The fifth book in the series is an actual book and not a collection of short stories as the other book have been.

Publication year: 1968 (1997 reprint)
Format: print
Page count: 278
Publisher: White Wolf Publishing

The short swordsman and sorcerer The Grey Mouser and the giant Northerner swordsman Fafhrd have just returned to Lankhmar when they’re attacked by a collection of brigands, hired wizards, and people to whom they owe money. However, the duo manages to drive the brawlers off, solidifying their own reputation, and immediately they’re escorted to the presence of the city’s Overlord, Glipkerio Kistomerces. The Overloard needs exceptional guards for his grain fleet going to Movarl. The duo agrees.

However, the Overlord failed to mention that two other grain fleets have already gone missing. The men are on alert and waiting for a disaster. But the Mouser and Fafhrd have their hands full entertaining the enchanting and lovely Demoiselle Hisvet. The young woman is part of the fleet; she has twelve trained white rats, which are also going to the king of Movarl, and she’s the daughter of a wealthy and influential merchant. She’s also proud and fickle, toying with both swordsmen. Her maid Frix is always at her side.

Of course, things so shortly wrong. Or right, for the POV of the reader. This book might be the weirdest one of the series to date. It has a man traveling between worlds and rats wielding weapons. This time we see a part of Lankhmar which hasn’t been explored before.

The Swords of Lankhmar focuses on the Mouser; during most of the first half of the book Fafhrd is drugged and around halfway the two men part ways. So the camaraderie between them is missing and the friendly rivalry is only seen in the beginning. It’s certain a change of pace, though. (Not a complaint, just an observation.) They’re also older than in the previous tales but still more than willing to let a beautiful face makes fools of them.

The villains are devious and despicable, as usual, and the maids and slaves naked and whipped. Sexual sadism has been part of the series before, too, but it’s more pronounced here, perhaps because of the length of the book.

Still, this another very entertaining book in the series.

Advertisements