In Swords Against Death, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser journey from the ancient city of Lankhmar, searching for a little adventure and debauchery to ease their broken hearts. When a stranger challenges them to find and fight Death on the Bleak Shore, they battle demonic birds, living mountains, and evil monks on the way to their heroic fate.
The late Fritz Leiber's tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser launched the sword-and-sorcery genre, and were the inspiration for the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by Neil Gaiman.
Epic edge: download more tales of Lankhmar.
©1995 The Estate of Fritz Leiber; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"The two of them are the finest and most wonderful team in the history of sword and sorcery." (Neil Gaiman)
"Fritz Leiber's tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are virtually a genre unto themselves. Urbane, idiosyncratic, comic, erotic and human, spiked with believable action and the eerie creations of a master fantasist!" (William Gibson)
Kat at FanLit
Swords Against Death is the second collection of stories about Fafhrd, the big northern barbarian, and The Gray Mouser, the small thief from the slums. For the past three years, the two have grown so close that they are now (as Neil Gaiman suggests in his introduction to the audio version) like two halves of the same person. They???ve been traveling the world together in an effort to forget their lost loves.
During their travels ???they acquired new scars and skills, comprehensions and compassions, cynicisms and secrecies ??? a laughter that lightly mocked, and a cool poise that tightly crusted all inner miseries,??? but they haven???t been able to assuage their guilt or lessen their feelings of loss outside of Lankhmar, the city which they swore never to return to.
But as Sheelba of the Eyeless Face prophesied (???Never and forever are neither for men. You???ll be returning again and again.???), Fafhrd and the Mouser are persuaded to return to Lankhmar where, it turns out, they have not been forgotten, and soon the duo is back to their old tricks and dealing with their former enemies in these stories: ???The Circle Curse,??? ???The Jewels in the Forest,??? ???Thieves??? House,??? ???The Bleak Shore,??? ???The Howling Tower,??? ???The Sunken Land,??? ???The Seven Black Priests,??? ???Claws from the Night,??? ???The Price of Pain-Ease,??? and ???Bazaar of the Bizarre.???
Some of the stories are better than others (my favorite was ???Bazaar of the Bizarre???) but all are ???classical rogue??? (Neil Gaiman???s term) and all are worth reading simply because they???re written in Fritz Leiber???s gorgeous prose, which is thick with alliteration, insight, and irony.
Jonathan Davis who does a terrific job with this series. His voices for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are perfect ??? Fafhrd sounds pensive, intellectual, and introverted while Gray Mouser sounds a bit greasy and common. I highly recommend this format; it adds an extra dimension to these fun stories.
Listening to this was like getting to know old freinds again. The voice acting and narraration is superior and done right. Really brings the characters to life. I will buy more in the series.
Simply a great fantasy series with wonderful characters and some imaginative plots. A refreshing classic and not a knock-off of Lord of the Rings. Nice to see this finally become an audiobook. The writing and narration is top-shelf. If you like stories about rouges and theives with some humor thrown in then this is for you. My best fantasy recommendation.
I still can't seem to connect with these two characters. It's possible that it's something to do with the narrator, though I thought he did a great job on Snow Crash...and he certainly doens't lack experience... Maybe it's just a hard book to read aloud. I dunno...but from chapter to chapter...it doesn't seem like these characters are developing. I don't like or dislike them...I just feel like I don't know them...and almost like they're different characters every time a new chapter starts.
Also still find the stories to be...missing some depth...and some are boring (yes, I know some are just to lead to others), and strange to say about fantasy...but some things are not terribly believable.
But as I said in my review of book 1, I'm just coming off of Jordan's Wheel of Time and Martin's Song of Ice and Fire...maybe just hard to compete with that. And maybe I'm expecting this to be one epic saga...and maybe it's just not...or at least not in the way I'm used to...
I would give this a 3.5, but not a 4 (so it gets a 3). And sorry, but I don't give credit for the "Citizen Kane factor" - I sat through it in film class and listened to the professor tell me how great it was...but as a movie compared to other movies I like, Citizen Kane was boring, slow moving, and had a boring ending - however groundbreaking and innovative it was for the time.
