The Hammer and the Blade

( 22 )

Overview

Egil and Nix, adventurers and swords for hire, are pulled into the dark schemes of a decadent family with a diabolical secret. A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales.

File Under: Fantasy [ Swords | Hammers | Deadly Secrets | Time To Die ]

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Overview

Egil and Nix, adventurers and swords for hire, are pulled into the dark schemes of a decadent family with a diabolical secret. A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales.

File Under: Fantasy [ Swords | Hammers | Deadly Secrets | Time To Die ]

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After raiding the tomb of the Afirion ruler Abn Sur, adventurer Nix Fall and priest Egil decide to retire and settle down as owners of a tavern. Unfortunately, their plans do not take into consideration the wizard Rakon, who magically compels them to rob another Afirion grave and secure an ancient horn that Rakon ostensibly plans to use to cure his two ailing sisters. When one of those sisters manages to get inside Nix’s head, Rakon’s plans are revealed as less than altruistic, and Nix and Egil face a dilemma made more complex by the spell that binds them. The structure of the story has the feeling of a classic Dungeons & Dragons campaign as the heroes and supporting cast cross a wasted plateau in search of the tomb; however, the strong characters, setting, and history turn what could be a cookie-cutter adventure into a gripping tale. (July)
From the Publisher
"The structure of the story has the feeling of a classic Dungeons & Dragons campaign as the heroes and supporting cast cross a wasted plateau in search of the tomb; however, the strong characters, setting, and history turn what could be a cookie-cutter adventure into a gripping tale." - Publisher's Weekly

"Enough page-turning mayhem to sate the most avid sword & sorcery fans" – Elaine Cunningham, author of The Thorn Trilogy 

"This rollicking tale hooked me from the get-go. Told with zest and humor, this is everything that is good and golden about classic old-school fantasy yarns. It joins my precious bedside shelf of favorite re-reads, 'comfort food' books I turn to again and again. Egil and Nix might not be the safest guys to go adventuring with, but they're sure good company. I'll be waiting for a sequel. Impatiently." – Ed Greenwood, bestselling creator of Forgotten Realms

"The Hammer and the Blade is an instant classic, with its punchy sense of humor, likeable heroes, and fast-paced, creative fight sequences. Killing a demon is just the prologue and after that the real adventure begins." - City Book Review

Library Journal
Egil, priest of the Momentary God, and his companion Nix, a man of many shady talents, let loose a demon while they're on their way to the tomb of a wizard-king in order to acquire an idol. They slay the demon, then discover that a powerful family devoted to the demon's house seeks vengeance. Kemp ("The Twilight War" series) delivers sword and sorcery at its rollicking best, after the fashion of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780857662453
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/26/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 364,519
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul S. Kemp is a lawyer.  That is bad.  He is also the bestselling author of the Erevis Cale sword and sorcery stories and several Star Wars novels.  That is good.  It's a little known fact that Paul has maimed eight men and three llamas using only an unsharpened pencil and a stick of Wrigley's gum.  Now you know, too.  He does not hum show tunes.  Paul lives in Michigan with his wife and twin sons. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2012

    This is easily the best book I've read in years. Why? Because It

    This is easily the best book I've read in years. Why? Because It's the most FUN i've had reading a book since Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series. I'll give you a good breakdown of the many reasons I love this book.

    CHARACTERS: Egil & Nix are phenomenal as characters because they are at their core, very relatable. The series protagonists are thrill seekers and adventurers in the sunset of their prime and feeling their age, and the characters reflect this in self-awareness that is staggeringly fantastic to read. They have a confidence in their abilities and experience that is communicated easily to the reader, yet have very real-world problems and weaknesses. Adding to the cast are multiple supporting characters that, at first glance, are a full range of personality types that range from villain to hero. What was incredibly rewarding to read was to watch even these secondary characters have life breathed into them and observe as they cast off traditional personality types you believe they possess and display more character and depth then other authors invest into their main characters. Truly wonderful.

