Welcome to Nehwon and the fantastic writings of the fantasy author Fritz Leiber. In his world you will meet what are, in his own description, the two greatest swordsmen in this or any universe, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Both endowed with the ability to attract the most fantastic adventures. This series of stories has but one common theme which is to see how smart, strong, agile, magical, and roguish our two intrepid heroes can be. Throughout the six book series we are treated to some of the most imaginative fantasy writing I have come across. Fast paced, but sensitive to telling a good story, Mr. Leiber has found a knack for telling just enough to stand your hair on end but not so much as to become boring with all of the finite detail of some of his compatriots.
Those of you familiar with the TSR fantasy role playing game "Dungeons and Dragons" may already have encountered the Nehwon mythos in the Gary Guygax book "Deities and Demi-Gods". Gary was so impressed with the Fritz Leiber story line that he incorporated it into the "Dungeons and Dragons" framework and defined many of the key characters as Gods or Demi-Gods to be used with the game.
I first came in contact with the books after reading Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibon`e series back in 1980 and found them to be as exciting and interesting, but without a lot of the added gloom and doom.
Fritz Leiber certainly put a lot of spunk into his books and heroes and if your looking to fill that swords and sorcery desire that has been building up in you for a while now, I would highly recommend seeking these novels out. They are more then worth the energy expended in finding them !!!!
So who are these guy's anyway ?
Well lets introduce them in the same order Fritz does in his first novel "Swords and Deviltry".
Fafhrd: A great barbarian who was born and raised on the icy cold steps of the northern wastes. His clan travels through the seasons hunting game, but as we find him in the first novel, he is camped for the winter and with all the other villagers is getting ready for the yearly trading and entertainment caravan to arrive for the winter festival. with his father dead attempting to climb the forbidden peak "White Fang" Fafhrd lives alone with his mother who has become leader of the clans coven of ice witches. Some say her heart had grown so cold that she cast a spell on her husbands rope causing it to shatter and plummet Fafhrd's father to his doom. Her disposition to men and her only son is icy at best. Fafhrd having had enough of the barbarian way of life decides to discover more about civilization by watching the shows during the festival (normally forbidden to him as he has not officially reached the age of manhood). He falls for one of the dancers during the festival and determines to leave the icy steeps and seek out his dream of civilization. After several run-ins with his mother, girlfriend, and fellow clansmen he hardens his heart and with a final forbidden feat makes a brilliant and dramatic escape to the cities of the south and his long dream of civilization.
The Gray Mouser: Or "Mouse" as we first meet him, is an apprentice to a white wizard and has just completed a long and difficult journey to return to his master with the newly won prize from his quest. At his return he discovers his master dead with all burned around him. A local Duke has been hunting and killing all sorcerers in his kingdom as he is deathly afraid of their power. The Mouser's sorceress teacher had protected his home with spells, but with the aide of the Duke's weak willed daughter, who was also a part t time apprentice, he is finally able to bully the information out of her and take action against what was in fact a harmless old wizard. The mouser infuriated, chases through the forest and encounters the Duke and his hunting party. With an old rusted sword he attempts to attack the Duke and reap his revenge, but being one against many he is soon captured. However after his apprehension a stray wild bore, being hunted by the Dukes party, attracts their attention and the Mouser is able to escape into the woods. Upon his return to the castle the Duke is taken mysteriously ill, sorcery is suspected and the hunt for the Mouser begins anew. With a good idea where he might be, the Dukes daughter finds the Mouser in an evil cave conjuring up the spell that has crippled her father. The Duke's men have also followed and recapture the Mouse as well as destroying his magic casting. The Duke, having recovered, orders the Mouser tortured in front of his daughter as punishment for both, but with a clever spell and strong hearted daughter, the Mouser is able to reap his final judgment and escape into the big wide world.
The two would be heroes meet one gloomy evening ,while in the city of Lankhmar, attempting to rob the same thieves guild thieves after their successful nights haul. While fending off guards from the slayers brotherhood, they both have opportunity to save each others lives and become friends in short order. Thus begins a very profitable and memorable partnership which lasts through thick and thin, and many a fantastic adventure.
Who else plays an important roll in these adventures ?
The two other lead characters who influence, and some would say cause, the most trouble for Fafhrd and Gray Mouser are their sorceress advisors, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. These two counsel and lead our two heroes into some of their most interesting and dangerous adventures. Being sorcerers of great renown throughout Nehwon they are well respected but each is suspicious and jealous of the others powers, so when they team up you know their must be a serious reason. Fafhrd and Mouser don't always agree but when it comes to sorcerers they are often sorry they rose to such fame as to have attracted these magical counselors.
Girls, Girls, Girls.... Certainly the root of much of their woes but just as certainly cause of almost all of their pleasures. The many pairs of women our two heroes encounter turn out to be both boon and bain. The only other plot constant throughout the series is that wherever our heroes lay their heads, a female is soon to show up to create chaos in their lives.
What follows is a brief synopsis with occasional opinions of the 6 book Swords series authored by Fritz Leiber . It is my hope that you will be intrigued to the point of searching out these exciting novels.
In which we are given a brief introduction to our two Heroes.
2. The Snow Women.
Where we learn of the humble beginnings of Fafhrd, the northern barbarian and see some of his motivations and peculiar spirit that make him such an interesting character.
