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Swords in the Mist: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: Bk. 3 & 4 (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) Paperback – 1 Jan 2006

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Amazon.com: 22 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Only two of these stories are must-reads 18 July 2011
By Kat Hooper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Swords in the Mist (1968) is Fritz Leiber's third collection of stories about Fafhrd, the big northern barbarian, and the Gray Mouser, his small wily companion who has a predilection for thievery and black magic. The tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser originally appeared in pulp magazines, short novels, and story collections between 1939-1988. Swords in the Mist contains:

* "The Cloud of Hate" (1963) -- This is a short eerie metaphor in which hate becomes a mist that reaches out in tendrils throughout Lankhmar to find corruptible souls to use for evil deeds.
* "Lean Times in Lankhmar" (1959) -- In this novelette, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser part ways and find themselves at odds when Fafhrd becomes an acolyte and the Mouser is hired to extract money from Fafhrd's cult. Humorous and cynical, this story makes fun of Lankhmar's polytheism and makes the seediness, decadence, and corruption of the city come alive. The ending is hilarious.
* "Their Mistress, the Sea" (original publication) -- This story makes a nice bridge between "Lean Times in Lankhmar" and "When the Sea-King's Away" but it's entertaining in its own right.
* "When the Sea-King's Away" (1960) -- This is a fun fantastical story with a great setting (under the sea!) in which Fafhrd has a sword fight with an octopus.
* "The Wrong Branch" (original publication) -- This is a bridge between the previous story and the following novella:
* "Adept's Gambit" (1947) -- Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser arrive in our world (Macedonia) in this novella. There are some funny parts here -- Fafhrd kissing pigs and analyzing Socrates, but mostly I found this story dull. The sorcerer Ningauble of the Seven Eyes has sent the boys on a near-impossible quest, but the exciting parts are quickly skipped over and too much of the story is spent with an unpleasant character's excruciatingly long autobiography.

I love Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser because they're intelligent rogues. They look like a big dumb barbarian and a sneaky little street urchin, and they love nothing more than drinking, fighting, and wenching, yet they've got big vocabularies, make glorious similes and metaphors, and enjoy philosophizing. When they're doing these things, they're irresistible, especially in the audiobook versions narrated by Jonathan Davis (Audible Frontiers).

However, half of Swords in the Mist consists of a novella that was not as fun as I've come to expect from Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar stories (perhaps this is partly because it doesn't take place in Lankhmar). I would suggest that, unless you consider yourself a completist, you find "Lean Times in Lankhmar" and "When the Sea-King's Away" and skip the rest of Swords in the Mist.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser Stories 19 Feb 2001
By Duncan MacKenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Leiber's sword books stand alone in heroic fantasy for their gallows humor, perverse plots, and decadent settings. He treats his heroes with a respect, compassion, and maturity not common in fantasy or horror writing.
This books of stories includes material written in the 1940's to 1960's. In addition to the famous "Lean Times in Lankhmar" - the story of Issek of the Jug's rise on the Street of the Gods - and "Adept's Gambit" - where the heroes come to the Macedonian empire on our Earth, the book includes "The Cloud of Hate", "When the Sea-King's Away", and a pair of short-shorts written as segueways between the previously published stories.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Should be on every bookshelf 6 July 2012
By DannyO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where Fritz Leiber books were purchased as fast as they were published; my father was a fan. Now that my children are reaching the age I was when I was introduced to Lankhmar and the rest of Leiber's worlds, I thought they might find them as much fun as I had. I was dismayed when I discovered that most of Leiber's work seems to be out of print, but I was delighted to see that many of the stories are now on Kindle.

If you're a fan of Leiber, then you are either going to buy this book, or own in already, no matter what I say. If you're just starting with Leiber and Newhon, then you probably want to read the books in order and reach this book later. It's possible to leap into the middle without missing much -- most of these stories were written as stories for magazines, so they're intended to be understood independently -- but there is some backstory, and there is some fun in watching Leiber develop the characters and figure out who they are.

"Swords in The Mist" is a solid entry in the Fafrd and Grey Mouser tales. These tales, which range from short stories to longer, novel-length works, also range in topic, tone, and plot. Unlike many authors, who seem to make a career writing variations on the same stories, Leiber is unpredictable and difficult to characterize. As a result, some of the stories have more appeal than others, but which stories these are varies somewhat from reader to reader. In my opinion, "Lean Times in Lankhmar" and "The Adept's Gambit" are the best of this bunch, and are essential stories in the Newhon chronicles.
Classic Leiber, but not among my top picks. 14 July 2014
By David G. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is definitely not my favorite of Leiber's Lankhmar series. I didn't care much for the world-swapping. I like my fantasy to stay fantasy, and my historical fiction to stay historical fiction. I really didn't like the crossover, and even less that this was a novellette length treatment of it that took so long to unwind. To me, the meat and potatoes of Fafhrd and Grey Mouser is the short-story length exploits. Involved enough to be engaging, but quickly resolved enough to be ready to move on to the next adventure. I would say this book would have been three stars if not for the incredibly enjoyable "Lean Times in Lankhmar", easily the best of the lot. I will always be a Fritz Leiber fan, but this one definitely would land near the bottom of the list. Still very readable, but not as amazing as Swords Against Death or Swords and Deviltry.
Great read! 21 May 2014
By LG917 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Typical Lankhmar adventures and characters. Lots of fun and a great read. Classic fantasy with great characters and plot development.
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