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Swords and Ice Magic

(Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #6)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,602 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Here are the newest and greatest adventures of the two most exciting and imaginative fantasy heroes ever created—Fathrd and the Gray Mouser. Spring-ing from the inventive mind of Fritz Leiber. the five previous books in this series have brought the author awards—incuding a Nebula—and praise from all over the world.

IN SWORDS AND ICE MAGIC, our two indomitable heroes pursue
Paperback, 243 pages
Published 1977
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Bill Kerwin
Oct 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

This penultimate volume in the series is as interesting but perhaps not as successful as the others.

The novella "Rime Isle"--the longest piece in the book--has a disappointing conclusion--particularly unsatisfying given the vivid, promising beginning. There are, however, many things to like about it too, particularly for the older reader, since the sketchy plots of these individual fictions are also retrospective meditations on the importance of the love of women in a man's life, and how a
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: NPR list of classic science fiction & fantasy
The sixth book in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and the premise is getting a bit shop-worn. What does it say about me that I am still daffy about Fafhrd after all these books? Love that guy.

The first story in the volume gives some lovely descriptions of Death and how and why he chooses the people that he does. I think it was the best story in the volume for my tastes, although I also did enjoy the small excursion of Odin and Loki into the world of Nehwon. I was, however, distressed by
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013

"Ahoy, small man! Mouser, well met in wildering waters! And now -- on guard!"

Yarely! I tell you, the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser continue, this time with a theme of sea and cold climates, wizards and foreign gods, old flames and old enemies. The duo of lovable scoundrels ('twain' is how Leiber describes them) remains firmly embedded in my sword & sorcery hall of fame, but I must admit, the sixth volume is my least favorite in the collection. Like a populat TV show that start
J.G. Keely
Leiber has shown himself capable of vibrant, clever, moody books, but he has lost his touch with age, as regrettably happens to many authors. Every creative mind has its peak, and Leiber has passed his. Though published as separate stories, the chapters of this book form one long, uninterrupted plot, lacking the variance in mood and style which marked his earlier collections.

His attempt to continue a single arc while publishing the chapters as stories is awkward, as Leiber constantly reminds us
Kat  Hooper
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

“I am tired, Gray Mouser, with these little brushes with death.”
“Want a big one?”

Swords and Ice Magic is the sixth collection of Fritz Leiber’s stories about Fafhrd the big northern Barbarian and his small thieving companion the Gray Mouser. The stories in the LANKHMAR series have generally been presented in chronological order, so we’re nearing the end of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser’s adventures in Nehwon and its
Mixed feels is the best I can say of this. Overall, an average read that never shines, but falters only slightly. The F&GM stories range from “rollicking and awesome” (volumes 2 and 4) to “muddled and murky” (volumes 3 and 5); this one lands in the middle of the two poles alongside volume 1.

I like that we are following these two adventurers from excited beginnings to retirement. I’m anxious to see how lackadaisical that retirement ends only to be finished with the reading of. I hope for a
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Swords, Death, Girls, and Ice Magic

Swords and Ice Magic (1977), the sixth book in Fritz Leiber's atypical sword and sorcery series about the complementary anti-heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, is comprised of eight stories. The first six are short and variously depict the attempts of Death to deal with the heroes and/or of the heroes to deal with exotic sexy "girls." The last two tales are a linked novelette and novella that occupy twice as much space in the book as the first six. This is
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic stuff. I doubt Leiber could get away with the over-the-top language these days, but the way the man strung alliterative adjectives together was uniquely delightful (in other words, I'll only take it from Fritz). And, let's face it, I've been in love with the Gray Mouser since I was 12. So I might be biased.

