counter create hit The Hammer and the Blade - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Hammer and the Blade

Availability: Ready to download

Robbing tombs for fun and profit might not be a stable career, but Egil and Nix aren’t in it for the long-term prospects. Egil is the hammer-wielding warrior-priest of a discredited god. Nix is a roguish thief with just enough knowledge of magic to conjure up trouble. Together, they seek riches and renown, yet often find themselves enlisted in lost causes—generally against Robbing tombs for fun and profit might not be a stable career, but Egil and Nix aren’t in it for the long-term prospects. Egil is the hammer-wielding warrior-priest of a discredited god. Nix is a roguish thief with just enough knowledge of magic to conjure up trouble. Together, they seek riches and renown, yet often find themselves enlisted in lost causes—generally against their will. So why should their big score be any different? The trouble starts when Nix and Egil kill the demonic guardian of a long-lost crypt, nullifying an ancient pact made by the ancestors of an obscenely powerful wizard. Now the wizard will stop at nothing to keep that power from slipping away, even if it means freeing a rapacious beast from its centuries-old prison. And who better than Egil and Nix—the ones responsible for his current predicament—to perform this thankless task?


Compare

Robbing tombs for fun and profit might not be a stable career, but Egil and Nix aren’t in it for the long-term prospects. Egil is the hammer-wielding warrior-priest of a discredited god. Nix is a roguish thief with just enough knowledge of magic to conjure up trouble. Together, they seek riches and renown, yet often find themselves enlisted in lost causes—generally against Robbing tombs for fun and profit might not be a stable career, but Egil and Nix aren’t in it for the long-term prospects. Egil is the hammer-wielding warrior-priest of a discredited god. Nix is a roguish thief with just enough knowledge of magic to conjure up trouble. Together, they seek riches and renown, yet often find themselves enlisted in lost causes—generally against their will. So why should their big score be any different? The trouble starts when Nix and Egil kill the demonic guardian of a long-lost crypt, nullifying an ancient pact made by the ancestors of an obscenely powerful wizard. Now the wizard will stop at nothing to keep that power from slipping away, even if it means freeing a rapacious beast from its centuries-old prison. And who better than Egil and Nix—the ones responsible for his current predicament—to perform this thankless task?

30 review for The Hammer and the Blade

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Egil and Nix, after slaying a demon during a routine tomb-plundering, are pulled into the machinations of a sorcerer whose family has made a pact with the same clan the demon was a part of. Also, they buy a bar. The Hammer and the Blade seems to be an homage to those Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser tales I love so much, a buddy swords and sorcery tale. The two bicker and exchange witty dialogue while plundering tombs and running afoul of sorcerers and demons and things. It's a lot of fun at times. Howe Egil and Nix, after slaying a demon during a routine tomb-plundering, are pulled into the machinations of a sorcerer whose family has made a pact with the same clan the demon was a part of. Also, they buy a bar. The Hammer and the Blade seems to be an homage to those Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser tales I love so much, a buddy swords and sorcery tale. The two bicker and exchange witty dialogue while plundering tombs and running afoul of sorcerers and demons and things. It's a lot of fun at times. However, since I read this shortly after reading a few Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser short stories, I'm reminded of McDonald's. The Egg McMuffin, much like Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser, is wonderful in small doses. However, if you start eating them three meals a day, you begin to suspect it's not the perfect nutrient delivery system you thought it was. While there are parts I liked quite a bit, The Hammer and the Blade largely feels like a Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser short story crammed into a 300 page paperback. In short, there's a ton of filler. Much like an Egg McMuffin, now that I think of it. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I thought it felt really padded for what it was. I loved the ending, though, and I liked the lead characters enough that I'll read the next one at some point. Three out of five stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    seak

    I've been hearing about Paul S. Kemp for a while now, mostly from his Forgotten Realms work with Erevis Cale trilogy, but (like usual) had never gotten around to reading his work. There's just so much time and so few books, am I right? This last year, 2012 to be exact, Kemp comes out with a new book from Angry Robot who's more than generous with its review copies, so I figured why not? The Hammer and the Blade is fast-paced buddy sword and sorcery that is part homage to the classics in this sub-ge I've been hearing about Paul S. Kemp for a while now, mostly from his Forgotten Realms work with Erevis Cale trilogy, but (like usual) had never gotten around to reading his work. There's just so much time and so few books, am I right? This last year, 2012 to be exact, Kemp comes out with a new book from Angry Robot who's more than generous with its review copies, so I figured why not? The Hammer and the Blade is fast-paced buddy sword and sorcery that is part homage to the classics in this sub-genre such as Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. While I can't attest to the latter, I'll explain the former. In The Hammer and the Blade, the world isn't about to end, it doesn't hinge on the efforts of our winsome protagonist(s), it deals with a couple of guys trying to save their own necks. While not necessarily indicative of all sword and sorcery, it also helps to explain what this sub-genre is about (and which is mostly explained by its own title) - lots of action, magic, and adventure. Of the world, it exists and it's surely a secondary one, but there is little detail. No descriptions of women's dresses or where they might cross their arms. There isn't even much about distant lands and exotic places, it's mostly focused on the here and now - what concerns our protagonists. The Hammer and the Blade follows Egil and Nix (the buddies I mentioned above), both famous, or infamous, tomb-robbers and sometimes swords for hire. One, Egil, is a warrior priest with a large eye tattooed on his forehead and two huge hammers as weapons. The other, Nix, is a (semi) adept magician who was kicked out of magical school, emphasis on the fact that he was kicked out, which he emphasizes whenever the subject is addressed. At first, this duo reminded me of Hadrian and Royce from the Riyria Revelations, but I was quickly put off this theory. Hadrian and Royce are much more mysterious and a bit darker in a way while Egil and Nix are more straight forward. One of the things I thought was a great way to clue readers in on some information was Nix trying to brag about his exploits to curry favor with a woman. Egil and Nix are tons of fun, lots of jokes and adventures, and we're pulled right into the action immediately as the two are traipsing through a tomb, bobbing through booby-traps, and finding the treasure. What a great opening. And it doesn't let down from there. The Hammer and the Blade accomplishes everything it sets out to be. Simple fun and lots of action. At the same time, it's lack of complexity is the thing that's holding it back from any more stars from me. It's really just a personal preference thing and probably highlights the drawbacks of ratings systems more than anything. Before I end this review, I have to point out something that really stood out to me, but which spoils one part of the book. You've been warned (for this paragraph and the next only). (view spoiler)[ Early in the book, our daring duo gets into a scrape with a local sell-sword who fails to treat a lady with the proper respect. He's a huge jerk and gets what's coming to him. To make a long story short, later in the book this same guy actually becomes good friends with Egil and Nix. This is something you just don't see every day. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen this in a book. Someone who starts out as a jerk is later shown to have redeeming qualities. I think we could use more of this. This is real, this is people. In our internet generation, it's easy for people to show their true colors on the internet and for everyone else to write them off. Sometimes it's warranted, sometimes it's not. I don't really know where I'm going here, but I liked this. People deserve redemption sometimes. We're just people, we do dumb things...often. (hide spoiler)] The Hammer and the Blade made for a great ride. Lots of jokes, bumbling magic, and two huge hammers! Kemp is obviously a master at the light-hearted adventure story and I'm looking forward to reading more of his work. 3.5 out of 5 Stars (Recommended) A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

  3. 5 out of 5

    carol.

