Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series
story list & collections
by Fritz Leiber

Guide by
Robert Wilfred Franson
March 2009

Two sought adventure —

The thirty-seven stories comprising Fritz Leiber's great series Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were written over a half-century (from 1934 through 1988), and not in their chronological order — both attributes of Goethe's composition of Faust. Leiber's two heroes, and their wonderful high and low adventures, among allies and foes in the fabulous city of Lankhmar of the dubious land of Nehwon, are well worth the attention of lovers of the fantastic in literature.

The sequence, and the range

Leiber's stories mostly appeared first in magazines, beginning in John W. Campbell's Unknown in 1939. Over the years, they have been collected and re-collected in books bylined Leiber, as well as anthologized. One, The Swords of Lankhmar, is itself the length of a novel and usually appears as a separate book.

Here we provide an overall sequence as the stories ideally should be read, and as they appear in the common seven-book set. Additionally we list inclusions in Leiber's other story collections: it's not too critical that you read them in order. The first readers of most of these stories just enjoyed them as they came — and then re-read them in the complete set. We mention some omnibus editions, but do not attempt to provide all appearances in general Leiber collections, or multi-author anthologies.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser taken as a whole is one of the greatest works of modern fantasy. Should you, however, happen upon a story or two and not care for them, do try a couple of others. Fritz Leiber gives us a stunning range and depth of fantastic realism here; and if the style is not so various as that of Faust, nor the landscape as great a witch's flight as from "Auerbach's Tavern in Leipzig" to the "Classical Walpurgis Night", still Fafhrd and the Mouser can show you a merry ride.

story 7-book set other collections
"Induction" Swords and Deviltry   
"The Snow Women" Swords and Deviltry   
"The Unholy Grail" Swords and Deviltry   
"Ill Met in Lankhmar" Swords and Deviltry The Leiber Chronicles

"The Circle Curse" Swords Against Death   
"The Jewels in the Forest"
  ("Two Sought Adventure")
Swords Against Death Night's Black Agents
Two Sought Adventure
The Leiber Chronicles
"Thieves' House" Swords Against Death Two Sought Adventure
"The Bleak Shore" Swords Against Death Two Sought Adventure
"The Howling Tower" Swords Against Death Two Sought Adventure
"The Sunken Land" Swords Against Death Night's Black Agents
Two Sought Adventure
Writers of the Dark
"The Seven Black Priests" Swords Against Death Two Sought Adventure
"Claws from the Night"
  ("Dark Vengeance")
Swords Against Death Two Sought Adventure
"The Price of Pain-Ease" Swords Against Death   
"Bazaar of the Bizarre" Swords Against Death The Leiber Chronicles

"The Cloud of Hate" Swords in the Mist   
"Lean Times in Lankhmar" Swords in the Mist   
"Their Mistress, the Sea" Swords in the Mist   
"When the Sea-King's Away" Swords in the Mist   
"The Wrong Branch" Swords in the Mist   
"Adept's Gambit" Swords in the Mist Night's Black Agents
Writers of the Dark

"In the Witch's Tent" Swords Against Wizardry   
"Stardock" Swords Against Wizardry   
"The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" Swords Against Wizardry   
"The Lords of Quarmall"
  with Harry Otto Fischer
Swords Against Wizardry   

The Swords of Lankhmar
  (expanded from "Scylla’s Daughter")
The Swords of Lankhmar   

"The Sadness of the Executioner" Swords and Ice Magic   
"Beauty and the Beasts" Swords and Ice Magic The Book of Fritz Leiber
"Trapped in the Shadowland" Swords and Ice Magic   
"The Bait" Swords and Ice Magic The Worlds of Fritz Leiber
The Leiber Chronicles
"Under the Thumbs of the Gods" Swords and Ice Magic   
"Trapped in the Sea of Stars" Swords and Ice Magic The Second Book of Fritz Leiber
"The Frost Monstreme" Swords and Ice Magic   
"Rime Isle" Swords and Ice Magic   

"Sea Magic" The Knight and Knave of Swords     
"The Mer She" The Knight and Knave of Swords     
"The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars" The Knight and Knave of Swords   The Leiber Chronicles
"The Mouser Goes Below" The Knight and Knave of Swords     

More edition information:

A very fine omnibus set from White Wolf, containing the 37 stories of 7 volumes (as listed above) recombined in 4 volumes. This includes Leiber's volume Forewords and additional introductions by other authors. Note that White Wolf forgot to provide page-numbers for the individual stories in the annotated contents for their second and fourth volumes; I recommend writing them in yourself, as I did.

  1. Ill Met in Lankhmar (volumes 1 & 2)
  2. Lean Times in Lankhmar (volumes 3 & 4)
  3. Return to Lankhmar (volumes 5 & 6)
  4. Farewell to Lankhmar (volume 7)

A partial omnibus set from the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC), containing the first 33 stories of 6 volumes (as listed above) recombined in 2 volumes.

  1. The Three of Swords (volumes 1, 2, 3)
  2. Swords' Masters (volumes 4, 5, 6)

The Book of Fritz Leiber and The Second Book of Fritz Leiber are also combined in the omnibus volume The Book of Fritz Leiber, Volumes I & II.

Writers of the Dark is co-bylined H.P. Lovecraft because the book includes essays by Lovecraft.

As with other authors, sometimes paperback editions are not as complete as hardcover editions with the same title.



[Walpurgis Night. The Harz Mountains; the Country Around Schierke and Elend]

Peddling Witch.

Good sirs, do not pass by like that,
Or you might miss a pretty chance!
Spare me a more attentive glance,
My stock is well worth looking at.
There's nothing here to which an armful
Of earthly merchandise compares,
No single thing but has been harmful
To mortal man and his affairs.
There is no sword here has not tasted gore,
No cup from which into a healthy frame
Some searing venom did not pour,
No trinket here but that has brought to shame
Some lovely woman, nor a dagger but designed
To pierce a trusting ally from behind.


You are behind the times, dear cousin;
What's done is done, what's past is trite;
Your stuff is fifteen to the dozen,
For only novelties excite.


This entertainment gives me pause —
The strangest fair that ever was!


Uphill now, all the surging crew;
You think you're pushing, but they're pushing you.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Walpurgis Night"
Faust, Part I, 4096-4117
translated by Walter Arndt

© 2009 Robert Wilfred Franson


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