This is the first book of the series which gave us term and fantasy sub-genre Sword and Sorcery. It consists of 3 novellas which talk about the background of the main characters, Fafhrd and Gray Mouser and their fateful meeting.The Snow Women.
Fafhrd is a barbarian living in the lands of North where the harsh climate allows the survival of the strongest. This was the longest novella and also the most boring one. Not much happened except for Fafhrd's brooding and longing to see the civilized lands. This part also happened to be quite sexist. Usually some minor sexism does not bother me much - I try to keep in mind the time period when a book was written - unless the author goes out of his/her ways showing it (I am looking at you, Robert A. Heinlein and your classic Stranger in a Strange Land). This time sexism in this novella bothered me.The Unholy Grail.
Mouse is an apprentice to a wizard specializing in white magic. When he came back from a mission he found his mentor brutally murdered and himself being hunted. He starts dabbling in not-so-white magic trying to stay alive and get revenge; he also changes his name to more appropriate Gray Mouser. If you think this part sounds more exciting than the previous one, you are right: it actually is.Ill Met in Lankhmar.
Fafhrd and Gray Mouser finally meet in the city which was an inspiration for Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork. They instantly like each other.
If this series was the father of sword and sorcery, then earlier written Robert E. Howard's Conan was the grandfather. To my great surprise the latter series aged a little and is still as fun to read as in the days of its first publishing. The former series aged a lot. It is considered to be a classic of genre, but it does not offer anything I have not seen before - and better done. It is still entertaining enough to warrant 3 stars. I will also try to read the sequel, but I reserve a right to stop reading it the moment I realize it is not better than this one.
This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/847603/i-am-sorry-to-say-this-book-shows-its-age-a-lot