Book 7 is on the shelf, awaiting my attention, as soon as I catch up on a couple of other things.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
What a disappointment! The series had only shifted between good and great to this point, but this ... The first 70 pages isn't even worth reading. The main story of the volume consisting of the Frost Monstreme and Rime Isle is at least entertaining, but our heroes don't even really do much. All the big fights are aborted. To anyone else reading the series - stop at 5.
Keith Davis
Leiber was in his late sixties when he wrote these stories and not surprisingly he had his heroes considering retiring from adventuring. It is to Leiber's credit that he let his characters age from young men to older men during the series rather than leaving them frozen in everlasting youth.
Pedro Pascoe
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, fantasy
Re-reading the Swords series after decades has proved a solid decision.

The 6 stories in this collection range from very very short, to half the book. The stories are by and large sequential, and add to the mythos of the world of Nehwon as a whole. Lieber had lost none of his trade-mark sense of dark humour with these stories, but some of the very short stories, as in prior collections in the series, are bridging stories in between the more important episodes of the lives of Fafhrd and the Grey
I'll say it straight off--Swords and Ice Magic is not that great.

Oh sure, there are some good parts. "The Frost Monstreme" is a good story in the old Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser model, where they're approached in a tavern and given a task for hope of gold and glory. While on that task, they run into an inexplicable weirdness that threatens them, and they have to overcome it. It's not too long, it has evocative imagery, and after the earlier stories in this book it was like a cup of water after
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the stories were fairly entertaining except one. I think it was Trapped In The Sea Of Stars. It went on and on without any point and if I wasn't so anal about finishing what I've started, I would have skipped reading all of it. I always hope things will improve/get interesting so I plug away.

Our heroes are aging and don't seem to either carry/use the swords that made these sword and sorcery stories. If I recall correctly, there is no swashbuckling at all. For me personally, there is too
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
By the time Swords and Ice Magic hit the shelves in the late 70s the central conceit of the series was already showing its age. An alternative title might be ‘The Jolly Adventures of Two Murdering Rapists’. Of course, Leiber doesn’t describe them as such, but reading between the lines that’s how it comes across. Still, it follows the genre formula fairly well (a formula that Leiber himself more or less established) and is an adequate adventure volume. Though the opening vignettes don’t feel like ...more
Faith Perry
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far the first story is the best of any of Leiber's tales that I've read since Book 1.
Swords and Ice Magic is the sixth and penultimate volume and differs from the previous ones in having been first published after a seven year hiatus and collecting stories written in the seventies. It is generally considered to mark a decline in quality for the series, and indeed the volume is not off to a good start.

It begins with a series of vignettes, similar to those Leiber used in earlier volumes to embed his stories into some kind of coherent continuity by connecting previously published
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like these books. I first heard about them while I was in high school in the ‘80s, but I was never able to find them in bookstores and I had forgotten about them for a long time. Goodreads & Amazon fixed that for me.

I’m writing only one review for all of the books because my overall impression of them remains the same through most of the stories. The books remain oddly stagnant in some respects, and they vary wildly in others. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are almost
Lee Broderick
This could be the best Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser book so far. Some of the stories in the first 40% or so of the book see Fritz Leiber experiment with form and structure when compared with his earlier tales - one in particular is perhaps more akin to some of his horror writing than his swords and sorcery yarns, with the heroes toyed with by malicious gods keen to make them suffer psychologically. In this, they have nothing to fight and can merely try to stay sane.

For the most part, the stories
Peter Carrier
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The beginning of the end?

While an entertaining story, "Swords and Ice Magic" is thus far the weakest entry in the Fafhrd/Gray Mouser series. The prose lacks that familiar flair and snap; the dialogue contains more informative recitation than lively banter; even the events of the story are somewhat lackluster. This is particularly discouraging in light of how imaginative and pithy the first chapter/short story is.

Allow a quote referring to Death, from the first few pages; "[H]e must personally
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of tales that are told in the Conan the Barbarian style of Sword & Sorcery and are short tales and not 1,000 page epics that are the norm today. The stories are all about the tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Leiber’s most popular creation. The first part of the collection is a collection of short stories that are enjoyable but sometimes sadly too short. My favorite of these was ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ were Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are trying to find some women to ...more
Douglas Milewski
Swords and Ice Magic (1977) marks the sixth collection of Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories. I found this book to contain two halves: the confusing first half, and the Rime Island set of stories, which beyond my own belief, I found engaging and sincere.

