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The First Book of Lankhmar

(Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #1-4)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,866 ratings  ·  39 reviews
From the moment when they first met, in the commission of the same, audacious theft, Fafhrd, the giant barbarian warrior from the Cold Waste, and the Gray Mouser, master thief, novice wizard and expert swordsman, felt no ordinary affinity. Forged over the gleam of sharpened steel as, back to back, they faced their foes, theirs was a friendship that would take them from adv ...more
Paperback, 762 pages
Published 2001 by Gollancz (first published 2000)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,866 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forget the historical import of these stories - everyone and their uncle will tell you how influential Leiber's conception of fantasy was - and instead I'll concentrate on the quality of the stories for a present-day reader.

Swords and Deviltry: Prequels to the whole saga, written 30 years after it first started. The first two stories are perfectly acceptable and not-quite-believable origin stories. I had some fun with Fafhrd's romantic hijinks and entanglements and the French farce-style enterin
Rodrigo Tello
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leiber escribe como los dioses, se nota en su prosa dinámica y cuidada, no aburre nunca y la narración es una especie de montaña rusa literaria: sube de a poco hasta las cimas para después arrojarnos en caída libre, si cabe la comparación. Este primer libro del ciclo de Lankhmar incluye las 4 primeras novelas que se publicaron, las dos primeras (Espadas y Nigromantes y Espadas contra la muerte en 1970 y las dos últimas, Espadas en la niebla y Espadas contra la Magia en 1968) a modo de tomo recop ...more
May 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This Fantasy Masterworks volume compiles the first four books of the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser series, each book being itself comprised of various short stories and novellas written at different times (the Wikipedia article has a rundown of all the stories, when they were written and in which book they can be found). The titular characters are Fafhrd, a giant barbarian from the frozen north and the Grey Mouser, a small roguish man with some sorcerous training. The first two stories of the first ...more
R.M.F Brown
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Swords and Sorcery at its best

As part of a generation raised on Elves, Dragons, and Vampire knock offs, Leiber's tales brought a refreshing change from the countless Tolkien imitators that dominate the market. Almost immediately, you're struck at how rational these characters are - concerned as they are with self-preservation and motivation for their own ends. They don't run off at the drop of a hat to save the world from a dark lord or rescue a damsel in distress. If anything, if the pay's good
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fritz Leiber is a wonderfully interesting writer, though I found that his stories are best enjoyed in small sips. Though his heroes are verily interesting and his world is grand and interesting, he can get a bit tiring in longer runs. Had I pushed myself to finish the entire anthology in one attempt, I may have had some large qualms with it.
But with breaks between reading sessions, this proved quite pleasant. All in all I've found that "Swords in the mist" has been the best of the bunch, with "S
Lee Battersby
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Immensely fun romp through the bedrock of modern fantasy with two engaging and enjoyable characters, until the constant overwriting and simmering misogyny begins to chafe just a little too often and a little too constantly for comfort. Cut the reading experience into quarters along the dotted lines described by the volumes that make up the book, and refresh your palate in between them, and this remains a thoroughly fun experience. It just requires the reader to be understanding of its real world ...more
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Read this to keep yourself young. The stories can be a bit formulaic, but what a great formula: the classic odd-couple, bonded through manly adventure. The fantasy is extravagent with a feeling of newness even for seasoned fantasy readers. I found the writing very well-crafted, especially for stories which make absolutely no literary pretense: just solidly crafted plot and prose. Read it to please yourself, or to pass along to a young reader in your life. I _wish_ I'd read this when I was 12....
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Somewhat dated, this still mostly holds up as one leg of the triad of inspiration for most fantasy authors of the past few decades. Leiber uses words like Monet uses paint, subtly and slightly to produce vivid images.
Alfonso Junquera perez
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, pulp
Si te gusta la fantasia tienes que leer las aventuras de Fafhrd y el Ratonero Gris porque sin duda te van a encantar, y si ademas eres jugador de rol no puedes perderte una de las obras que inspiro a lso creadores del D&D.
Ben Lovegrove
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Unforgettable stories, very convincing and superbly well written.
Florin Pitea
Apr 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Robert E. Howard meets William Shakespeare. Pretty pleasant read, except I wish I had read it twenty years ago.
Steve Cotterill
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
A thick book of stories, this volume is packed with some of the best sword and sorcery I've read in a long time and really confirms that Leiber was one of the stars in the genre's firmament. Written as short stories, which suits both the sword and sorcery genre and the characters, the narratives within have a different texture to those I've read to other writers of the genre, whilst losing nothing of the strangeness or wildness that make it one of the more interesting sections of the fantasy gen ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I suspect this is not one book, but five books in one binding.