3. The Unholy Grail.
Where we meet the Mouser and see what causes him to become Gray.
4. Ill Meet in Lankhmar.
In which our two heroes finally meet and how a firm friendship begins and is sorely tested .
1. The Circle Curse.
In which we find that time indeed heals all wounds and the grievous loss of their first loves is properly mourned.
2. The Jewels in the Forest.
Where our heroes find a weathered map with a fateful boast and a stone house is discovered with a roof not as solid as first thought.
3. Thieves House.
A fabulous treasure is found and confiscated by the Thieves guild. A raid to recover their lost treasure finds our heroes deep within the thieves stronghold. Of wrong turns and bumps on a head which lead to voices in the dark telling of a long lost brother, which those over head hold hostage. At last the brothers speak and reek vengeance on those who no longer remember.
4. The Bleak Shore.
In which we see the power of a simple sentence lead our heroes off to far away destruction.
5. The Howling Tower.
A journey across barren lands leads to the discovery of a distant howling and Fafhrd's disappearance. A sprint towards a lone tower takes Mouser to the rescue. An old mans tale and the source of the howling discovered. Fafhrd's rescue and the spirit packs hunger finally sated.
6. The Sunken Land.
A fishing expedition turns into more adventure then Fafhrd bargained for when a wicked storm tosses him overboard. A lucky chance as a ship of silent drunks pulls Fafhrd from the waves. A sunken and forgotten land sighted and raided. But as the shores begin to sink the sailor/raiders are themselves waylaid by evil cloaks as our heroes escape with little but their lives.
7. The Seven Black Priests.
A trip to the north in search of treasure leads to a tropical paradise filled with pesky priests looking for homicidal pleasure. A diamond captured turns out to be more sentient then either of the adventurers suspected and leads them to become the stuff of the earth god.
8. Claws from the Night.
A flying plague seeks revenge upon Lankhmar as reward for its forgetfulness.
9. The Price of Pain-Ease.
The final parting with our heroes first loves, takes them to deaths door and back again.
10. The Bazaar of the Bizarre.
A beautiful merchants shop turns out to be Mouser's undoing and Fafhrd is sent to close the gap on the other-worldly merchants.
1.The Cloud of Hate.
The Mouser and Fafhrd are confronted by the pent up evil emotions of Lankhmar, in gaseous form. Truly a hateful soup.
2. Lean Times in Lankhmar.
Of heroes and their friendships when times, financially, are tough, and the street of the Gods finds a place for them both. Much is also explained about the fateful appearance of Isaac of the Jug and his effect on the Lankhmarians.
3. Their Mistress the Sea.
Having reunited and being well out of shape, a sea voyage is just the thing to rehabilitate.
4. When the Sea-King's Away.
A mysterious calm and a tunnel into and under the water and what they found that disturbed the Sea King so.
5. The Wrong Branch.
The Sea-King's curse is lifted but a trip into the caves of Ningauble of the Seven Eyes leads to other times and other places.
6. Adept's Gambit.
A heroes quest is undertaken for not so heroic reasons. Of the woman who came when she was ready and a trip to a lost city to fulfill a prophecy. The Adepts story is told through the eyes of a servant and sister. The castle mist is reached and what they found and killed, which was not necessarily human.
1. In the Witches Tent.
Where our two heroes learn something of an upcoming treasure hunt, and those who will oppose them.
Of climbing mountains and invisible girls. Where we see our adventurers clinging to life and the rewards for those who would be first to climb Stardock's icy sides.
3. The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar.
With Stardock's treasure in hand the two best thieves in Lankhmar look to fence their starry jewels, but who indeed are the two best thieves in Lankhmar ? Certainly, as we see, a debatable issue.
4. The Lords of Quarmall.
In which we are introduced to a kingdom once greater and certainly older then the city of Lankhmar itself. Our two heroes go their separate ways but find themselves equally beneath the hills and in the shafts of Quarmall. A power struggle long brewing reaches its head as two brothers battle for a throne. A sacrifice made brings life for an unborn child and an old King. At last to the surface and away from the unwholesome magic's and politics of the Lords of Quarmall.
Certainly one of the most bizarre and heroic of the Swords series in which the Mouser and Fafhrd find themselves pitted against far superior numbers with small beady eyes. The grain fleets attacked and sunk so that our heroes find themselves with commission to ensure that their ships make it to the desired destination. On board as gifts, Thirteen White rats who mimic human behavior. Soon a ship is sunk with all abroad and as she goes down many a small rodent sailor is seen abandoning ship. "We will have no rats on my ship" says the captain, but the rats have other ideas. Desperately trying to keep their ship afloat the crew sails back to Lankhmar with the rat raid thwarted. But low and behold upon their return rats, rats, and more rats. The city is held hostage by rat fear but the Mouser armed with Shelob's position sizes up the matter. Many a twisty tunnel leads him to the rat council of thirteen and the rat's plans are revealed in full. The attack upon the city is launched and success seems certain, as the rats plan's begin to reach fruition. However, the often sought but little used aid of the Gods of Lankhmar, finally turns the tide and along with the Feline Thirteen, they send the rats scurrying back to where they belong.
Scott <Stormbringer> Lindquist email@example.com