Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp

The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp

ISBN: 9780857662460 | Cover Price $7.99 | 416 pp.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10 | Classic Sword & Sorcery!

Overview: A Tale of Egil and Nix Kill the demon.
Steal the treasure.
Retire to a life of luxury.
Sounds easy when you put it like that.
Unfortunately for Egil and Nix, when the demon they kill has friends in high places, retirement is not an option.

File Under: Fantasy [Derring Don't | Hammer Time | Family Affair | Hell Spawn] 

Review:  I grew up reading classic sword & sorcery fantasy.  Lin Carter, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard.  Sword and Sorcery was by no means the only thing I read but one of my favorite subgenres. In later years, I read R. A. Salvatore, Weis & Hickman's Dragonlance, Gygax's Gord The Rogue series and many more.

Paul S. Kemp's upcoming novel The Hammer and the Blade owes much to Leiber's Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser stories but stands up against them nicely.  This is classic Sword & Sorcery at its best.  The duo of Egil and Nix (a priest of a dead god and a thief) are a memorable pair.  They are accomplished tomb robbers and staunch friends. Their witty banter adds a wonderfully humorous element to a grand adventure. 

This is fantasy for pure fun and adventure.  No epic political intrigue or confusing magic systems, no elements of science fiction thrown in.  Egil and Nix are great characters on quest - battling horrendous demons, diabolical traps, cunning sorcerers, and evil hordes. Their goal is simple - get out alive and try (again) to retire to a life of luxury with their ill-gotten gains. Of course, it's never that simple.

I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to anyone with a love for Sword & Sorcery novels.  Kemp does it right!  You'll love this pair of ne'er do wells and their first adventure in print form.  Mr. Kemp assures me that it will not be the last - there are more Egil and Nix stories on the way - and I can't wait to read them.

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