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The Swords of Lankhmar

(Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #5)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,830 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Fafhrd was a huge, full-bearded barbarian from the Northlands. His weapon—a broadsword. The Gray Mouser was a small, nimble man dressed all in gray. He carried both a rapier and a dirk.

In Lankhmar they were considered brawlers, cutpurses, rogues...and the best fighting-men in all of Nehwon. For which reason Overlord Glipkerio Kristomerces hired them to guard an important s
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Paperback, 310 pages
Published August 15th 1983 by Ace (first published 1968)
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,830 ratings  ·  84 reviews


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Bill  Kerwin
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

This is a superb fantasy novel, featuring sword fights, magic potions, ancient gods awake and wrathful, super-intelligent rats, a time-traveller riding a sea serpent, a whistle for summoning mystic war cats, transparent but still attractive lady ghouls whose bones gleam provocatively in the moonlight, lovely femme fatales and (of course) deluded males, nudity, copious drinking, overt sadism involving whips and chains, and just a hint of masochism for good measure.

In other words: a thoroughly en
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Werner
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Swords-and-sorcery fans
Recommended to Werner by: It was a common read in one of my groups
Shelves: fantasy
Note, Sept. 3, 2013: I corrected a minor typo here just now.

In creating the barbarian soldier of fortune Fafhrd and his partner, the short-statured swordsman known only by his nickname the Gray Mouser, and the fantasy world of Nehwon that they inhabit, Leiber was influenced by his sword-and-sorcery sub-genre predecessors, notably Robert E. Howard and E. R. Eddison. But he also wanted (according to his preface for this novel) to create "fantasy heroes closer to true human stature" than the likes
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Jean-marcel
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man, I can't stress enough that I had more fun reading this than I have with anything in a long time, except maybe for some of the other Lankhmar stuff, like the classic "Lean Times in Lankhmar", which everyone with a taste for satire and mockery of religion should definitely read. This is the one and only Lankhmar novel (the rest are of course all short stories) and starts with the two rogues already in some serious trouble as they return to the grimy and beloved city of Lankhmar to find all ...more
J.G. Keely
When I first started reading Leiber, my expectations were pretty low. He is often praised along with the other 'giants', but the fantasy genre is awash with unwarranted praise: the barely-differentiated is lauded as revolutionary, and many of its 'giants' are giant only in disappointment. But Leiber surprised me. Throughout the Lankhmar series, he has shown a lively, stylized voice, an eye for character and suspense, and an evocative sense of wonder.

Unfortunately, he begins to fall off his pace
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

Reaching the fifth installment of the ongoing saga of Fafhrd and Grey Mouser, I thought for a while that I'm approaching saturation point, or that the author is better suited to the short form rather than this attempt at a full blown novel featuring his pair of lovable scoundrels. It took a German speaking traveller between parallel universes, riding a double headed sea serpent and searching for his misplaced spaceship to get me in the right mood for tackling Swords of Lankhmar . I believe th
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Jim
I recently re-read for the Pulp Fiction group. Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser are certainly 2 of the most entertaining of all sword & sorcery heroes. Their faults are legion, but their hearts are usually in the right place, unless of course there's money or sex to be had. Then they make horrendous mistakes, scramble frantically to extricate themselves from their current mess & swagger off, chalking it all up to experience. Of course, they promptly get into another mess shortly after that, ...more
Wanda
"A plague of rats overrun Lankhmar, the capitol city and glittering gem of the land of Nehwon. Commissioned to guard a ship of grain from the cursed rodents, brother-in-arms Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser soon discover the plague has progressed to a fatal point. Mustering the strength of sorcery, they descend into the depths of Lankhmar and rise to battle in order to save the soul of the ill-fated city."


This is certainly not the strongest of Fritz Lieber’s series about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, bu
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Kat  Hooper
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I never get tired of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser — I adore those two rogues! In The Swords of Lankhmar (a full novel rather than the usual story collection), the boys have been hired as guards for a fleet of grain shipments because several ships have recently disappeared. Aboard the ship they meet a couple of enchanting women who are escorting a troupe of performing rats across the sea. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser soon discover that these are not ordinary wo
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Derek
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first volume where the reader gets to truly savor the outré, decadent delights of Lankhmar, a city that is wealthy and metropolitan more or less in spite of itself, and this alone is worth the price of admission for the novel.

This type of setting has been done more extensively elsewhere (see New Crobuzon), but I'm curious: was this the first? What came before Lankhmar?
Francesco Manno
http://panopticonitalia.blogspot.it/2...

Swords of Lankhmar is the fifth book, and the only novel in the saga of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (second in Italy, because the first four are contained in The World Nehwon), written by Fritz Leiber and published in 1976 by the North.
In this adventure the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are hired by Glipkerio Kistomerces, lord of Lankhmar, to escort a fleet of ships laden with grain that will be offered to Movarl of Eight City, as compensation for hold off Min
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Beau
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lesser tale, run too long

We're already at the point of diminishing returns in the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories. What would be a decent novella is stretched into a mediocre novel, slowed by palace intrigues that aren't and mysterious side characters that aren't worth pondering. Still, it's pleasant enough and the world building, including the invisible-fleshed Ghouls and the rat kingdom of Lankhmar Below make for a worthwhile read.
Clint
I never came around to enjoy this one. It started strong with witty banter between Fafhrd and Mouser and there was a tantalizing promise of a gonzo story of a time traveler riding a purple dragon, then the first third of the novel ended and Leiber wrote a nonsense tale of rats that involved Mouser in a Alice in Wonderland kind of tale.

I would only give two stars, but it had its moments of high notes, but only a few and too scarce; for instance, Fafhrd falling for a ghoul was fun.