    Mr. Kemp, forgive me. I enjoyed your book. Buddy sword and sorcery, against the odds, grit and luck, fun time. It reminded me of an updated Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or a more interesting Riyria Chronicles. It entertained me during a slow night shift when I needed to be entertained and to stay awake, so it was working against gravity, as it were, and it still worked. Kudos. I completely would have given it three and a half stars if it wouldn’t have been for one major plot-point: Mr. Kemp, forgive me. I enjoyed your book. Buddy sword and sorcery, against the odds, grit and luck, fun time. It reminded me of an updated Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or a more interesting Riyria Chronicles. It entertained me during a slow night shift when I needed to be entertained and to stay awake, so it was working against gravity, as it were, and it still worked. Kudos. I completely would have given it three and a half stars if it wouldn’t have been for one major plot-point: (view spoiler)[ SPOILER--a women-victim thing going on here with the ultimate threat of a woman being made to conceive and carry a demon child. (hide spoiler)] ************************************* Because I continue the review with a semi-topic rant that could be considered off-topic by strict literalists, I've continue my review at my usual homes: http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/0... AND http://carols.booklikes.com/post/8528...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    What a fun romp this was! Pros: Excellent protagonists. Both Egil and Nix come alive on the page. Their dialogue and interplay is great, and the author really delivers a sense of their brotherly camaraderie. The book overall balances humor within the dialogue. It's easy to allow a book to have a humorous tone overall, but often times when an author does this, the jokes can undercut dramatic tension. This is done simply by lending a feeling of insincerity to the entire book. If the protag is too What a fun romp this was! Pros: Excellent protagonists. Both Egil and Nix come alive on the page. Their dialogue and interplay is great, and the author really delivers a sense of their brotherly camaraderie. The book overall balances humor within the dialogue. It's easy to allow a book to have a humorous tone overall, but often times when an author does this, the jokes can undercut dramatic tension. This is done simply by lending a feeling of insincerity to the entire book. If the protag is too busy cracking jokes, how will I know/care when he's in deadly peril? Approach of a sensitive topic WARNING: SPOILERS (view spoiler)[ Kemp uses rape in the plot to demonstrate (to me, at least) the dehumanizing nature of power. The way he allows Nix to deeply feel the vulnerability and terror faced by generations of Norristru women by dreaming was very effective. It definitely made me uncomfortable to read it, as I could really understand how that vulnerability made Nix feel. I cheered for Nix and Egil when they decided to be that kind of man, the man who sticks up for the abused and the vulnerable. As a masculine woman, I've been on both sides of the divide, of both being vulnerable and wanting to protect people from sexual violence, so I really felt a kinship with Nix at those points in the plot. While I'm sure Kemp didn't intend for this to happen, the book's handling of rape comes at a time when the sci-fi/fantasy fandom is dealing with rape jokes and threats. I'm glad to count Kemp among my favorite authors who don't put up with that bullshit. And it's bullshit. (hide spoiler)] The world in general has a good ole' fantasy feel. I know the author writes Forgotten Realms books, and as a D&D player, I could definitely see the places where this influenced the story, especially during combat. "Oh...yeah, his AC is way too high for those daggers, bub. Better go with bludgeoning damage..." "Someone took a few ranks in Use Magical Device...." Definitely allowed this reader to quickly and easily get a feel for the city and society Kemp was trying to convey. It's not an epic masterpiece of world-building, it's sword (falchion) and sorcery and it does its job well. On the other hand... Kemp's treatment of women isn't quite as deft as his male character's treatment of women. They unfortunately suffer from the Virgin/Whore syndrome seen in a lot of fantasy written by men. Guys, there are more than two flavors of women. The villain, while he didn't participate in any moustache-twisting scenes of exposing his master plan, wasn't very fleshed out. Evil sorcerer, general bad guy, schemer, dickwad, got it. What else? I really wanted to know more about the evil mother, like her motivations, what craziness she's done in the past, what her role is, but (view spoiler)[she goes crazy before we find out. (hide spoiler)] Although I appreciated the revenge-fulfillment of (view spoiler)[turning the main baddie into a girl to get a taste of his own medicine demon rape, it made me uncomfortable that this became a solution for the protags. (hide spoiler)] On the other hand, Nix regained points by actively doubting his judgement. Overall, the good far outweighs the bad, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good sword and sorcery romp, complete with witty one-liners, a depth of plot unusual for the genre, and Indiana Jones style escapades. The Hammer and the Blade: it's finger-lickin' good!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    The Hammer and the Blade is fun sword and sorcery adventure. Kemp has done something interesting here. This book is quite low brow in its use of vulgar descriptions: constantly describing puking and spitting and other bodily functions. Yet in contrast, I had to look up a lot of words when I read this, for apparently Kemp has quite a vocabulary. Maybe he was trying to prove that just because someone has a potty mouth doesn't mean they lack intelligence. As far as a buddy story, this one succeeds o The Hammer and the Blade is fun sword and sorcery adventure. Kemp has done something interesting here. This book is quite low brow in its use of vulgar descriptions: constantly describing puking and spitting and other bodily functions. Yet in contrast, I had to look up a lot of words when I read this, for apparently Kemp has quite a vocabulary. Maybe he was trying to prove that just because someone has a potty mouth doesn't mean they lack intelligence. As far as a buddy story, this one succeeds on that level. Egil and Nix are tight. We don't get to find out how they met, and they are quite different. But that doesn't stop them from being very good friends who watch each others' backs and fight at each others' sides. Egil is a hulking man, who uses two hammers and a crowbar as his weapons. He wears a tattoo of an eye on his head, a symbol of the Momentary God. He is reflective and tends towards somberness. Nix is smaller, the body and persona of a thief. He reminds me of the trickster archetype. He is quick and sly, and fond of sharp, slender blades. He grew up in the slums, and part of him doesn't want to leave that behind. It's a huge part of his identity. He doubts that he possesses any sense of morality, but the quest he undertakes in this book will prove whether that's true. While sword and sorcery can tend towards sexism, Kemp seems to want to subvert this. While most of the main characters are not women, there are more than a few secondary female characters that show a lot of depth and the complexity of the female gender. Nix and Egil are forced to reexamine their views of women and how women should be treated continually throughout this story. I really enjoyed this aspect of this novel. Yes, I am a woman, so it makes sense that this would be a crucial aspect for me. But I like to think that men can also be dismayed at how women can be sidelined, maligned, and abused in most cultures, simply because they are women. I am glad to see that Kemp seems to struggle with this as well. The action/adventure part of the equation is well done. Plenty of fighting and escapades. Tomb robbing and escaping mystical booby traps. Lots of demon and creature fighting, and some fights between characters of the human persuasion. Some of the scenes got a little gory, but I guess that's to be expected in a sword and sorcery romp. While I didn't like some of the vulgar descriptions, I didn't think Kemp went over the top with the violence. As far as the sorcery, that was definitely a strong aspect of this novel. One of the characters is a sorcerer whose family has a dark pact with demons for their power. And I do mean dark. This storyline becomes a very prominent thread that place Egil and Nix at some crucial moments of defining who their identities are as people and where they draw their line in the sand. As I read it, I marveled at the extremes people go to obtain and keep power, and usually they end up making someone pick up the tab for their actions and ill-gotten gains. Definitely the case in this book. Glad we had some unlikely heroes around to try to make things right. I didn't rate this book higher because it was just too vulgar for my tastes. I felt like this was a hindrance for me to dive deeper since I just can't stand vulgarity. It's a personal taste thing here. There were other things to like about this novel, such as the fantasy world-building and the humor and camaraderie between Egil and Nix and a few other characters. It was a fairly entertaining novel despite the fact that the vulgarity was off-putting. I will probably continue this series. Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I struggled "a little" with the rating here...3 or 4. This is another of the "famous" 3.5 books. It's very, very light reading (and there's nothing wrong with that) and at times I did kind of have a, "yeah, yeah get on with it" reaction. Still it's a good sword and sorcery read with bantering heroes and lots and lots and lots of action. There is the inevitable "trip to somewhere" that we seem to find in many stories of this type but Mr. Kemp does a pretty good job of keeping things jumping. I mus I struggled "a little" with the rating here...3 or 4. This is another of the "famous" 3.5 books. It's very, very light reading (and there's nothing wrong with that) and at times I did kind of have a, "yeah, yeah get on with it" reaction. Still it's a good sword and sorcery read with bantering heroes and lots and lots and lots of action. There is the inevitable "trip to somewhere" that we seem to find in many stories of this type but Mr. Kemp does a pretty good job of keeping things jumping. I must say that (and I think others who've read the books will note this) that at times Mr. Kemp seemed to be channeling Fritz Leiber. For me while (I'm not saying that there was any copying or anything negative) the sense of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser was heavy. The larg hammer wielding protagonist here is a priest (or cleric) and of course our other protagonist is a roguish character (who we get to see is really deep and effected by his poverty ridden background of course). I'll put it over all like this. Yes you will see here a plot that any S&S fan will have seen before. An evil sorcerer with and evil plan is against the wall because our heroes unknowingly and accidentally did something that put our said sorcerer in a bind. Go from there. Good read, a VERY gritty world where dung seems to be everywhere on everything, lots of banter, lots of action, lots of sorcery. Yeah I think you'll like it and I can recommend it (just be aware it's got the language and the blood and the mud and dung). Enjoy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    The Shayne-Train

