Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Swords Against Death by Fritz Leiber

The Circle Curse leads Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser all over the world of Newhon, and then right back to Lankhmar once more. For the first time we get to meet Sheelba of the Eyeless Face and Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, the duo's patron wizards. They lay either a curse or a prophesy on the adventurers, who have determined to get away from Lankhmar forever after the deaths of their beloveds.

In The Jewels in the Forest, Fafhrd and Mouser trace down an ancient legend of a marvelous treasure, and play a cat and mouse game with a nobleman and his henchmen who are in search of the same trove. But the wayward pair discover that a centuries old trap is far more deady than anything now living humans will do.

In Thieves' House, our heroes once again tangle with the Thieves Guild and inadvertently play a part in the ascension of a new Guildmaster when they purloin the skull of a powerful thief who is only mostly dead. They get lured into a deadly battle with hatching monstrosities in The Bleak Shore, fight a battle with spirit wolves in The Howling Tower, narrowly avoid being drowned in a massive cataclysm in The Sunken Land, fight a running battle with ruthless assassins and the wrath of the very stones of Newhon itself in The Seven Black Priests.

They have a run in with an avian goddess and her deadly minions, who have been stealing jewels from the ladies of Lankhmar in Claws from the Night, once again encounter their deceased lovers while trying to steal Death's mask in The Prince of Pain-ease and are rescued only by their patron wizards, putting them in bondage to the mysterious magic users, then save the entire world from being looted by unscrupulous merchants in The Bazaar of the Bizare.

Plenty of fun tales here, in which Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser never quite seem to get what they deserve, but manage to lurch from frying pan to fire and back slightly wiser each time, perhaps, but never really getting that big score that they know will set them up for the rest of their lives.