    DIALOGUE: By far my favorite point of "The Hammer and the Blade" was the dialogue. Egil and Nix have a witty banter between each other and other characters that is reminiscent of that between Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in, "Pulp Fiction". Extremely refreshing conversation keeps readers engaged page by page. Like real-world characters, they don't shy away from discussions or topics that other authors characters do, and Paul S. Kemp avoids the boring and stereotypical trap of having characters so focused on what's at hand; instead, the conversations that would naturally happen between fellow travelers is put on display for all to see, even when it doesn't directly advance the main plot of the story; this is not a weakness, this is a very palatable strength and the story and characters blossom as a result. Every bit of spoken word in this book flows naturally like a river from the first page to the last.

    PACING: The pacing is nigh perfect; it slows when necessary for character exposition, and speeds up during climatic moments. It is also achingly slow during moments of terror, making you wish Paul would speed up the pace, only because the scenes depicted are horrifying, yet knowing full well if he had not used his pacing the way he did, you wouldn't fully grasp the severe magnitude of situations characters find themselves within. A word on combat pacing: Paul has obviously picked up a few things about combat from his prior works in the Forgotten Realms and Star Wars universes. Every time a character draws a weapon, the story seems to become this bright and vivid setting, with specific detail added to virtually every swing of a blade or blow of a hammer, all without forcing the reader into a space where they feel bored within a few paragraphs; indeed the combat is usually fierce and seems to end naturally without ever feeling like it's being drawn out for the sake of adding more blood to the pages. R.A. Salvatore should beware; any fight scene within the Hammer and the Blade equals or exceeds anything Drizzt Do'Urden has taken part in.

    I strongly recommend this book for all sorts of readers. The only downfall of this book is that, like all books, it ends, and now that I've finished it I find myself wanting more. Well done, Mr. Kemp.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    Sword, Sorcery, and Entertainment at its Best!

    The Hammer and the Blade is Paul S. Kemp’s first foray into original fiction beyond short stories. Unlike his Forgotten Realms books and Star Wars novels, this story takes place in a world wholly created by Kemp. The question is: are you prepared to venture into the unrestricted imagination of Paul S. Kemp?

    When reading this story, I was surprised at how easy it was to slip into this unknown world. One of the hardest things to do in fantasy is to familiarize readers with brand new settings. Jumping into massive franchises like Star Wars, or even small series like the Lord of the Rings trilogy can quickly drown readers in tons of lore and world building. Yet Paul manages to avoid all those downfalls with ease. The casual mentions of various names, be they cities or people, fits in smoothly to the dialog and narration. The names of various gods come up and pass bye without being jarring or confusing. At other times the names are slipped in with familiar context that gives readers a hint of what this thing or place might be. Either way, the setting flows naturally through the story without ever bogging down on world building or overwhelming the reader with a massive cast of characters.

    At the heart of this story is the nature of people, and Egil and Nix are a wonderful focus to bring that story to life. This is a duo that will have you laughing right off the bat. The dialog between the two is extremely witty and entertaining. So what kind of trouble can two tomb robbers get into? Well demented wizards, mind witches, and fiendish demons for starters. This adventuring duo find themselves in brothel brawls, fighting off hordes of demon spawn, and dabbling with a little bit of Indiana Jones treasure hunting.

    If you like sword and sorcery books, The Hammer and the Blade presents an entertaining duo that blows Gotrek and Felix out of the water. If you like Paul S. Kemp’s books in general, this is a must read. It’s witty, fun, entertaining, and explores some interesting themes about the portrayal of women in sword and sorcery tales.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    They have dulled each other

    I'm on page 15. Don't know how I made it this far. Horrid, does it get better, don' t know if I'll find out. Think I'll look for something else. One star - a couple.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    A great sword and sorcery novel!! Plenty of action and a good s

    A great sword and sorcery novel!! Plenty of action and a good story. A must read for any reader!!! Long live Egil & Nix!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    I have only written one review, and that was to criticize a book

    I have only written one review, and that was to criticize a book because it was THAT bad. I am writing this review because "The Hammer and the Blade" is THAT GOOD.

    I could reiterate everything that 'theredwriter' and 'Skuldren' and others have said in their reviews, but that would be redundant. Instead, I say to believe everything they say about it. This book is fun! Paul S. Kemp has a great skill for writing witty banter (which is more difficult than you'd think!) and action scenes (which can also be more difficult than you'd think). This is a brilliant book and you should treat yourself. You won't be disappointed

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    good story

    I enjoyed this more than I thought. it was a quick paced book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    A really fun read.