    Alright, so, yeah. It's true. I'm a total sucker for a good sword & sorcery fantasy novel. And I'm a total sucker for likable roguish anti-heroes. And I'm a total sucker for bromantical buddy-cop twosomes. And somehow, SOMEHOW, Paul S. Kemp has read my fakking diary or some such, and written a series just for me. If I wasn't so flattered and amazed, I'd be downright creeped out. This had it all. The lovable semi-antagonistic banter between Egil and Nix was priceless. The story was exciting and we Alright, so, yeah. It's true. I'm a total sucker for a good sword & sorcery fantasy novel. And I'm a total sucker for likable roguish anti-heroes. And I'm a total sucker for bromantical buddy-cop twosomes. And somehow, SOMEHOW, Paul S. Kemp has read my fakking diary or some such, and written a series just for me. If I wasn't so flattered and amazed, I'd be downright creeped out. This had it all. The lovable semi-antagonistic banter between Egil and Nix was priceless. The story was exciting and well-written. The world was fully realized. Magic and tomb-robbing and demons and bar-fights and spellworms and booby traps and crossbows and air spirits and wizards and whores and transmogrification. All of it. ALL OF IT. I'm moving right on to the second book. And this is highly recommended for fans of bloody, gritty, FUN sword & sorcery fantasy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    It's got tomb-robbing, demon-slaying, an evil wizard, tavern brawls, everything you'd want in your sword & sorcery -- there are definite echoes of Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock and, I think, Gary Gygax. I'm not entirely sold on the ending -- there's a tonal shift about 75 or 80 percent of the way through the book that seemed kind of abrupt and maybe unearned -- but I enjoyed the book as a whole and look forward to reading more of Nix & Egil's adventures. It's got tomb-robbing, demon-slaying, an evil wizard, tavern brawls, everything you'd want in your sword & sorcery -- there are definite echoes of Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock and, I think, Gary Gygax. I'm not entirely sold on the ending -- there's a tonal shift about 75 or 80 percent of the way through the book that seemed kind of abrupt and maybe unearned -- but I enjoyed the book as a whole and look forward to reading more of Nix & Egil's adventures.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Originally posted at www.fantasyliterature.com Meet Egil and Nix, the latest sword & sorcery duo to attempt to soften my jaded heart. Can they do it? Well, they’ll never take the place of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, that’s for sure, but they’ve still got my attention and I’m willing to give them at least a second try. Egil is a warrior priest — the only worshiper of the obscure god who manifests himself as a tattooed eye on the top of Egil’s bald head. Nix is a clever half-educated magician who go Originally posted at www.fantasyliterature.com Meet Egil and Nix, the latest sword & sorcery duo to attempt to soften my jaded heart. Can they do it? Well, they’ll never take the place of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, that’s for sure, but they’ve still got my attention and I’m willing to give them at least a second try. Egil is a warrior priest — the only worshiper of the obscure god who manifests himself as a tattooed eye on the top of Egil’s bald head. Nix is a clever half-educated magician who got expelled from the mages’ conclave (he wants you to know that he didn’t drop out — he got kicked out). The two friends are grave robbers who make their fortune digging up treasure that’s been buried with rich people’s corpses. It’s a hazardous job because the tombs are protected by dangerous wards. During their latest excursion, which they promise will be their last, Egil and Nix kill a demon that was protecting a corpse. Unfortunately, that demon was allied with the mayor’s evil sorcerer. When he finds out that he’s lost his patron devil, he wants revenge. The Hammer and the Blade, the first in a series about Egil and Nix, is a promising start. Egil and Nix are tough, clever, and have a touching long-lasting friendship that indicates that they’re more than just a couple of rogues. For example, Nix loves and takes care of the woman who raised him, and both men are horrified when they’re forced to vividly confront the way they think about women. Most of the text of The Hammer and the Blade is banter that’s often funny but Kemp’s prose and dialogue can’t quite compare with Fritz Leiber’s in his LANKHMAR stories (I make this comparison because Leiber’s stories are an obvious influence). The plot also drags in places, but Leiber is guilty of that, too. I listened to Brilliance Audio’s production of The Hammer and the Blade which was performed by Nick Podehl whose voice I like very much (I’m always happy to see his name on my audiobooks). For this production I thought Podehl’s voice for Egil was perfect, but his voice for Nix was a little too weaselly for my taste. I also thought he spoke ploddingly during the narrative — something I’ve noticed before with Podehl. Still, he’s got a great voice, he continues to improve, and I was mostly very pleased with this audiobook. I unhesitatingly recommend it to audio readers. I’ll be reading the second EGIL & NIX book when it arrives. Kemp has teased us with just enough background on both characters to make us want to get to know them better. The Hammer and the Blade is a solid sword & sorcery story in the vein of LANKHMAR, Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones.

