Fritz Leiber was a pioneer of sword-and-sorcery adventure, the first writer to handle this sub-genre with the spicy wit of James Branch Cabell's high fantasies. His best-loved creations are mighty Fafhrd and the nimble-witted Gray Mouser, whose seven volumes of flamboyant exploits are repackaged as Ill Met in Lankhmar
, Lean Times in Lankhmar
, Return to Lankhmar
and Farewell to Lankhmar
. The latter is a retitling of The Knight and Knave of Swords
, Leiber's last full-length book before his death in 1992.
The fabulous duo are now in semi-retirement on northerly Rime Isle, settled down with tough but loving lady comrades and looking back on their lurid years as rogues-for-hire. Discarded mistresses, former wizardly mentors and vengeful gods remember them, though, and the past always catches up. One story, "The Curse of the Smalls and Stars", inflicts strange obsessions upon our heroes, distracting them from the sworn assassins on their trail. The Mouser Goes Below is a short novel where the Mouser literally sinks into solid ground and is magically moved about the world while always imprisoned in earth. Fafhrd organises desperate mining operations as his friend undergoes peculiar underworld torments and titillations, some slightly embarrassing--Leiber's witty handling of sexual naughtiness, seen at its finest in Return to Lankhmar, had begun to fail with illness and age. Nevertheless his prose remained elegant, while neat inventions and unexpected twists still abound. No reader hooked on the earlier volumes will want to miss this one. --David Langford
The final book in this definitive swords and sorcery series by the acknowledged master and founding father of the genre.