    The banter between the two main characters alone made this a great book. I'm hoping this isn't a one shot, as I'd love to read another adventure with them.

    The plot is good, although you could kind of see the ending coming. Not really an issue though, since it was still fun to read the details.

    It's more of a gritty fantasy book, but the humor in it keeps it from getting dark.

    Overall I'd really recommend this one.

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  • Posted March 8, 2014

    It was a good read, but it didn't strike me as great.

    It wasn't as enticing to me as some that I've read, but I have seen a whole lot worse. Some might find it more enjoyable, perhaps I'm getting a little jaded and overly picky. Still, if you're stuck in an airport, this might get you through a few hours of tedium.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I found this book in cd one day while looking at the library for

    I found this book in cd one day while looking at the library for something to listen to. I could not have made a more wonderful choice. I went back and bought a hard copy of the book for myself as well as buying a copy for each member of my gaming group. This was a total gem to uncover. I have found some other fantasy books that were close in the enjoyment. but in other areas. This is a series I recommend to each and every rpger I come in contact with. While it is an easy read I would not call this a lower level reading book. The story grabbed me from the start and did not let me go until the end, and even then was not a disappointment other then it ended. Beautiful, engaging, enjoyable, and creative, unique story line and characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2012

    The action starts immediately and keep going.

    The action starts immediately and keep going.

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    Great Story! A Must Read For Any Sword And Sorcery Lover!

    This is another example of great story telling by author Paul Kemp. He really brings you into the characters lives and leaves you on the edge of your seat with their adventures. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great fantasy story. I look forward to the further adventures of the hero's Nix and Egil.

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  • Posted July 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE is a fun read. Paul S. Kemp strengths

    THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE is a fun read. Paul S. Kemp strengths come out in this novel. His ability to write interesting characters that you can applaud or love to hate are in evidence with this book. The book has a great deal of promise as the first in a new series.

    Why not four or five stars as a rating? THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE lacks background information. Paul S. Kemp has written mostly in the STAR WARS or FORGOTTEN REALMS universe. Both universes are well established in their histories, social customs, conflicts and overall workings of their universe. The reader has none of that for HAMMER AND THE BLADE. The book could use another fifty pages of explaining the world the characters live in.

    I hope the author will continue expanding THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE universe.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Kemp Raises the Bar With Egil and Nix

    I have been a long time fan of Paul's work since his first book from Wizards of the Coast and 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 the Momentary god, robbing a tomb. The duo hope this will be their last adventure and plan to buy their favorite tavern and put their adventuring days behind them. The guardian of the tomb they kill is part of a pact between House Thyss and House Norristru and set in motion a chain of events that are the basis for the central plot of the book. Upon the arrival at their newly acquired tavern they are "convinced" to recover an artifact for Rakon, the head of House Norristru.

    Egil and Nix are the perfect compliment to each other, Egil is slower to act, more introspective, but when he does speak it is usually profound. Nix, on the other hand has a tongue as sharp as his sword and quick to act, yet has secrets he keeps from his closest friend. Their witty and sarcastic banter give the reader a clue to how deep their friendship runs and makes you wonder about the adventures these two have experienced together.

    The time period in which the book takes place marks a perfect place for the series. The stories that follow could be their previous adventures or a follow-up to this one. I personally would like to see the former, as I would love to know how Egil and Nix met. Paul drops a few hints about their past that wets the appetite for more.

    Paul paints the characters, especially Egil and Nix, not in black in white but shades of gray. They are flawed and have done many things they regret and their reflections on these events, especially Nix, give greater depth to their characters. His villains are not the standard one-dimensional bad guys, but complex and compelling characters. Their motivations are understandable and even pitiable. I found myself drawn in by Rakon's plight at the beginning of the book and then shocked by the lengths he would take to realize his goal.

    I was highly entertained by this book and look forward to reading more. The next book in the series, A Discourse in Steel, will be available in 2013. While you are waiting for the June 26 release date you can check out Paul's previous works.

    I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

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    Posted February 28, 2014

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    Posted June 26, 2014

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    Posted February 14, 2014

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    Posted March 14, 2014

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    Posted May 3, 2014

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    Posted September 26, 2012

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    Posted August 1, 2013

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