  10. 4 out of 5

    A.E. Marling

    This story is 95% banter by dry weight. The other 5% is magical worms, which seems like a good balance to me. If you love sword and sorcery, this book will shine your blade. The story includes a priest of “Moments,” the most sacred of which seems to be the times he's bludgeoning people with hammers. The protagonist is a thief with a smattering of magical talent and a mouth that couldn't even be quieted with a silencing spell. The two adventure into tombs guarded by demons and perilous traps, and This story is 95% banter by dry weight. The other 5% is magical worms, which seems like a good balance to me. If you love sword and sorcery, this book will shine your blade. The story includes a priest of “Moments,” the most sacred of which seems to be the times he's bludgeoning people with hammers. The protagonist is a thief with a smattering of magical talent and a mouth that couldn't even be quieted with a silencing spell. The two adventure into tombs guarded by demons and perilous traps, and they journey across a wasteland with (my favorite) a lake of glass. The antagonist needs to seal a pact with the demons downstairs, and he's more than willing for his sisters to pay the price. Since the sisters are mind mages, they force the male protagonists to experience the terror a woman feels of rape, in a guts-withering manner. I'm pretty sure Conan never needed so much incentive to crack a sorcerer's skull. The book contains two other nuances that I wouldn't expect to find in a sword and sorcery, but I'll keep those delights unspoiled.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    An evil, corrupt sorcerer has a pact with a family of demons. Every few years, the big demon on campus rolls up and impregnates all of the women in the sorcerer’s family. In return for the demonic-looking hellspawn of this union, the demon uses its influence to get lesser denizens of the supernatural world to fall into line and obey the sorcerer’s commands. But now that demon has been slain, and with the time to renew the pact coming due, the sorcerer has to find the demon’s brother and free it An evil, corrupt sorcerer has a pact with a family of demons. Every few years, the big demon on campus rolls up and impregnates all of the women in the sorcerer’s family. In return for the demonic-looking hellspawn of this union, the demon uses its influence to get lesser denizens of the supernatural world to fall into line and obey the sorcerer’s commands. But now that demon has been slain, and with the time to renew the pact coming due, the sorcerer has to find the demon’s brother and free it from a prison. Who better to help him then the two bumbling tomb raiders who killed the original demon in the first place? Nix and Egil are your standard “buddy cop” fare: Nix is lithe and quick, the typical thief or rogue; Egil is a hulk, quick to anger but with his own sense of fairness. They are the smart-talking duo every writer might dream of creating. And, after that last big haul, which included slaying a nasty devil, they are supposed to be retired. Getting kidnapped and forced to do a sorcerer’s bidding through a magical compulsion certainly wasn’t anywhere near the top of their bucket list. In The Hammer and the Blade, Paul S. Kemp takes a lot of the good, lighter side of fantasy and uses it to create a fun and fulfilling story. The way in which Rakon draws Nix and Egil into his nefarious scheme is believable and also rather sinister. Kemp is quick to establish our heroes as competent and effective—particularly as a team—but far from invincible. Nothing is worse, especially in a buddy comedy, when the team is both smart-talking and nigh-indestructible. No, though Nix is quick to throw off one-liners, too often he finds himself in over his head. The conflict itself is a delicious mess of personal and political badness. Rakon is the adjunct to the Lord Mayor. This usually means “power behind the throne”, helped in this case by several spells on the Lord Mayor designed to weigh down his mental faculties. He needs this pact to maintain his position of power. At a more intimate level, however, the pact means allowing a demon to rape and impregnate his sisters for the first time. Now, rape itself is a terrible crime—and I’d say that orchestrating the rape of one’s sisters so that one can stay in power is about on par. There really is no sympathy for Rakon, despite Kemp’s careful use of narrative perspective to explain his motivations: he is a villain, through and through. Rakon’s sisters don’t just lie down and accept this abuse. Although he has attempted to use his magic to contain them, physically and mentally, they have formidable mental powers of their own. Rusilla manipulates events to make it possible for Nix and Egil to challenge Rakon on their own terms and rescue herself and her sister. This helps mitigate possible “White Knight” problems with the basic plot of “two masculine heroes rescue the damsels in distress”—yes, Rusilla needs their help to save herself and her sister, but Nix and Egil wouldn’t even know the score if it weren’t for her. Alas, although the plot is straightforward, it takes a while to really get going. Once it heats up, the pacing stays on target. For the first part of the book, though, there is an awful lot of build-up. This could have been a huge problem. Fortunately, Kemp’s writing steps up to make it easier on the reader: Nix and Egil’s dialogue is not only fun but funny. My favourite line comes just after Rakon captures them. Nix demonstrates some magical knowledge, and when Rakon wonders where he came across it, he mentions his year at the Conclave. Rakon then assumes Nix dropped out, and Nix—not a little exasperated—replies, “No, why does everyone assume I dropped out? I was expelled!” Kemp’s sparse description and worldbuilding reminds me a little of Giant Thief . I’ve been trying to understand why I liked this book and not the other. One reason would be the pair of heroes here: Nix and Egil just work together, whereas Easie Damasco is hard to bear on his own. Also, Kemp makes me interested in the plot: I want to see how Nix and Egil escape from Rakon and foil his plans—and at one point, I genuinely believed they wouldn’t succeed and that Kemp was setting them up for a revenge sequel! This is a sharp contrast to Giant Thief’s somewhat lackadaisical plot. The Hammer and the Blade might not have the most richly-imagined world, and from time to time I felt a case of name soup brewing beneath the surface. Kemp usually keeps it together, however. I’m just more used to the setting almost becoming a character in books like this, and we don’t get much of a sense of what makes Nix’s city a unique place. Everything is generic: taverns and brothels and the city “watch”. It works all right, but it’s a little lazy, and I would like to see the world expand later in the series. Kemp demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt, however, that a book with lots of little flaws can still be an enjoyable read. There was no point where I felt like I needed to put The Hammer and the Blade down and pick up something else; quite the opposite, there were a few days when I stayed up a little later than I should have to read another chapter. As far as fantasy adventures go, this is an excellent example of how to create a story that is light-hearted on the surface but still full of dark and complex subtext.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    A little firecracker of a Sword and Sorcery novel! A very entertaining, page-turning, goes-down-easy read. I'm a Nix and Egil fan now. This one really scratched that S&S itch I've had for several years now. I'd sure love to see more novels tackle the sub-genre as well as Kemp does here, as they are so rare to find. A little firecracker of a Sword and Sorcery novel! A very entertaining, page-turning, goes-down-easy read. I'm a Nix and Egil fan now. This one really scratched that S&S itch I've had for several years now. I'd sure love to see more novels tackle the sub-genre as well as Kemp does here, as they are so rare to find.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Sedai of the Brown Ajah

    3 stars is a good rating; it was a fun read. It just felt like a lot of things boiled down to dumb luck and magically possessing/finding whatever tool saves the day in any given situation. On a side note, this is physically one of the oldest books on my TBR (either 7 or 8 years) at the time of finishing it, so yay for progress in completing my backlog!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ranting Dragon

