrong with that) and at times I did kind of have a, "yeah, yeah get on with it" reaction. Still it's a good sword and sorcery read with bantering heroes and lots and lots and lots of action. There is the inevitable "trip to somewhere" that we seem to find in many stories of this type but Mr. Kemp does a pretty good job of keeping things jumping.

I mus
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
The Hammer and the Blade is fun sword and sorcery adventure. Kemp has done something interesting here. This book is quite low brow in its use of vulgar descriptions: constantly describing puking and spitting and other bodily functions. Yet in contrast, I had to look up a lot of words when I read this, for apparently Kemp has quite a vocabulary. Maybe he was trying to prove that just because someone has a potty mouth doesn't mean they lack intelligence.

As far as a buddy story, this one succeeds o
Aug 06, 2012 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's got tomb-robbing, demon-slaying, an evil wizard, tavern brawls, everything you'd want in your sword & sorcery -- there are definite echoes of Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock and, I think, Gary Gygax. I'm not entirely sold on the ending -- there's a tonal shift about 75 or 80 percent of the way through the book that seemed kind of abrupt and maybe unearned -- but I enjoyed the book as a whole and look forward to reading more of Nix & Egil's adventures.
Kat  Hooper
Aug 08, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at

Meet Egil and Nix, the latest sword & sorcery duo to attempt to soften my jaded heart. Can they do it? Well, they’ll never take the place of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, that’s for sure, but they’ve still got my attention and I’m willing to give them at least a second try.

Egil is a warrior priest — the only worshiper of the obscure god who manifests himself as a tattooed eye on the top of Egil’s bald head. Nix is a clever half-educated magician wh
Ben Babcock
An evil, corrupt sorcerer has a pact with a family of demons. Every few years, the big demon on campus rolls up and impregnates all of the women in the sorcerer’s family. In return for the demonic-looking hellspawn of this union, the demon uses its influence to get lesser denizens of the supernatural world to fall into line and obey the sorcerer’s commands. But now that demon has been slain, and with the time to renew the pact coming due, the sorcerer has to find the demon’s brother and free it ...more
A little firecracker of a Sword and Sorcery novel! A very entertaining, page-turning, goes-down-easy read. I'm a Nix and Egil fan now. This one really scratched that S&S itch I've had for several years now. I'd sure love to see more novels tackle the sub-genre as well as Kemp does here, as they are so rare to find.
Ranting Dragon
Jul 22, 2013 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dan

The Hammer and the Blade is a series-debuting novel by New York Times bestseller Paul S. Kemp. It introduces us to the adventuring duo of Egil, a warrior-priest, and his erstwhile companion Nix, a sneak, rogue, thief, and general ne’er-do-well, as they loot tombs, quaff ale, and generally get in over their heads. Hilarity ensues.

A Tale of Egil and Nix
The above little bit of subtext appears on the cover of The Hammer and the Blade and represents something I
A.E. Marling
This story is 95% banter by dry weight. The other 5% is magical worms, which seems like a good balance to me.

If you love sword and sorcery, this book will shine your blade. The story includes a priest of “Moments,” the most sacred of which seems to be the times he's bludgeoning people with hammers. The protagonist is a thief with a smattering of magical talent and a mouth that couldn't even be quieted with a silencing spell. The two adventure into tombs guarded by demons and perilous traps, and
Prelim Review: This has been a banner year for me as far as old-school fantasy adventurer novels go. I get to add THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE to the list and I'm certainly glad for it. In the simplest terms this book is about two friends (two somewhat shady, definitely reckless and utterly unrepentant in their derring-do's) who's one last heist before they retire to a semi-respectable life brings about unforeseen consequences to trouble their lives.

Nix is a master thief with a whole satchel of usef
Milo (Bane of Kings)
Original Post: (with links)

“An awesome fantasy novel shows that Kemp can work his magic in almost any setting, be it in a galaxy far far away, the Warhammer World or in his own creation. A rollercoaster ride that is not to be missed.” ~The Founding Fields

I was first introduced to Paul S. Kemp ever since I read and enjoyed The Old Republic: Deceived, and when the chance came to read his first novel in an original fantasy setting (he’s previously written i
Feb 24, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel made me wax nostalgic. It's the type of fantasy I grew up on. This is true sword and sorcery, with brawling kick-ass characters, or the Conan, Indiana Jones vein. Paul pays a lot of homage to the greats like Lieber and Howard and their influence shows. Egil and Nix are great characters to read about, best friends that have each other's backs through everything. They're the type of friends that can't bail each other out of trouble because they're right there in the thick of it together ...more
Kate Sherrod
Pulp fantasy, ahoy!

One of the downsides of partaking in a subscription service like Angry Robot's ebook one is that occasionally one winds up with a backlog, if one is, as I do, reading a lot of other stuff as well. Since this has been my Summer of Napoleonic War Fiction, I haven't read as much of the genres and genre mash-ups that are Angry Robot's specialty; I've just harvested my subscription each month and sort of gloated at the volume of most-likely-good stuff I have in store for myself.

Jun 29, 2012 Mieneke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
I first learned about The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp when I saw the first reveal of its cover art on the Angry Robot blog. While not very familiar with straight up Sword and Sorcery, I was intrigued by the blurb and I have a soft spot for thieves, so I was curious to see whether Nix would be another thief I'd fall in love with. And though I really liked Nix and his partner Egil, it remains to be seen whether this will be a lasting relationship or just a summer fling.

Sword and Sorcery i
Mia Darien
Aug 04, 2013 Mia Darien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm now in love with Paul S. Kemp.

Is it because he wrote a great story? No, even though he did.