In fact, it's not even that. It's a few dozen short pulpy adventure tales, divided into five nominal books, bound together as one volume. All the stories star Fafhrd (a red-haired barbarian from the far North) and the Grey Mouser (a short, grey-wearing guy) as they adventure and quest around their world, and, in one particularly bizarre volume, ours. It's over 600 pages of pulpy fantasy, so kudos for being entertaining enough for me t
Sep 30, 2011 rated it liked it
[Review of the first book in the omnibus, 'Swords and Deviltry', only.]
3 stars
Read 17th July 2013
Reasonably entertaining early sword & sorcery from the Fantasy Masterworks series. I may be damming it with faint praise here, but at least A) it's not as dated as many from that period, and B) it's not as self-important as many from that period! It knows how to have some fun, and I quite enjoyed the time I spent with the two likeable protagonists. I wasn't particularly happy with the very ending
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tras leer la presentación de Pau Martínez, estaba motivado para adentrarme en las novelas de Lankhmar pero he de reconocer que me costó cogerle el punto, hasta la historia de Garras Nocturnas no acabé de engancharme.

Pero es innegable que las historias de Fafhrd y el Ratonero gris son sinónimo de aventura fantástica, elaborada con gran ingenio y derroche de imaginación. A cada nueva historia, disfrutaba un poco más de los personajes.

Me ha sorprendido la rapidez y la crudeza con la que el autor re
Kat  Hooper
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at FanLit.

I must confess that I had some preconceived notions about Fritz Leiber’s work. Because he’s credited with coining the phrase “Sword & Sorcery,” and because I never hear women talking about his stories, I imagined that they appealed mainly to men who like to read stuff that has covers like these:

But, four factors made me decide to give Fritz Leiber a try:

I feel the need to be “educated” in the field of fantasy, which means that I should read novels that are out of
Riju Ganguly
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, probably the only reasonably priced collection of the first four books dealing with the adventures of the Northern barbarian Fafhrd and once-wizard-later-thief Gray Mouser, took a long time to be completed. Although it contains four books (Swords and Deviltry, Swords Against Death, Swords in the Mist, and Swords Against Wizardry), they encompass several stand-alone or inter-connected stories of varying pace & nature. Overall, thesr stories redefine the genre we broadly term as fan ...more
Sep 07, 2010 rated it liked it
It was... alright, I guess. Nothing stellar, nothing very much enjoyable, actually I'm somewhat disappointed. After hearing a lot about this being a must-read for fantasy fans, part of the classics and so forth, I was expecting something better.

The characters are alright, but the plots tend to be somewhat muddled and rather uninspired perhaps. Can't exactly put my finger on it, but there weren't many times when I said "that is cool" or "Ok, this is interesting". I had to force myself through the
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Lähes täydellistä pre-Tolkien-fantasiaa. Pulpin riemuvoitto. Leiberin Lankhmar, varkaiden kaupunki, on ehkä M. John Harrisonin Viriconiumiakin merkittävämpi fantasialokaatio. Fafhrd-barbaari ja velho/varas/swashbuckler Grey Mouser ovat myös pulp-fantasian eräs ikimuistoisimmista antisankaripareista. Näitä kahtahan Michael Chabon lainaa Gentlemen of the Roadissa. On mielenkiintoista, että kerronta alkaa junnata ja hahmot muuttuvat tylsiksi heti kun Lankhmarista lähdetään muualle, ikään kuin Leibe ...more
Francisco Sánchez
En plena fiebre de Juego de tronos, en pleno delirio por todo lo que acontece en Poniente, tan solo os pido unos minutos de vuestra atención para que, juntos, desviemos nuestras miras hacia otras tierras, diferentes, pero similares a la par. Dejadme que os hable un poco de Nehwon, el mundo al que dio vida uno de los escritores más influyentes en lo que respecta al subgénero de la fantasía épica, Fritz Leiber.