    http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o... The Hammer and the Blade is a series-debuting novel by New York Times bestseller Paul S. Kemp. It introduces us to the adventuring duo of Egil, a warrior-priest, and his erstwhile companion Nix, a sneak, rogue, thief, and general ne’er-do-well, as they loot tombs, quaff ale, and generally get in over their heads. Hilarity ensues. A Tale of Egil and Nix The above little bit of subtext appears on the cover of The Hammer and the Blade and represents something I http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o... The Hammer and the Blade is a series-debuting novel by New York Times bestseller Paul S. Kemp. It introduces us to the adventuring duo of Egil, a warrior-priest, and his erstwhile companion Nix, a sneak, rogue, thief, and general ne’er-do-well, as they loot tombs, quaff ale, and generally get in over their heads. Hilarity ensues. A Tale of Egil and Nix The above little bit of subtext appears on the cover of The Hammer and the Blade and represents something I really like and would really enjoy seeing done more often: it drops us into the middle of a world instead of on the edge of one. Us SFF readers, we’re clever people. I trust us to be able to collectively pick up on a story. Many fantasy novels these days (especially those with aspirations of becoming a long series) seem to feel that they must start at the beginning; we need to introduce the characters from scratch, give lots of back story, and work our way into the plot line. We don’t actually need any of that. We’ll learn about the characters from their actions, and their dialogue. I learned more about Egil and Nix from the opening vignette of their robbing a tomb together than I learned about Rand Al’Thor from three books of prologue. This isn’t “the” tale of Egil and Nix, it’s just “a” tale. There are more where that tale came from, and there are more to come. There’s no promise that the next book picks up where this one left off, and I don’t think we need one. Egil and Nix are already such complete characters to me that I am happy jumping all over their timeline and just enjoying their antics. A bit of the ease with which you settle into their characters is that they are fairly tropey: Egil, the stoic, calm voice of reason… until you piss him off, then he starts smashing alongside Nix, the sarcastic, witty rogue with an eye for the ladies. There’s at least a little bit of Han and Chewbacca influence, as well as some Perrin and Mat. But that’s not a bad thing, either. To me, Paul Kemp has always been about the development of characters through story. The characters are very real, they evolve, they grow, but they do that through the lens of the events that happen around and to them. We can start simple and fill it in as we go along. It gives the reader a sense of ownership over the characters that is really engaging. If you learn about them in bits and pieces as you go, instead of having this elaborate character study jammed down your throat, it feels more like they are your version of the characters. Sword and Sorcery back in vogue? After the recent obsession in fantasy with massive sweeping epic storylines (see the burst of popularity for A Song of Ice and Fire around the HBO release of Game of Thrones, the ongoing popularity of the Wheel of Time, etc.) it was refreshing to get back to basics. I’ve been noticing a resurgence in the episodic, plot driven fantasy of my childhood and adolescence creeping onto the bookshelves, slightly disheveled as if they’ve just come in from the pub. The problems facing Egil and Nix aren’t the types that involve the world hanging in the balance. They robbed a tomb and pissed off a guy who is now causing problems for them. Once this problem is resolved one way or the other, one assumes they’re just going to go back to what they were doing before. It’s nice to not have to be constantly aware of the wider ranging consequences of a storyline. I don’t have fifty things to keep straight, I don’t have to refer back to the prophecy in the foreword of the book, and I don’t need to try and memorize every character we saw who didn’t die in case they become important later on. I just get to read and enjoy a great story about some cool guys doing cool things. While I appreciate fantasy as high literature as much as (or possibly more) than the next guy, I do feel a little like our zeal to demonstrate to literature snobs that fantasy is a means of deep literary expression that is just as valid as any Oprah Book Club book caused us to stray from the fact that we’re also a genre built around action-packed adventure. Sometimes a longsword is just a longsword. Why should you read this book? I found The Hammer and the Blade to be an excellent balance of solid worldbuilding and compelling characters with great action, snappy dialogue, and an emphasis on pacing. I’m hoping the next book in the series, A Discourse in Steel (Released by Angry Robot June 25th 2013), carries this on. I had a lot of fun with this book, and anybody who enjoys that sort of “odd couple” adventure watching great personalities clash around an action-packed episodic style storyline will have fun, too. Egil and Nix are characters I’m hoping to see a lot more of in the coming years.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This book hit all the right places for me. It's exactly what I was looking for at the moment: fast, fun, action packed and full of memorable characters. Egil and Nix might end rivaling Royce and Hadrian as favorite fantasy duo. Nix was great as a narrator, smart mouthed and take no shit kind of guy with a heart of gold. While his soft spoken, hammer wielding partner was always there for support. Both guys are instantly likeable and their camaraderie really made the book. It also had one of the m This book hit all the right places for me. It's exactly what I was looking for at the moment: fast, fun, action packed and full of memorable characters. Egil and Nix might end rivaling Royce and Hadrian as favorite fantasy duo. Nix was great as a narrator, smart mouthed and take no shit kind of guy with a heart of gold. While his soft spoken, hammer wielding partner was always there for support. Both guys are instantly likeable and their camaraderie really made the book. It also had one of the most despicable antagonists I've come across in a while, ugh such an asshole piece of shit! This novel was a self-contained story that still left me wanting more of these guys. I'll be continuing on with this journey, and if you like lots of fun, ass kicking, swearing, and D&N style dungeon quests, then you should definitely check this out!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Milo

    Original Post: http://thefoundingfields.com/2012/06/... (with links) “An awesome fantasy novel shows that Kemp can work his magic in almost any setting, be it in a galaxy far far away, the Warhammer World or in his own creation. A rollercoaster ride that is not to be missed.” ~The Founding Fields I was first introduced to Paul S. Kemp ever since I read and enjoyed The Old Republic: Deceived, and when the chance came to read his first novel in an original fantasy setting (he’s previously written i Original Post: http://thefoundingfields.com/2012/06/... (with links) “An awesome fantasy novel shows that Kemp can work his magic in almost any setting, be it in a galaxy far far away, the Warhammer World or in his own creation. A rollercoaster ride that is not to be missed.” ~The Founding Fields I was first introduced to Paul S. Kemp ever since I read and enjoyed The Old Republic: Deceived, and when the chance came to read his first novel in an original fantasy setting (he’s previously written in Star Wars, Warhammer Fantasy, and the Wizards of the Coast settings, the latter of which I haven’t read but have ordered, and I think that’s all, correct me if I’m wrong). However, upon reading The Hammer and the Blade, not only did it exceed my expectations, but I had a whole lot of fun reading it. In fact, it’s one of the best fantasy novels that I’ve so far this year, and I’m eagerly awaiting to see what Kemp can bring to the table next (he’s got two new Star Wars novels in progress as well, which is very good), so without further ado, let’s get stuck into this review, after a quick summary of the plot, taken from Angry Robot. 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 ] First, let’s talk about the characters, Egil and Nix. They’re a memorable duo that take centre stage, and the book is told from mostly their third person POV. Their charisma is great, and they work well as a team with constant banter to keep you entertained throughout the fantasy novel which, despite its short blurb, is a wonderful journey throughout the original fantasy world created by Kemp, which is in fact the first novel in which he’s done so. The characters themselves come across as believable and they’re easy to root for, and they’re on of my favourite fantasy duos right now, alongside Royce and Hadrian of Michael J. Sullivan’s Riryia Revelations, which was also a fantastic read. Kemp has created a novel that will have you hooked right from the get go, with a thrilling opening that sets the stage for where the novel will take us, and will drag you in right from the start. You won’t be able to put this book down, and when it’s done, you’ll be left wanting for more. Kemp makes you want to know more about the world in which The Hammer and the Blade is set in, and has done a fantastic display of worldbuilding here, and doesn’t manage to slow down the ferocious pace in which this novel tears along at. There’s never a dull moment. Although the cover art could, and probably should have been better, The Hammer and the Blade is another one of those books that reinforces the fact that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The novel itself is a whole lot of fun, and there are several amusing parts throughout and it is certainly a refreshing read for any fantasy fan if they’ve just come out of reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. Although Kemp’s novel doesn’t have the same amount of depth as Martin’s creation, it doesn’t need to – the novel is a fantastic ride, with there always being something to watch out for as you keep reading, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to where the plot’s going to go. Kemp has created a well thought out novel here that has a wonderful prose, and the battle scenes are entertaining, action-packed and will have you turning pages even quicker in order to find out the result. There aren’t any unbelievable characters in the novel, which makes it a fun and entertaining read, with the characters developing well throughout, complete with an well-planned magic system that is quite original. Fans of Michael J. Sullivan’s The Riryia Revelations novels will love The Hammer and the Blade, even if it is a bit darker and different. If you’ve read Kemp’s previous Star Wars novels and The Forgotten Realms books, check out this link where the author delivers a sales pitch to convince you. That is, if you’re not convinced already by this review, (and Shadowhawk’s, here.) Verdict: 4.5/5 More by Paul S. Kemp: The Old Republic: Deceived, Crosscurrent, Riptide, Twilight Falling, Dawn of Night, Midnight’s Mask, Shadow’s Witness, Shadowbred, Shadowstorm, Shadowrealm, Godborn.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abhinav

