Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Knight And Knave Of Swords!

The Knight and Knave of Swords is the final volume in the official canon of the Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser saga. The stories in this awkwardly named volume all appeared in the late 70's but mostly in the 80's. The saga continues to unfold as the duo have found a life of sorts for themselves on Rime Isle. Events of the last volume have not been forgotten by any means.

"Sea Magic" (1977 The Dragon)

Undersea goddesses seek to get back treasure which has found its way to Rime Isle and end up coming into contact and some clash with Fafhrd as he adjusts to life and archery with his new hook for a hand. 

"The Mer She" (1893 Heroes and Horrors)

The Mouser making a voyage for supplies, discovers an elusive mermaid and keeps her in his cabin away from the curious but prying eyes of his crew. It almost is the end of all of them as it turns out. 

The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (1983 Heroic Visions)

Our heroes are stuck with strange curses. Fafhrd is obsessed with the big picture, staring endlessly into the maw of the night sky and elsewhere trying to drink in the landscape. Mouser on the other hand becomes weirdly focused on the tiny and spends his time looking always at that which is at his feet for fear he will miss some small detail. 

The Mouser  Goes Below (1988 first publication - portions first printed as "The Mouser Goes Below" (1987 Whispers) and "Slack Lankhmar Afternoon Featuring Hisvet" (1988 Terry’s Universe)

On Rime Isle, the Gray Mouser is sucked into the Earth and as he slides through the ground in a ghostlike fashion Fafhrd and the rest  try to find him and dig him out before he is lost forever. It's a very near thing indeed as the race proceeds across the landscape of the island.

And that my friends is that. The adventures or perhaps more correctly called, "misadventures" of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser come to a rousing end. Our heroes have aged and to some extent matured as life has taken its toll on them. They have found some measure of peace on Rime Isle with Afreyt and Cif, the women who brought them there originally as mercenaries and they along with some of their crews have made a home of it. They seem different men on the island, less full of themselves and more sensitive to those who have fallen under their care. Less like pulp heroes and more like real people.

There are more Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, specifically a novel written with Leiber's permission by Robin Wayne Bailey, but I haven't read it, and don't even have a copy. Maybe some day I'll get the urge to journey to Newhon again.

Maybe next week as we take a look at the comic book adaptations. 

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