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Lankhmar Volume 1: Swords and Deviltry

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One of the most influential and critically acclaimed fantasy writers of all time, Fritz Leiber pioneered the sword-and-sorcery genre!

In the ancient city of Lankhmar, two men forge a friendship in battle. The red-haired barbarian Fafhrd left the snowy reaches of Nehwon looking for a new life while the Gray Mouser, apprentice magician, fled after finding his master dead. These bawdy brothers-in-arms cement a friendship that leads them through the wilds of Nehwon facing thieves, ...

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Overview

One of the most influential and critically acclaimed fantasy writers of all time, Fritz Leiber pioneered the sword-and-sorcery genre!

In the ancient city of Lankhmar, two men forge a friendship in battle. The red-haired barbarian Fafhrd left the snowy reaches of Nehwon looking for a new life while the Gray Mouser, apprentice magician, fled after finding his master dead. These bawdy brothers-in-arms cement a friendship that leads them through the wilds of Nehwon facing thieves, wizards, princesses and the depths of their desires and fears. Superb writing and brilliant, believable characterizations highlight the first entry in Leiber's seminal series.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
From DH Press comes an unearthed collection of classic sword-and-sorcery stories by science fiction and fantasy pioneer Fritz Leiber (1910-92). The misadventures of the hulking barbarian Fafhrd and master thief the Gray Mouser, in and about the sprawling, corrupt realm of Lankhmar -- which Leiber wrote over an almost 50-year span, from 1939 to 1988 -- are his best-known and most beloved literary creations. Included in Lankhmar: Swords and Deviltry are stories chronicling the beginnings of the dynamic duo. "Induction" introduces readers to the ancient world of Nehwon and depicts the very first encounter between the "two dubious heroes and whimsical scoundrels." The origins of the two misfit comrades are recounted in "The Snow Women" and "The Unholy Grail," and "Ill Met in Lankhmar" -- which won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella -- pits the two against the Thieves' Guild, with destiny-entwining results… The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser sequence -- which will be continued in future installments by DH Press -- are much more than timeless heroic fantasy stories; Leiber's unorthodox and sometimes irreverent writing style helped to revolutionize the genre and laid the groundwork for innumerable bestselling adventure fantasy sagas to come. Before J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, before C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, before Michael Moorcock and George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordan and R. A. Salvatore, there was Fritz Leiber. Any discerning fantasy fan who reads his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories will be able to see their extensive influence in almost every new adventure fantasy published. Long Live Lankhmar! Paul Goat Allen
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  • Posted November 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Leiber is the Grand Master of Fantasy

    Yes, I have read Tolkien (dozens of times, actually.) Yes I have read Howard. And LeGuin. And Zelasny. And Donaldson, Brooks, Pratchett, Jordan, Goodkind, and (most) of all other claimants to the throne.<BR/><BR/>Yet I stand by this statement: Leiber's tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser make him the greatest fantasy writer of all all time.<BR/><BR/>With the exception of The Swords of Lankhmar, all of the F&GM books are collections of short stories about the two greatest swordsmen who ever lived. "The Snow Women" is the origin story of Fafhrd, the hulking northern barbarian with a great curiosity about the "civilized" world. Leiber's language is so evocative you will literally feel cold by the time you are done with this first novella. In it Leiber creates a fully realized character in Fafhrd, far beyond the sterotypical "barbarian" that most fantasy writers would present.<BR/>"The Unholy Grail" is the origin of the Gray Mouser, the small former street urchin who became a thief, duelist, and minor wizard while avenging the murder of his mentor. Like his counterpart, the Mouser is beyond the hardened, streetwise thief-with-a-heart-of-gold that you would find in most fantasy works.<BR/>The award-winning "Ill Met In Lankhmar," which rounds out Swords and Deviltry, tells the tragicomic tale of their meeting. It sets the tone for future stories of the twain- humor, fantastical magic and creatures, and plenty of beautiful women (though they continually take advantage of the pair's juvenile reactions to them, and are portrayed as clearly the superior gender- making it hard to label these stories sexist.) Humor and rousing action rule the day until tragedy strikes, and the twain learn to their horror, that the world is a cruel place.<BR/>Leiber's Lankhmar, while nowhere near as complete a world as Middle-Earth, serves his purpose well- as a lampoon of human societies- their corrupt and incompetent governments, hypocritical and grasping religions, and ridiculous fads of fashion.<BR/>However, it is Leiber's language that places him at the top of my list- his word usage is near perfect, and when the english language cannot provide the right word he simply makes one up. <BR/>Many of Leiber's F&GM stories saw print before LOTR was even published, and also has had an impact on future writers and fantasy gaming. Terry Pratchett, in particular, would seem to be informed by Leiber, I cannot imagine that he would not say that Fritz was a major influence.

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