    You can read the full review over at my blog: https://shadowhawksshade.wordpress.co... Shadowhawk reviews Paul S. Kemp’s first in a new original fantasy series for Angry Robot Books, a novel that follow the adventures of the new thieving duo on the block, Egil and Nix. “Swords & Sorcery at its best for a modern audience, The Hammer and The Blade echoes the magic of the old Dragonlance novels and takes the reader on a fast-paced adventure against sorcerors and demons through some of the most danger You can read the full review over at my blog: https://shadowhawksshade.wordpress.co... Shadowhawk reviews Paul S. Kemp’s first in a new original fantasy series for Angry Robot Books, a novel that follow the adventures of the new thieving duo on the block, Egil and Nix. “Swords & Sorcery at its best for a modern audience, The Hammer and The Blade echoes the magic of the old Dragonlance novels and takes the reader on a fast-paced adventure against sorcerors and demons through some of the most dangerous locations in the world.” ~The Founding Fields Paul Kemp has been on my radar for a long time, ever since I found out that he had written a short story for Black Library in the Age of Legend anthology that was released earlier this year and which I reviewed here previously. I’ve also read his recent Star Wars novel, Deceived, and I quite enjoyed that one too. So when I dove into The Hammer and The Blade it was with a lot of enthusiasm and high expectations. Verdict: The Hammer and The Blade is a truly fantastic novel that deserves to be out there with the best of the best and is a novel that I’d say is a recommended read for the Sword & Sorcery fantasy sub-genre. Thieves seem to be a really popular set of characters in fantasy novels, far more than I ever believed. Following on from the fantastic duo of Royce and Hadrian in Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations novels, and Widdershins from Ari Marmell’s Thief’s Covenant, is another charismatic, affable duo you just got to love and root for: Egil Verren, the hammer-wielding only priest of the Momentary God Ebenor, and Nix Fall, thief extraordinaire. Together, these two made for one of the best reading experiences of this year. Like I said in the bolded text up above, The Hammer and The Blade really evoked the old Dragonlance novels for me, particularly the original Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy and some of the Dragonlance Legends novels. Those happened to be one of the biggest influences on my reading in high school, alongside Raymond E. Feist’s Midkemian saga novels, and to this day I hold them as some of the best novels ever written. Rose-tinted glasses, some might call this dedication, but I feel it is entirely justified. Those novels were well-written and really took the reader on a journey across fantastic landscapes and with a rich, varied cast of characters. The Hammer and The Blade is smaller in scale than most of them but it is no less awesome because of that.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lexie

    Prelim Review: This has been a banner year for me as far as old-school fantasy adventurer novels go. I get to add THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE to the list and I'm certainly glad for it. --- In the simplest terms this book is about two friends (two somewhat shady, definitely reckless and utterly unrepentant in their derring-do's adventurer friends) who's one last heist before they retire to a semi-respectable life brings about unforeseen consequences to trouble their lives. Nix is a master thief with a Prelim Review: This has been a banner year for me as far as old-school fantasy adventurer novels go. I get to add THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE to the list and I'm certainly glad for it. --- In the simplest terms this book is about two friends (two somewhat shady, definitely reckless and utterly unrepentant in their derring-do's adventurer friends) who's one last heist before they retire to a semi-respectable life brings about unforeseen consequences to trouble their lives. Nix is a master thief with a whole satchel of useful 'gee-gaws' and quite a bit of cleverness.  He's always trying to look ahead, but tends to miss the smaller things in the process. Egil is a warrior Priest for the The Momentary God...and possibly the only worshiper. Not overly abundant with clever schemes like Nix, he's amazingly resilient and a tank in fights. I'm never actually sure just how serious either one is being--they tend to go back and forth so quickly it takes a couple seconds to catch up and realize 'oh dear lord he was serious!'.  Their friendship and support is a welcome balance to the novel, it grounds the book and keeps it from becoming too cynical or dark.  And this book gets dark, make no mistake the villain(s) of this piece do horrific things in the name of greed and power. Kemp's writing is quick, well paced and exciting...at least as far as when Egil and Nix are on the page.  The sections devoted to Rakon and his machinations made me more than faintly queasy; when the full scope of the horror the Norristru men visited upon their own is made clear, I felt even worse.  How anyone could do such a thing...well.  Its disturbing. I am of two minds in how Egil and Nix dealt with Rakon in the end.  Its really no more than he deserved, but it drove home the fact we're not dealing with two guys who are saints.  They're just as affected by their emotions and notions of right vs wrong as anyone else.  Though it was heartening that they would face the consequences together if any came their way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate Sherrod

    Pulp fantasy, ahoy! One of the downsides of partaking in a subscription service like Angry Robot's ebook one is that occasionally one winds up with a backlog, if one is, as I do, reading a lot of other stuff as well. Since this has been my Summer of Napoleonic War Fiction, I haven't read as much of the genres and genre mash-ups that are Angry Robot's specialty; I've just harvested my subscription each month and sort of gloated at the volume of most-likely-good stuff I have in store for myself. It' Pulp fantasy, ahoy! One of the downsides of partaking in a subscription service like Angry Robot's ebook one is that occasionally one winds up with a backlog, if one is, as I do, reading a lot of other stuff as well. Since this has been my Summer of Napoleonic War Fiction, I haven't read as much of the genres and genre mash-ups that are Angry Robot's specialty; I've just harvested my subscription each month and sort of gloated at the volume of most-likely-good stuff I have in store for myself. It's pretty enjoyable. But then sometimes my feed suddenly contains a sequel, a sequel that makes me curious and I sit down to have a look at it and realize, BOOM!, it's a sequel! And I haven't read the first one yet! But now I really want to! And that's pretty much what happened with the good old-fashioned pulp fantasy funtimes of The Hammer and the Blade, author Paul S. Kemp's first Egil and Nix adventure. Egil and Nix are old adventuring buddies who already have a long and storied history together as this novel starts; in fact, they've been adventuring together for so long that, as they finish their latest bout of tomb-raiding and realize they don't really need the loot anymore, they decide this is going to be their last raid and they're then going to head back to civilization and invest in a legitimate business. Like, say, a brothel.* Because hey, this is still fantasy, you guys. Their ambitions get thwarted, of course, because in the course of their last tomb-raiding mission, they were pretty much forced to kill a demon (this is all just in the prologue, so I'm not really spoiling anything) that turns out to be very important to an ancient and powerful and baroquely weird family back in the city. Our duo may think they're too old for this sheet, but the Norristru clan (the Tessier-Ashpools by way of the Groans, basically) would beg to differ. And said clan are more than powerful enough to get their way, so off go Egil and Nix on yet another adventure. As excuses for a small-scale -- the world and its fate are not at stake, just the lives of our two protagonists -- sword and sorcery tale go, well, I've encountered worse. And I got very quickly involved in rooting for this duo, whose relationship is conducted mostly through very enjoyable and snarky dialogue of that laddish kind in which 95% of the conversation is one giving the other crap for his well-known foibles, in full knowledge that at some point in time said foibles have saved both of their lives. And foibles they most certainly have. Egil, the Hammer, is a priest -- and possibly the only worshipper, making him, as he observes, the High Priest -- of the Momentary God, very devoted to his once-divine-but-only-for-a-little-while-that-one-time deity, a wielder of wit and two great big war-hammers. Nix, the Blade, is a stealth artist and thief, with a satchel full of "gew-gaws" that sometimes help him charm or pick locks and perform other tasks and sometimes backfire in hilariously inconvenient ways They make a fine and successful team, and both are clever and witty and fun to read about. If you're looking for equally interesting and well-rounded female characters, though, ehhh. Egil and Nix have no female counterpart, but I've learned not to expect one (unless I'm reading my good friend Jennifer Williams' work, some of which you, too, will be able to read in a few short months when her publisher [hooray!] releases it to much fanfare. Stay tuned!). There are, though, women on the bad guys' side, a mother and two sisters, members of the main baddie's family, who as the females in the clan bear the horrible, nasty brunt of said clan's pact with the devil that Egil and Nix kill in the prolog. They have powers and schemes of their own, but since their brother keeps them in a drugged sleep through most of the novel, they exist merely as victims and occasional sources of bad dreams for Nix, who finds himself torn between the spell of compulsion their brother laid on him and Egil to encourage their cooperation, which gives him great pain and sick feelings whenever he so much as thinks of rebelling, and the equally sorcery-induced urge to help the sleeping beauties on Rakon's cart. The sisters' one act of real agency, though, is a doozy, resulting nothing more and nothing less than a forced empathy, causing Egil and Nix to experience mentally the very physical horrors in store for the sisters if Rakon succeeds. It's enough. In addition to all the sorcery and tomb-raiding, there are some smashing set-piece battles, especially the mid-novel attack on the caravan by the demonic, reptilian Vwynn, scaly flying beasts with inch-long talons, sharp nasty pointy teeth and wings, that threaten to overwhelm our troop by sheer numbers. It's a great, exciting scene, finely balanced between chaos and detailed blow-by-blow. All in all, this is a great bit of brain candy, full of action and humor and blood and shouty men and shiny armor. And occasional fauxnachronistic language ("incant" and "incanting" are often used, and prove to be almost as annoying to this reader as "whilst") but not so much as to be unforgiveable. Pulp fantasy, how I've missed you! *Said brothel rejoicing in the cheerfully misogynist name of the Slick Tunnel, its cheerful misogyny emphasized for us readers by its constantly being italicized, so the female reader is slapped in the face with it each time the place is named. Did I mention that this book is a bit on the laddish side? Sigh.Still, at least nobody gets raped. At least, not at the Slick Tunnel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

