Swords Against Death by Fritz Leiber

The second anthology of short stories placed sequentially through the life of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser shortly after Swords & Deviltry.

I enjoyed the mellifluous writing and the adventures themselves. The climax for each short story was usually thrilling however the general flow was slow and that made it easy for your mind to wander. Each story introduction leaned toward loquaciousness.

It was gratifying to read more of the tales that are the foundation of Sword & Sorcery as well as the D&D RPG (specifically the Gygaxian versions). I will certainly read more from Leiber however this book was a pale comparison to the first.

I would guess if you were reading these stories as separate entries in a monthly magazine, one might eagerly devour them, but as compiled they are often dreary and difficult to plow through.

Prodigious literature of a classic sort that many a sybarite will love despite it's laggardly pace.

3 Stars



I enjoyed the labyrinthine language of this post and the particularized narrative.

Pip pip my good man!

Kersus's picture

I do go on a bit don't I. :) It's my writing and I have finally stopped dumbing down my language and periodically learn a new word to use! Some of the words in the review are directly from the book (my little inside joke). That's one of the cool things I like about some of the classic fantasy rhetoric (Gygax, Leiber, Norman) - the playful and exacting use of language that seems to have been lost at some point where people deride you for using 'big' words. Now, using 'big' words just to sound impressive can be a turnoff. For me it's not to impress the one reader of my blog, but to play artfully with words and enjoy language in general. Linguistics can be fun!