That said...there are plenty of good things about this book... and I'm going to go get book 3 now.
If you loved the first book, don't bother with this one. None of the heros' previous knowledge actually informs their decisions in this one. In short, they are idiots, but in the first story, they were both were very clever, resourceful, and highly cognizant of the dangerous magical world in which they lived. In this book, they insist on disbelief in magical and mystical possibilities, and so fall stupidly into one situation after another due to "ignorance". It was VERY disappointing. I couldn't finish this book.
I won't read any more books in this series, but I very much enjoy books in this genre.
The narrator seemed to fall out of character quite a bit, I often could not tell when Fathrd or the Gray Mouser was speaking. It would sound like Fathrd's voice, then the story would indicate that it was the Gray Mouser who was speaking. This was confusing.
I would cut all the repetitive scenes, where Fathrd falls under trances, due to his ignorance. He should have known better, his own mother is a terrifying witch with tremendous power, and it took him a great deal of skillful, thoughtful maneuvering to outwit her. What happened? Lobotomy. He must have had a voluntary lobotomy. It's very disappointing. It seems that the author got extremely lazy in his situation set ups. As his editor, I would have insisted that he keep the characters original strengths and build on them, which would have called for more creative writing.
I want my $$ back.
I really enjoyed this story and will probably go through the entire series :) The story starts of honed to a sharp edge without a wasted word and I enjoyed the way the way the asthetic of the storytelling was interwoven with the setting in the cold dark North. Then the storyline and action picked up as the setting moved onto the hot and humid southern regions, this is classic storytelling at it's best :)
Enjoying audiobooks daily!
I love Mouser and Fafhrd. This set of stories splits them up and takes them both on journies to hell for the souls of their dead loves. It's gripping, entertaining and humorous in a dark way. The boys get what they want in the end...sort of. Enjoyed it immensely. Lots of adventure.
I chose this audiobook based on his rave reviews. After listening to it two audiobooks on half price sale, I decided it was better to get them from the library.
Even after that it was hard finishing them. Neil's memories of these are a bit more romanticized in his reflections as an adult. I think there are better books for my valuable credit.
The mouser and his companions adventurers simply weren't anything tremendous to write home about.
They were okay. Not a dud. But at $20 or even $12 a book its a bit pricey.
Fun, and it's supposed to be a classic, but the standards of the genre are low enough that only the best is even tolerable. I might pick up another one when stranded in an airport or some such, but I won't seek it out.
Really disappointing. I'd heard good things about this series, but after the first two books I've concluded that they are nowhere in the same league as Conan or Moorcock's Elric, both of which I love. Perhaps Swords would have been better with a good reader, but this guy reads too slow and brings no sense of excitement to the narrative.
"Good but not brilliant"
I recall reading this the late 70s and early 80s when good fantasy fiction was a rare commodity. My friend and I immediately took to the books and I especially liked the city of Lankhmar and its many faces described brilliantly by the author. Many years on and many other books later the stories suffer by comparison with the other fiction I have since read (Hobbs, Abercrombie, Martin, Pratchett) which is a little unfair since many of these authors will have been influenced by Leiber and improved on what he started.
It's not that the stories are bad (they are far from it: imaginative, funny, scary, intriguing and memorable for the most part), I just find there to be far too many dull moments where nothing of import happens. I guess these fill in the gaps in the characters' development (e.g. the trip at the beginning of the book to the ends of the world and back) but it's a bad sign when you find yourself writing down your weekly shopping list while supposedly listening to the story. Given there is only nine hours or so of listening, the tight fisted git in me is a trifle narked at losing an hour or so of this time to nothing very interesting at all.
The narrator is good and I think the voices he uses are perfect for the characters. I would recommend the book as a filler if you like fantasy and find you have some credits spare that need to be used up, or you can't think of any other book to read but want a good fantasy book. As I say, they are good but just lack the consistency to be brilliant.
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