    This novel made me wax nostalgic. It's the type of fantasy I grew up on. This is true sword and sorcery, with brawling kick-ass characters, or the Conan, Indiana Jones vein. Paul pays a lot of homage to the greats like Lieber and Howard and their influence shows. Egil and Nix are great characters to read about, best friends that have each other's backs through everything. They're the type of friends that can't bail each other out of trouble because they're right there in the thick of it together This novel made me wax nostalgic. It's the type of fantasy I grew up on. This is true sword and sorcery, with brawling kick-ass characters, or the Conan, Indiana Jones vein. Paul pays a lot of homage to the greats like Lieber and Howard and their influence shows. Egil and Nix are great characters to read about, best friends that have each other's backs through everything. They're the type of friends that can't bail each other out of trouble because they're right there in the thick of it together. I think they’re the quintessential adventure duo, like Starksy and Hutch, Murtaugh and Riggs, and Mike and Marcus (Badboys fame) all baked into one and seasoned with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser to add some fantastical deliciousness. In this story we meet Nix, a former orphan who was cast out of magus school, and his best friend Egil, a priest of a dead God still mourning some tragic loss in his past. They’re famous tomb-raiders that are thinking of settling down. The story opens with our "heroes" robbing a grave and barely escaping with their lives. Their actions in the tomb cause unforeseen events to spiral out of control for a third party and causes the newly retired brawlers to be dragged away at spell-point on trip to rob another grave that might be their last. The story is a similar one and the plot is no mystery. Any experienced adventure reader can ascertain whats going to happen, but Kemp excels in the how of the plot. And let's be honest, we pick these books up for the moments in between, the pieces that make up the story, the scenes and the characters. And in these parts Kemp does not let us down. The book reads like all of the best action movies. (You know, like the ones that were made in the 80's, when movies were good.) Egil gives some wonderful dialogue about moments, and I believe that the novel is comprised of some very fun and intriguing moments. What I loved about the novel most though was the dialogue. Egil and Nix are at each other constantly and it's hilarious. Their verbal repartee goes on while their fighting captured, and even when their getting their butts handed to them. It reminds me of growing up and playing "The Dozen" or being on the basketball court as a kid and just ribbing each other all day. The jokes and witty banter add levity to the novel that kept the pages turning. The characterization of the duo and the surrounding characters was nice as well. I felt like both Egil and Nix grew a little in the novel which isn't common for this type of fantasy. They discovered what kind of men they really were by the end. I find it intriguing that while this novel would be considered "manly" the women were portrayed better than most masculine stories. By masculine I don't mean that sword and sorcery is more masculine than any other genre, but masculine as far as the setting and most of the characters in lead roles being predominantly male. There are quite a few female characters, but mostly quick secondary roles. I must say I hope to see more Rusilla and Merelda though. As far as females in the story go, one woman in particular actually seems to have had more control over the story than any other character, albeit in a background role and not in a fighting role. Her power and strategic planning made her as intriguing as Egil and Nix. Egil and Nix often were taken aback by the blatant disregard the lady characters had for their chivalry. The scenes would play out as the duo trying to do some damsel saving and finding that said damsel doesn't need their saving and can handle things on their own. More often than not the guys were pawns to great and overwhelming feminine power, you know like men in real life. Nix goes as far as saying that maybe he doesn't know women as well as he think he does. (Poor lad, none of us do. Understanding women is like trying to ascertain what the number nine smells like.) The ending was very rewarding. Seldom do people get their just deserts to me, often justice rears its ugly head and people get away with their machinations in the name of righteousness. Blah, I like Hammurabi's code myself, and was pleased to see some just desserts dispensed. But the dispensing isn't half as bad as I'm letting on, and those who like lawful goody two-shoes heroes would probably be just as pleased with the ending as me. I think it's more of a compromise between justice and revenge. Overall there are just a couple of lulls in the action in the middle that I didn't like as much. There was a bit of a drag where I felt like I was waiting for something to happen. And I would have liked to see a little more flash, some added sorcery or power from our heroes. But in the end it was a great story and I will be reading the next Egil and Nix story. It's titled “A Discourse in Steel,” and with a sexy title like that it has to be a great action adventure.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stefan

    I have been a long time fan of Paul’s work since his first book from Wizards of the Coast and was fortunate enough to receive an eARC of The Hammer and The Blade from Angry Robots Books (release date June 26, 2012). I was very excited to read this one as Paul was able to bring his flair for dark, flawed characters to a world of his own creation. The Hammer and the Blade is swords and sorcery at its best. The book opens with Nix the Quick, a thief with some talent for magic, and Egil, a priest of I have been a long time fan of Paul’s work since his first book from Wizards of the Coast and was fortunate enough to receive an eARC of The Hammer and The Blade from Angry Robots Books (release date June 26, 2012). I was very excited to read this one as Paul was able to bring his flair for dark, flawed characters to a world of his own creation. The Hammer and the Blade is swords and sorcery at its best. The book opens with Nix the Quick, a thief with some talent for magic, and Egil, a priest of the Momentary god, robbing a tomb. The duo hope this will be their last adventure and plan to buy their favorite tavern and put their adventuring days behind them. The guardian of the tomb they kill is part of a pact between House Thyss and House Norristru and set in motion a chain of events that are the basis for the central plot of the book. Upon the arrival at their newly acquired tavern they are “convinced” to recover an artifact for Rakon, the head of House Norristru. Egil and Nix are the perfect compliment to each other, Egil is slower to act, more introspective, but when he does speak it is usually profound. Nix, on the other hand has a tongue as sharp as his sword and quick to act, yet has secrets he keeps from his closest friend. Their witty and sarcastic banter give the reader a clue to how deep their friendship runs and makes you wonder about the adventures these two have experienced together. The time period in which the book takes place marks a perfect place for the series. The stories that follow could be their previous adventures or a follow-up to this one. I personally would like to see the former, as I would love to know how Egil and Nix met. Paul drops a few hints about their past that wets the appetite for more. Paul paints the characters, especially Egil and Nix, not in black in white but shades of gray. They are flawed and have done many things they regret and their reflections on these events, especially Nix, give greater depth to their characters. His villains are not the standard one-dimensional bad guys, but complex and compelling characters. Their motivations are understandable and even pitiable. I found myself drawn in by Rakon’s plight at the beginning of the book and then shocked by the lengths he would take to realize his goal. I was highly entertained by this book and look forward to reading more. The next book in the series, A Discourse in Steel, will be available in 2013. While you are waiting for the June 26 release date you can check out Paul’s previous works. Erevis Cale, his signature character from Wizard of the Coast’s Forgotten realms, spans six books, and several short stories. He has also written several Star Wars books as well. I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it. The Hammer and the Blade is available for pre-order now.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mia Darien

