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What about the Lankhmar books by Fritz Leiber?

Tumbleweed

Supporting Cast!
Validated User
Whatever you do, avoid the last one— The Knight & Knave of swords. It’s god-awful. Kinda soured me on Lieber, to be honest.
 

Terhali

30-50 feral hogs
Validated User
I find that a little goes a long way with Lieber. The equivalent of a short story is about as much as I can enjoy without putting it away for a while.
 

Rolzup

Dinoczar
Validated User
I really loved them -- and still do, for the most part, although there's some fairly questionable bits involving the Mouser. The writing is great, the world-building fantastic, and it's archetypal sword-and-sorcery.

Also, yes, the last book is not good.
 

Scurrilous

Registered User
Validated User
From what I recall, Mouser gets worse as time goes on. I'm not sure it's intentional on the writer's part. It doesn't seem to get called out at any point but he does turn into a nasty piece of work. I didn't get through The Knight and Knave of Swords, but it's already there by The Sadness of the Executioner.
 

RAM

Registered User
Validated User
The early stories are the best. I did not find the final volume as awful as some, but I have reread the early stories multiple times with no desire to reread the last book. That being said, The Sadness of the Executioner is the first Leiber I ever read and still holds a special place in my heart (despite other superior early stories).
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
I've only read the first 3 books, but I loved them. That's despite bouncing hard off Conan; Lieber seems generally a lot less regressive by modern standards.
 

Litpho

Wandering stranger
RPGnet Member
Validated User
From what I recall, Mouser gets worse as time goes on. I'm not sure it's intentional on the writer's part. It doesn't seem to get called out at any point but he does turn into a nasty piece of work. I didn't get through The Knight and Knave of Swords, but it's already there by The Sadness of the Executioner.
The Sadness of the Executioner was written in 1973. I would be more forgiving of the nastiest part
Spoiler: Show
Mouser rapes his nubile female assassin into submission
if it had been written earlier in his career. Nowadays, it reads quite badly and it would have been less eye raising if he had just killed her (like Fafhrd did with his).

Say what you will about Knight and Knave (and I admit it is the weakest by far), at least Cif managed to halt Mouser getting into younger and younger bed partners... Apart from Tigerlily (I think) and the assassin in Sadness, they did all have agency I think. Leiber wasn’t afraid of writing strong women early on while sending the self-proclaimed heroes on their adventures of folly.
 
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