You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Farewell to Lankhmar

Farewell to Lankhmar is the last installment of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar stories. The two heroes Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser have settled down on Rime Isle with their sweethearts Afreyt and Cif. There is a bit of nostalgia throughout the book as previous adventures and lovers are revisited, and the two heroes become reflective.

The first two stories bring mysterious and supernatural forces against the duo and their friends. The third story brings in their former magical patrons Sheelba and Ningauble to try to bring them back to Lankhmar and glory (Sheelba is turned into a female in this book). The god Loki awakes with a fire for vengeance against the Grey Mouser for vanquishing him. And two high ranking citizens of Lankhmar send assassins against the heroes. The two assassins become shadows of their targets, assuming the names Death of Fafhrd and Death of the Grey Mouser. When the assassins show up, the two heroes (under a curse that accentuates their distance from the world) haplessly lead them around the island until the assassination attempts are foiled. This largely involves a lot of luck and the help of their lady friends.

The final long section, "The Mouser Goes Below," is full of descriptions of previous adventures and characters from earlier stories. It comes across as a recap of the adventurers' lives, except with added commentary. Their past comes to life in the form of a love child for each of them, the backgrounds being revealed slowly and with great timing. The Mouser gets sucked underground where he watches his former Hisvet "discipline" her maidens in a pornographic scene. After being tortured by Death's sister Pain, he comes to and watches the Lord Quarmal give a lesson in treachery to his son. Meanwhile Fafhrd and the others continue to dig in the group for the Mouser. But soon Fafhrd is himself swept away to his past and finds himself floating up to a cloud ship captained by his former lover Frix. These former loves and suddenly appearing offspring provide a bit of comic relief and also dismay to their current lovers.

As a story it is a bit thin and lacking some of the fantastic elements of the first books. However the mixing of past and present provides an interesting contrast between the wild antics of their early years and the quiet businesslike attitude of their "retirement". Leiber even makes a comment about how adventurers in their retirement are often pulled out of it by others. The book is an interesting take on how the past can come back to haunt you or help you. B+

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