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The Hammer and the Blade

(Egil and Nix #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,956 ratings  ·  246 reviews
Robbing tombs for fun and profit might not be a stable career, but Egil and Nix aren’t in it for the long-term prospects. Egil is the hammer-wielding warrior-priest of a discredited god. Nix is a roguish thief with just enough knowledge of magic to conjure up trouble. Together, they seek riches and renown, yet often find themselves enlisted in lost causes—generally against ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 410 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,956 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: angry-robot, 2015
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.

Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 11, 2013 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
The Shayne-Train
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Alright, so, yeah. It's true. I'm a total sucker for a good sword & sorcery fantasy novel. And I'm a total sucker for likable roguish anti-heroes. And I'm a total sucker for bromantical buddy-cop twosomes.

And somehow, SOMEHOW, Paul S. Kemp has read my fakking diary or some such, and written a series just for me. If I wasn't so flattered and amazed, I'd be downright creeped out.

This had it all. The lovable semi-antagonistic banter between Egil and Nix was priceless. The story was exciting and we
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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 who go
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
Kara 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
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Michelle Sedai of the Brown Ajah
3 stars is a good rating; it was a fun read. It just felt like a lot of things boiled down to dumb luck and magically possessing/finding whatever tool saves the day in any given situation.

On a side note, this is physically one of the oldest books on my TBR (either 7 or 8 years) at the time of finishing it, so yay for progress in completing my backlog!
Ranting Dragon
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book hit all the right places for me. It's exactly what I was looking for at the moment: fast, fun, action packed and full of memorable characters.

Egil and Nix might end rivaling Royce and Hadrian as favorite fantasy duo. Nix was great as a narrator, smart mouthed and take no shit kind of guy with a heart of gold. While his soft spoken, hammer wielding partner was always there for support. Both guys are instantly likeable and their camaraderie really made the book. It also had one of the m
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: angry-robot, fantasy
You can read the full review over at my blog:

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 danger
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 adventurer friends) 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
Kate Sherrod
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.

Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mia Darien
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Richard Guion
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 protecte ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
I'm not much of a fantasy novel type simply because of the overdone tropes but I wound up loving this story!

Looking back it's a pretty basic concept: Two rogue adventurers get in to trouble and things are't what they seem. Add in a couple damsels in distress and there you go. BUT once I actually sat down and got in to the story I was hooked by the depth of the characters. Witty writing, humor and realistic personalities shined through along with the twisting storytelling. the pacing was excellen
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read. Lots of adventure and who doesn't like a good sword fight. ...more
The Hammer and the Blade is a fun romp that centers around the two main characters, Egil and Nix. I don't have enough to say for a full review, other than this book was exactly what I was expecting it to be--a near-cinematic experience that, while not necessarily as deep and rewarding as other books, still embraces its role as an adventure tale.

Egil and Nix are given good chemistry, and I really bought in to the relationship between the two of them. There are also nice arcs and relationships wit
I'm a bit weary of leaving another review of this type, but here goes. I always feel obligated to give a book a chance when I receive it as a free ARC, even if its genre does not typically "float my boat". While fantasy is usually my genre of choice, the sword-and -sorcery subsection definitely isn't. "The Hammer and the Blade" is certainly a sword-and-sorcery novel, which I could enjoy only if it took itself seriously and gave me plenty of opportunity for strife and angst. This novel is a light ...more
Alon Lankri
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
There is a lot to like here. The morally ambiguous characters are interesting, and the world is well-developed. The author is also a skilled wordsmith, describing things in interesting ways, even if at times they make little sense. I didn't feel grabbed enough by the story though, and at times considered putting it down. I didn't care enough about the characters, the priest of a god that makes no sense and the thief/mage without a real history beyond a couple sentences. The injuries here leave n ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good stuff for those looking for a sword & sorcery fix with a modern vocabulary and telling points. Egil, the 'priest', a huge bear like individual with two hammers, and Nix, a lowly rogue who normally practices with the falchion and hand axe, make their way through tombs and loot like a duo of classic 'bad' good guys. ...more
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Bestselling speculative fiction author, creator of Egil and Nix, Erevis Cale, drinker of scotch, smoker of cigars, amiable dude. :-)

Other books in the series

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

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Psychological thrillers that will leave your head spinning. Cold cases, detectives hot on a trail, unreliable narrators, and a dash of poison...
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“A woman's thoughts are always weapons. And all men are monsters in their hearts.” 0 likes
“Nix hocked, spit, and chuckled. "I'm not your fakkin' eunuch. Get it yourself. Egil almost died because of you. Him and me are here only because of your compulsion. You and your sisters could all die tomorrow and I'd mourn you not at all. Don't ever forget how it is with us.” 0 likes
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