I see two prob
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Zach Naylor
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply a fantastic adventure. An inventive, galloping swirl of fantasy fiction with great characters and an entertaining (if basic) plot. This could make for a decent introduction to Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in general--for those who prefer long-form stories--but more on that below:

Fritz Leiber is a great wordsmith. His voice has an incredible grasp on efficient detail, which sings and dances with his originality and wonderful irreverence. I frequently found myself laughing at even the tamest
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Julian Meynell
I recently read Swords and Deviltry, the first in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and because of its role as an origin story of a pair of existing characters felt that I could not really evaluate it properly and that there was potential there. It is very rare for me to read a book in a series shortly after reading a previous one, but I did because I thought that I should give Leiber another shot and I am glad that I did. This is a better book and a better introduction to the characters.

App
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Ray Otus
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the eleventh tale of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, written by Fritz Lieber. It first appeared as Scylla's Daughter in 1961 in Fantastic. It was later revised/expanded in 1970 as The Swords of Lankhmar, volume 5 (all of it) of the collected stories.

This is a craaaaazy story! Not always in a good way, but definitely always in a colorful way. It's not really a spoiler to tell you it's about a bunch of rats trying to take over Lankhmar, because that is so heavily foreshadowed you'd have to be
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Melanti
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, 2014
Meh.

The Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books are a fun way to waste some time if I'm in a particular mood.

They're pretty formulaic. In each one, our two heroes go on an adventure, get into trouble due to lust, greed, or often both, then spend the rest of the story trying to frantically work their way out of trouble again.

But whereas the other books are anthologies of slightly connected but mostly separate short stories, this particular one is a full length novel. And where the short stories are a
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Jeff
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
Possibly the best fantasy novel of all time. I grabbed it randomly off a bookshelf one night, maybe a month ago, before going to bed, and re-read it for the 3rd or 4th time in my life. It's a quick and amazing read. Swords, sorcery, rats... humorous and even kinda sexy... the only flaw in this book is the dumb part about the interdimensional traveler -- I think this was filler material recycled from another story. Anyhow this is the only full-length Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser novel, and it is no ...more
Ken
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Really 3.5 stars. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in their first full-length novel take on a horde of civilized rats bent on taking over Lankhmar. I did enjoy it quite a bit, but the heroes were really missing the obvious in the beginning and the middle had slow parts, and the end with the whistle was just a little bit too lucky. I really liked the juxtopositions of how sometimes being small has its fighting advantages, and sometimes being large does.
James  Proctor
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
High adventure as I enjoy it best, ribald and antic and inventive. Fritz Leiber is so masterful at these tales (his copious catalog of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser is rightfully legendary), he pulls them off with deceptively elegant ease. A few snippets for your delectation:

The Mouser studied Fafhrd, wondering if it were politic to make a certain proposal he had in mind. He was not quite certain of Fafhrd's feelings toward Hisvet. He knew the Northerner was a goatish man enough and had yesterday s
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Donna
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe this is the best book I've read so far of the adventures of The Gray Mouser and Fafhrd. My only negative observation is that the author will switch scenes with no preamble so you're reading about what one character is up to and the next paragraph takes you to an entirely different scenario. It's only a bit disconcerting but I don't think it is evidence of good writing.

Lots of magic and strange happenings. The book ends with our heroes riding off into the sunset with their new lovers.
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Al Sirois
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm partial to Leiber's work, and this, the only novel-length "Fafhrd and Grey Muser" tale, doesn't disappoint. Rats are taking over the pair's home base, the city of Lankhmar in the land of Nehwon, and not just any rats: these are intelligent and organized and very dangerous. There is plenty of sword play, and sorcery to boot, along with some of Leiber's most inventive plotting. Originally commissioned to guard a ship full of grain, the big barbarian and the small man with the quick blade soon ...more
David
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am continuing my read of Fritz Leiber Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories in the order they were first published. I really enjoyed the Swords of Lankhmar to include the Easter eggs place within the story. If I had not read the a number of his early writings I would not have picked up on them. I highly recommend this novel and I'm looking forward to reading "The Snow Women" in the near future.
Capitalismissexy
I like the idea of fritz but his fascination with having 2 great heroes both compete for 1 girl or even have 1 girlfriend each in other books is silly. Heroes in fantasy lands would have sex with dozens of hot women. This bizarre monogamy which is not natural is silly. Don't marry, have sex with dozens hot women, don't have kids, and live alone.
Isaac Clarke
ფრიად უინტერესო და გაწელილი გამოდგა ეს ვირთხების თავდასხმის ამბები. იუმორმა ამოწია თორე ყველაზე ბანძი წიგნი გამოდგებოდა მთელს სერიაში. სხვებს მაინც არ ჯობია მაგრამ როგორც მინიმუმ ცუდი არაა მაგის გამო.
Christian Ovsenik
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: appendix-n
I think this might have worked better as a novella.
thecryptile
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
a novel length adventure based on leiber's short story scylla's daughter
Andrew Malczewski
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great Sword and sorcery, the more you learn about Fafard and the gray Mousure the more i like them, they grow as characters but dont as well.
Peter Caldwell
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun fantasy from Fritz Leiber for the Golden Years. Possibly not his very best work but still very entertaining.
Eric Hunter
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
_The Swords of Lankhmar_ reads like an actual novel, rather than as a collection of connected short stories, the way the earlier books in the series do. I enjoyed it a great deal.
Brian
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw that The Swords of Lankhmar was a novel instead of a collection of short stories like the other Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books, I was a bit apprehensive. I was worried that it wouldn't translate well into the longer form and, well, I was kind of right. The beginning part of the book doesn't seem to have much to do with the rest other than to introduce some characters and to separate the duo, the middle drags on...but the ending is a rolicking good time up there with the best that Le ...more
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678 followers
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)
  • 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