I do not overstate just how storyless some of these stories were, and how inane. I found them so utterly lacking that I expected to give this collection two stars, with prejudice.

Then there was the second half, the stories about Rime Island, the
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute must read book for Lieber fans, fantasy fans and swords/sorcery fans. The first story, "The Sadness of the Executioner", is a masterpiece, and one of the "high points" of the entire series of books. The Death of Nehwon, the world of Fafhrd and the Mouser, finally has had it with the two of them and yet the pair manages to survive. Notwithstanding, the two heros are back in the land of death later in the book, and the clear implication in Leiber's writings in this volume (all from the ...more
Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
Leiber is a master of fantasy, and this collection is yet another example of that. A few quick vignettes throw us into a rapid succession of brushes with Death, yes, with a capital 'D', then we have a lengthy novella that finds our heroes leading men against a foe in the service of a reclusive island nation. This equivalent of Atlantis, has more than mere sea raiders to worry about. Fafhrd and his friend, the Gray Mouser are finally growing up. No longer mere rogues, but mercenaries and leaders ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this series of books for nostalgia, mostly, since I devoured them when I was in high school. I remember becoming disenchanted with the series as I progressed through them and I couldn't remember why.

Now I remember. This series falls into the trap which many fantasy/sci-fi books do: escalation. By that I mean a need to have the protagonist(s) face greater and greater challenges. So, a series that starts off with a couple of fun-loving carousing rogues gets to the point where they are
This collection from Leiber is a bit mixed. The early stories do harken back to some of the author's high points, deftly balancing action, character, and humor. The later stories, unfortunately, fall into the same trap that most of Leiber's fiction falls into. When he writes shorter fiction, it is typically better and full of quick, explosive energy. His longer work, however, tends to get bogged down and this is sadly no exception, with the final story, which runs at over 100 pages, being a bit ...more
The arching theme involves a maturing of the heroes, first with the revelation, in "Under the Thumbs of Gods", that the women they lightly treat and discard may either harbor ill will, or worse may have discarded the heroes just as lightly. Later, the task set to them in "Rime Isle" requires them to actually undertake responsibility and leadership and build lasting relationships, finally bringing them to a point where they act with concern toward their own futures.

It's a development that is a
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't care all that much for this one. the writing style was unusual for this series through most of the early.. chapters? stories? It's not clear whether this was intended as a cohesive novel or a series of vaguely-related short stories. In any event, there's very little ice magic in it. There is, however, a lot of F & the GM pitting their wits against Death, so you would think the previously-used title of "Swords Against Death" might be more appropriate for this book.

In any event, this
Another short book in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series. Leiber's writing is as always superb. I continue getting amazed by the way he describes scenery or action, feelings and thoughts, characters and just about anything. The plot in this one felt a bit weaker than in the first books. Maybe I'm getting used to some motifs reappearig more often in every book or maybe it's just that I generally dislike sea-stuff and ships and sailing which feature rather prominently in this book.
I'd say 3 to
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
6th book in the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser fantasy adventure series detailing their continuing adventure to help an isolated island people to defend themselves through a series of short stories ending with a longer one dealing with efforts by a god to conqueror the world. They were known throughout the city of Lankhmar as brawlers, cutpurses, and rogues, But they are heroes whose actions save the city. This is in the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s fantasy adventure series and is a fun read.
John Behnken
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kym
Shelves: fantasy
Kym would love this.
It's not only a great novel with one of the most famous pair of swordsmen in the realm of fantasy (Fafhrd an the Gray Mouser), and not only are they likely two of the greatest swordsmen that ever existed in any fantasy realm (okay, maybe a stretch - but the author certainly believed it) but they climb a really big, snowy mountain! And Mr. Lieber really pulled it off with style. May he rest in peace.
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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 ...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)
  • Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #4)
  • The Swords of Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #5)
  • The Knight and Knave of Swords (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser #7)