Continúa la reseña en
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnífica saga mítica de la fantasía.
Los libros de aventuras del gigantesco bárbaro Fafhrd y su pequeño compañero el Ratonero son pequeñas joyas de la literatura fantástica llenas de alicientes. Además de resultar superentretenidos y rebosantes de ritmo, destilan humor y originalidad por cada una de sus páginas.
No en vano, su autor Fritz Leiber es uno de los autores más premiados del género.
Absolutamente recomendables para todo tipo de lector.
Derek Pennycuff
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that a collection of stories this big is a mixed bag. Sadly, the weakest stories start off the collection. The characters are hardly recognizable in their origin stories. My advice to anyone new to the series is to skip to ll Met in Lankhmar and read forward from there.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really an anthology of Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories in internal chronological order (not in the order that the stories were written but in the chronology as it relates to the characters) as such it is a bit hit and miss. The hits, however, are more than worth it, with Ill Met in Lankhmar, the Nebula and Hugo winner story at the end of the first book being the definite stand-out.
Ross Lockhart
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Collecting Fritz Leiber's first four Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books, THE FIRST BOOK OF LANKHMAR contains some of the best swords-and-sorcery tales out there. High points include 1959's "Lean Times in Lankhmar," 1963's "Bazaar of the Bizarre," and 1964's "The Lords of Quarmall." Great stuff!
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it
this started out really slowly and i was considering dropping it...i continued and the art seemed to get better and the stories got better so i did finish it. not my favorite graphic novel and one i would reserve for those 9th grade and above.
Dearg Glas
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Leiber is one my favorite authors in the genre - excellent prose, engaging characters, and a refreshingly roguish and irreverent sense of humor. The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adventures are a blast - absolute classics and the most enjoyable "sword and sorcery" stories I have ever read by far.
Jordi Balcells
2,5/5 ¡Oh, sielos, le ha puesto mala nota a este clásico de la espada y brujería! ¡Sacrílego, milénico, no respetas nada, tienes el gusto en…!
No odio especialmente a Leiber. Guardo buen recuerdo de El gran tiempo y también leí Hágase la oscuridad, aunque este último fue en inglés y no recuerdo gran cosa. En parte ese es el problema con este autor, y es que es tan difícil de leer que llega a hacerse soporífero. Con este ómnibus he revivido los sudores fríos de Olvidado rey Gudú, y reconozco que c
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Valorar este libro es una labor tremendamente compleja. Por un lado, más que un libro es un volumen con cuatro libros dentro, y eso suele llevar aparejada una variabilidad en la calidad de cada uno de ellos. Por otro lado, uno de los mayores méritos de esta obra de Fritz Leiber se basa en la contextualización de la misma. Me explico, esta obra, que tan influyente ha sido en las últimas décadas, debe observarse desde la perspectiva del yermo páramo en el que se encontraba la fantasía cuando fue p ...more
Steven Poore
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, the-classics
It's taken me the best part of three years to read this, be mostly unimpressed, and then forget that I actually read it. That's why I've only just "finished" it. Sorry, but Leiber's heroes might well be one of the ur-texts of modern fantasy, but like a lot of early Moorcock, they're less relevant and less impressive than they sound these days. When you add in Pratchett's affectionate lampoons of the characters and try to go back to these tales, you realise that they haven't aged all that well. S ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly original sword and sorcery with a pinch of horror and two fantastic characters at its heart.
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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

Other books in the series

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (9 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 Book 3)
  • Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #4)
  • 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)
  • The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: Swords and Deviltry, Swords Against Death, and Swords in the Mist
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