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Swords Against Wizardry

(Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #4)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  3,747 ratings  ·  102 reviews
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 themse

Paperback, 188 pages
Published August 19th 1979 by Ace Books (first published 1968)
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4.11  · 
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 ·  3,747 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Aug 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

This fourth book in the Fafrd and Gray Mouser saga is even better than the first three.

The two short pieces. though slight, are amusing, and the two novelettes "Stardock" (a mountain-climbing quest for invisible jewels) and "The Lords of Quarmall" (a dynastic struggle between two vicious brothers who seek to dominate a joyless underground world) are filled with excitement.

And--as always--there is an abudance of wine, women, swordplay and sorcery.
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of Leiber's finely-crafted tales of adventure featuring barbarian Fafhrd (whose bluff exterior hides one frequently given to flights of fancy or romance) and thief Mouser (who would describe himself, not altogether with cause, as the more practical of the pair).

In this case, we have two quite long stories and one shorter linking piece. First, in "Stardock", F & GM find themselves on the far side of the Cold Waste scaling the mountain Stardock, whose peak pierces the very firmament. (The
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
It was hard to put my finger on at first, but reading these in sequence, it becomes obvious that something has changed with the writing of the fourth Fafhrd and Gray mouser anthology. Maybe the thing that's changed is after all it's less of an anthology. This time around it feels like the stories have been written in order and are meant to follow one another. The bulk of the book is taken up by two longer pieces, and the last especially seems to be preparing the writer (and his audience) for the ...more
Kat  Hooper
Sep 23, 2011 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 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I rated this one in the inclusive volume, Swords' Masters.
Florin Pitea
"Stardock" is fairly impressive, and the other three stories are worth reading as well. Publishing
I'm pretty sure "Stardock" is my favorite Fafhrd & Gray Mouser story. --MK
Vast improvement over volume 3. This and volume 2 are my favorites so far.
Howard Jones
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Stephen Richter
Short stories written between 1964 and 1968 for the magazines Fantastic and Fantastic Stories of Imaginations, it reads like a novel . In this tale Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser go off for some treasures in the snowy mountains of Fafrd's homeland. One of the original and greatest duos in literary history.
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2016 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
May 26, 2011 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
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
In the same note as the previous volumes. The story has all the package to really entertain.
The story, the writing, the ideeas, the characters and plots are all very well made and thought.

I`ve been reading some reviews and it looks like the next volumes are much weaker than these ones.
But, still, I have hope that it wouldn`t be also true for me .
Kisbali Tamás
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"The time has come for sorcery and swords."

Swords against Wizardry (1968) is the fourth book in Fritz Leiber's sword and sorcery series about the rogue-adventurer duo Fafhrd (tall, fair-skinned northern barbarian) and the Gray Mouser (short, swart scion of southern civilization). It features four stories, each full of all the things that make the series so uniquely delectable: dry irony, witty banter, comical slapstick, graphic horror, kinky hints, suspenseful action, heroic anti-heroism, origi
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great moments in this book. I love how Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser misunderstand each other.
Bret James Stewart
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
Joe Colistro
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a few stories to come around to Fafhrd and his erstwhile companion, but now I come back with relish to each successive book. This one featured a story I'd seen in Mike Mignola's graphic novel collection of tales, but the story was truly enhanced by having the stories that come both before and after, as they end up telling a more-or-less complete little arc.
Peter Carrier
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
“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
Dominic Green
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
James West
Again, as with the third book in this series, we get a few short stories and then a really long story. The short tales were OK, but not my favorites. The long tale, "The Lords of Quarmall", is not bad but still didn't capture me the way the short stories do. I feel like the characters are really at their height when Leiber moves in fast, presents a weird situation, and closes it at the end, even without lots of explanation. The rapport between the characters is what makes their stories so enjoya ...more
Douglas Milewski
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
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 (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 Book 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)
“A good earthy witch is more honest than some city rogue tricked out in black cone-hat and robe of stars,” 4 likes
“At that instant the hag's noisy breathing stopped and with it all other sound. Her eyes opened, showing only whites - milky ovals infinitely eerie in the dark root-tangle of her sharp features and stringy hair. The gray tip of her tongue traveled like a large maggot around her lips.” 2 likes
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