Is it because he wrote prose that was engaging and easy to read? No, even though he did.

Is it because he managed to do the "life long friend" banter that so many try and fail at, without it seeming forced? No, even though he did.

Is it because he wrote a seamless story where all noted details from character or setting were not forgotten and used at the latter part of the book? No, even though he
May 20, 2012 Abhinav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: angry-robot, fantasy
Shadowhawk reviews Paul S. Kemp’s first in a new original fantasy series for Angry Robot Books, a novel that follow the adventures of the new thieving duo on the block, Egil and Nix.

“Swords & Sorcery at its best for a modern audience, The Hammer and The Blade echoes the magic of the old Dragonlance novels and takes the reader on a fast-paced adventure against sorcerors and demons through some of the most dangerous locations in the world.” ~The Founding Fields

Paul Kemp has been on my radar fo
Aug 20, 2013 Stefan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a long time fan of Paul’s work since his first book from Wizards of the Coast and was fortunate enough to receive an eARC of The Hammer and The Blade from Angry Robots Books (release date June 26, 2012). I was very excited to read this one as Paul was able to bring his flair for dark, flawed characters to a world of his own creation. The Hammer and the Blade is swords and sorcery at its best.

The book opens with Nix the Quick, a thief with some talent for magic, and Egil, a priest of
Richard Guion
Feb 28, 2014 Richard Guion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great fantasy novel for people who loved Conan, Fafrhd and the Grey Mouser, or other classic sword and sorcery stories. But the best part is, even though it is a solid S&S tale, it is written with modern sensibilities. Egil and Nix are at first glance very much like the famous Fritz Leiber duo, but they really share a great banter back and forth and there are many funny lines of dialogue between them. The book starts off with great action right away, as they are robbing a tomb prot ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Lillith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beloved-books
I fell in love with this story within the first two pages.

Thus far The Hammer And The Blade has everything I've come to expect from Paul Kemp's writing. It is dark, humorous, scathingly witty, and full of action and magic and WIN. And LOLs. (I snuck through a few pages at work and had to stifle chuckles-out-loud.) If I were to put in a request for someone to write a book perfectly tailored to my tastes, I would get The Hammer And The Blade.
James Cox
Jul 24, 2015 James Cox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read. Lots of adventure and who doesn't like a good sword fight.
May 08, 2015 Toshi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
First published at The Qwillery

The Hammer and The Blade ushers in the return of Sword & Sorcery fantasy in a most awesome way. It feels like the perfect 80s action film. It has a pair of unlikely heroes, Nix the Quick and Egil of Ebenor, the Momentary god. Nix, a thief raised in the slums, is quick with both his blades and tongue. Egil is a somber priest of a dead god and wields duel hammers, and a crowbar at times. Like any respectable scoundrels, they spend their time robbing tombs, gettin
May 08, 2014 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sword & sorcery fans
Shelves: fantasy
I've been slightly dissatisfied with many of the books I've read this year, but The Hammer and the Blade turned out to be a welcome end to this unfortunate streak. It's a fun sword & sorcery novel from beginning to end.

The prologue introduces us to hammer-wielding priest Egil and his crafty rogue companion Nix, right in the middle of a raid on a pseudo-Egyptian tomb. The story very quickly establishes that they're in it for thrills, cash, and personal glory, rather than any more elevated goa
Feb 13, 2014 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
There's some good stuff here - the two buddies just getting on with their tomb-robbing and ale drinking, trading witty banter back and forth and with old and new acquaintances; the overarching theme of how women are subjugated by men and how men cannot fully understand the horror of the crime of rape unless they experience it; the acceptance of new friends despite wrongs of the past - but there is also quite a bit of conveniences, coincidences and strangely perfect timing that makes the plot see ...more
Dan Stinton
First, a little housekeeping:
This book represents my 4th win in the Goodreads giveaway program, but I won it some months ago. So, apologies to Mr. Kemp and his publisher for not reviewing it sooner. On that note I owe a handful of other authors reviews for their books as well and will effort to complete those in the next week or two. Moving on.
There was a time in my life when I read nothing else but this kind of sword and sorcery book. In my early teens, still languishing in post-Tolkien splendo
Alan Dehaan
Jul 26, 2012 Alan Dehaan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Fantasy, Fans of Gritty Fantasy, Fans of Indiana Jones-Style Adventures
Recommended to Alan by: Paul Kemp
Shelves: favorites
I have been a fan of Paul S. Kemp's since his first Erevis Cale short story appeared in The Halls Of Stormweather. As with many practitioners of the art of writing it seemed as if every book he released was improved upon the last. And it continued this way through Shadowrealm. Unfortunately for me, the next set of novels he wrote were in the Star Wars Expanded Universe and I do not truly enjoy Star Wars so with some trepidation and a load of guilt I avoided them.

When he announced he was working
Jan 08, 2013 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a surprise, and yet not a surprise. It was exactly what I was expecting, yet more than I was expecting. A great, yet not spectacular, Four Stars.

Plot : Four Stars

Two career tomb-robbers do one last job and defeat a demon, only to unwittingly send themselves down a path that will risk their lives and help them find themselves. Retiring from that last job to a newly bought 'shit-hole' pub, they are then coerced magically into accompanying a sorcerer as he attempts to sustain his power
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Bestselling speculative fiction author, creator of Egil and Nix, Erevis Cale, drinker of scotch, smoker of cigars, amiable dude. :-)
More about Paul S. Kemp...

Other Books in the Series

Egil and Nix (4 books)
  • A Discourse in Steel (Egil and Nix #2)
  • A Better Man
  • A Conversation in Blood (Egil and Nix #3)

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