In the coming weeks Bill Ward and I are re-reading a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar series, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week we tackled the first tale in the volume. “The Circle Curse” is really more of a prologue than a proper story.
Howard: When I first read “The Circle Curse” I was 14 or 15 years old and it left me wanting. So wanting that I probably would have stopped reading the book if the story hadn’t been so short. I had opened Swords Against Death expecting to be transported into adventure, and what I got in “The Circle Curse” was more the summary of several adventures, a whole lot of wandering, and a little moping. I loved the rest of the book and re-read it multiple times, but I have never, ever revisited this first story until now.
If you’re not already familiar with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser this is a cold start. It doesn’t really tell a proper story, it just fills in the gaps between what happened between “Ill Met in Lankhmar” and the collection of tales here. And that’s perfectly fine, I suppose, if you’re reading them in sequence. Maybe readers need something to tell them what happened between adventures. I would have preferred a few more tales to tell me rather than this summary, but even creative geniuses don’t always give you what you want.