The Knight and Knave of Swords [Book 7 of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser Series] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Fritz Leiber
eBook Category: Fantasy
eBook Description: Ramsey Campbell, the highly regarded British horror author called him, "the greatest living writer of supernatural horror fiction". Drawing many of his own themes from Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and H.P Lovecraft, master manipulator Franz Leiber is a worldwide legend within the Fantasy genre, actually coining the term "Sword and Sorcery" that would describe the sub-genre he would more than help create. While Lord of the Rings took the world by storm, Leiber's fantastic but thoroughly flawed anti-heroes, Fafhrd and Grey Mouser, adventured and stumbled deep within the caves of Inner Earth as well, albeit a different one. They wondered and wandered to the edges of the Outer Sea, across the Land of Nehwon and throughout every nook and cranny of gothic Lankhmar, Nehwon's grandest and most mystically corrupt city. Lankhmar, is Leiber's fully realized, vivid, incarnation of urban decay and civilization's corroding effect on the human psyche. Fafhrd and Mouse are not innocents; their world is no land of honor and righteousness. It is a world of human complexities and violent action, of discovery and mystery, of swords and sorcery.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads, Published: 1988
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2002
This eBook is part of the following series:
I: Sea Magic .1.
51 Reader Ratings:
"Fritz Leiber's tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are virtually a genre unto themselves. Urbane, idiosyncratic, comic, erotic and human, spiked with believable action of a master fantasist!"--William Gibson
"After too long a wait, the master story teller of us all returns with a huge, anecdotal adventure in the magic-drenched lives of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Glowing imagination melds with gorgeous language to make this one of Leiber's very best...which is a better best than this poor world usually has to offer. Leiber's back: rejoice!" -Harlan Ellison
"It's all Fritz Leiber's fault. If he weren't such a deadly fine fantasist I wouldn't be stopping everything to read his tales. And if he weren't such a master I wouldn't occasionally look out of the window and wish he'd interrupt my routine again, as he doesn't do it often enough. The Knight and Knave of Swords came into my life and took over an otherwise fully programmed afternoon. I stop everything when a new Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story comes into my hands." Roger Zelazny
On the world of Nehwon and the land of Simorgya, six days fast sailing south from Rime Isle, two handsome silvery personages conversed intimately yet tensely in a dimly and irregularly lit hall of pillars open overhead to the darkness. Very strange was that illumination--greenish and yellowish by turns, it seemed to come chiefly from grotesquely shaped rugs patching the Stygian floor and lapping the pillars' bases and also from slowly moving globes and sinuosities that floated about at head height and wove amongst the pillars, softly dimming and brightening like lethargic and plague-stricken giant fireflies.
Mordroog said sharply, "Caught you that thrill, sister?--faint and far north away, yet unmistakably ours."
Ississi replied eagerly, "The same, brother, as we felt two days agone--our mystic gold dipped deep in the sea for a space, then out again."
"The same indeed, sister, though this time with a certain ambiguity as to the out--whether that or otherwise gone," Mordroog assented.
"Yet the now-confirmed clue is certain and bears only one interpretation: our chiefest treasures, that were our most main guards, raped away long ages agone--and now at long last we know the culprits, those villainous pirates of Rime Isle!" breathed Ississi.
"Long, long ages agone, before ever Simorgya sank (and the fortunate island kingdom became the dark infernal realm)--and their vanishment the hastener or very agent of that sinking. But now we have the remedy--and who knows when our treasure's back what long-sunken things may rise in spouting wrath to consternate the world? Your attention, sister!" snapped Mordroog.
The abysmal scene darkened, then brightened as he dipped his hand into the pouch at his waist and brought it out again holding something big as a girl's fist. The floating globes and sinuosities moved inward inquisitively, jogging and jostling each other. Their flaring glows rebounded through the murk from a lacy yet massy small gold globe showing between his thin clawed silver fingers--its twelve thick edges like those of a hexahedron embedded in the surface of a sphere and curving conformably to that structure. He proffered it to her. The golden light gave the semblance of life to their hawklike features.
"Sister," he breathed, "it is now your task, and geas laid upon you, to proceed to Rime Isle and regain our treasure, taking vengeance or not as opportunity affords and prudence counsels--whilst I maintain here, unifying the forces and regathering the scattered allies against your return. You will need this last cryptic treasure for your protection and as a hound to scent out its brothers in the world above."
Now for the first time Ississi seemed to hesitate and her eagerness to abate.
"The way is long, brother, and we are weak with waiting," she protested, wailing. "What was once a week's fast sailing will be for me three black moons of torturesome dark treading, press I on ever so hard. We have become the sea's slaves, brother, and carry always the sea's weight. And I have grown to abhor the daylight."
"We have also the sea's strength," he reminded her commandingly, "and though we are weak as ghosts on land, preferring darkness and the deep, we also know the old ways of gaining power and facing even the sun. It is your task, sister. The geas is upon you. Salt is heavy but blood is sweet. Go, go, go!"
Wherewith she snatched the goldy ghost-globe from his grip, plunged it into her pouch, and turning with a sudden flirt made off, the living lamps scattering to make a dark northward route for her.
With the last "Go," a small bubble formed at the corner of Mordroog's thin, snarling, silvery lips, detached itself from them, and slowly grew in size as it mounted from these dark deeps up toward the water's distant surface.