    I think I'm now in love with Paul S. Kemp. Is it because he wrote a great story? No, even though he did. Is it because he wrote prose that was engaging and easy to read? No, even though he did. Is it because he managed to do the "life long friend" banter that so many try and fail at, without it seeming forced? No, even though he did. Is it because he wrote a seamless story where all noted details from character or setting were not forgotten and used at the latter part of the book? No, even though he I think I'm now in love with Paul S. Kemp. Is it because he wrote a great story? No, even though he did. Is it because he wrote prose that was engaging and easy to read? No, even though he did. Is it because he managed to do the "life long friend" banter that so many try and fail at, without it seeming forced? No, even though he did. Is it because he wrote a seamless story where all noted details from character or setting were not forgotten and used at the latter part of the book? No, even though he did. Is it because he managed to write three-dimensional, grey-shaded, believable characters, who can do right or wrong like "real" people but you still like and cheer on? No, even though he did. Is it because the end was, indeed, as one reviewer said, 'disturbing and fulfilling' and, to me, full of poetic justice? No, even though he did. No, the reason why I am now very much a fan of this author is because of this. Sexual violence against women is over-used in much fiction, particular thrillers and fantasy. It can be done "properly," but rarely is. Most often it is gratuitous. It reads like a cheap ploy that is considered "okay" to over-use. This is a fast way to get a bad rating from me. It offends me when applied in such ways. I get a twitch especially when it's male authors writing it quite so flippantly, without any consideration to its true horror. (Why does is bother me more than "regular" violence? I don't know. Just does.) We all have our things and anyone who has read enough of my reviews knows that this is one of mine; if I can't see it "justified" or "treated right" in a story, that story bothers me. Tonight while reading this book, I came upon this passage on page 350: "A word moved through Nix's mind, a foul word, an appalling word irreducible beyond the horror and pain it evoked... Rape." The author and his book had already won me, but this really drove it in. The story "got it." It's for all these reasons that I really, really enjoyed this book and will now happily dash off to read more of his work. Of course, the fatalist in me worries that I'll read something in another novel that will ruin my good opinion...but I hope not; think not. Even so, this one was a winner for me. My "favorite author" slot might just have competition.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard Guion

    This is a great fantasy novel for people who loved Conan, Fafrhd and the Grey Mouser, or other classic sword and sorcery stories. But the best part is, even though it is a solid S&S tale, it is written with modern sensibilities. Egil and Nix are at first glance very much like the famous Fritz Leiber duo, but they really share a great banter back and forth and there are many funny lines of dialogue between them. The book starts off with great action right away, as they are robbing a tomb protecte This is a great fantasy novel for people who loved Conan, Fafrhd and the Grey Mouser, or other classic sword and sorcery stories. But the best part is, even though it is a solid S&S tale, it is written with modern sensibilities. Egil and Nix are at first glance very much like the famous Fritz Leiber duo, but they really share a great banter back and forth and there are many funny lines of dialogue between them. The book starts off with great action right away, as they are robbing a tomb protected by mystical wards. Later they have some hilarity over a new business venture and then the plot thickens when they are "recruited" to rob yet another tomb. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Nick Poedhl - awesome job and he is the perfect person for this material, he really makes it come alive. Poedhl is now on my top flight list of narrators. I do recommend getting this on audio if you can.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nafiza

    I'm not much of a fantasy novel type simply because of the overdone tropes but I wound up loving this story! Looking back it's a pretty basic concept: Two rogue adventurers get in to trouble and things are't what they seem. Add in a couple damsels in distress and there you go. BUT once I actually sat down and got in to the story I was hooked by the depth of the characters. Witty writing, humor and realistic personalities shined through along with the twisting storytelling. the pacing was excellen I'm not much of a fantasy novel type simply because of the overdone tropes but I wound up loving this story! Looking back it's a pretty basic concept: Two rogue adventurers get in to trouble and things are't what they seem. Add in a couple damsels in distress and there you go. BUT once I actually sat down and got in to the story I was hooked by the depth of the characters. Witty writing, humor and realistic personalities shined through along with the twisting storytelling. the pacing was excellent with plenty of action so while the usual fantasy hallmarks were present they wove in very well. I'm very likely to read the next book in the series which is very unlike my usual reading habits but that just attests to how unusually good I found this tory.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lillith

    I fell in love with this story within the first two pages. Thus far The Hammer And The Blade has everything I've come to expect from Paul Kemp's writing. It is dark, humorous, scathingly witty, and full of action and magic and WIN. And LOLs. (I snuck through a few pages at work and had to stifle chuckles-out-loud.) If I were to put in a request for someone to write a book perfectly tailored to my tastes, I would get The Hammer And The Blade. I fell in love with this story within the first two pages. Thus far The Hammer And The Blade has everything I've come to expect from Paul Kemp's writing. It is dark, humorous, scathingly witty, and full of action and magic and WIN. And LOLs. (I snuck through a few pages at work and had to stifle chuckles-out-loud.) If I were to put in a request for someone to write a book perfectly tailored to my tastes, I would get The Hammer And The Blade.

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Cox

    A good read. Lots of adventure and who doesn't like a good sword fight. A good read. Lots of adventure and who doesn't like a good sword fight.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell

    The Hammer and the Blade is a fun romp that centers around the two main characters, Egil and Nix. I don't have enough to say for a full review, other than this book was exactly what I was expecting it to be--a near-cinematic experience that, while not necessarily as deep and rewarding as other books, still embraces its role as an adventure tale. Egil and Nix are given good chemistry, and I really bought in to the relationship between the two of them. There are also nice arcs and relationships wit The Hammer and the Blade is a fun romp that centers around the two main characters, Egil and Nix. I don't have enough to say for a full review, other than this book was exactly what I was expecting it to be--a near-cinematic experience that, while not necessarily as deep and rewarding as other books, still embraces its role as an adventure tale. Egil and Nix are given good chemistry, and I really bought in to the relationship between the two of them. There are also nice arcs and relationships with the side characters of the books, and I even felt connected to the red shirts of the story. I will say I wish Egil had been a bit more developed, or as much so at least as Nix, but I also am glad the book did not ruin its fast-paced nature by spending too much time wallowing in backstory and whatnot. Generally speaking, I would have given this book four stars, as it was an adventure I had a lot of fun reading. However, I am not a fan of the ending and the morality of it. Reading the conclusion made me uncomfortable, and nothing up until that point in the book makes me think I'm supposed to confront that discomfort and question the deeper meaning of the choice--instead, the "big damn heroes" tone of the story makes me think I'm supposed to be cheering at the conclusion. Instead it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Not enough to make me despise the book, by any means, or to stop me from picking up A Discourse In Steel, but it was definitely a noticeable blip in an otherwise entertaining read. If you're looking for something lighter and more about fun and adventure than, say, grim tidings and depression, then I do strongly recommend picking this book up!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Snowleesi

    I'm a bit weary of leaving another review of this type, but here goes. I always feel obligated to give a book a chance when I receive it as a free ARC, even if its genre does not typically "float my boat". While fantasy is usually my genre of choice, the sword-and -sorcery subsection definitely isn't. "The Hammer and the Blade" is certainly a sword-and-sorcery novel, which I could enjoy only if it took itself seriously and gave me plenty of opportunity for strife and angst. This novel is a light I'm a bit weary of leaving another review of this type, but here goes. I always feel obligated to give a book a chance when I receive it as a free ARC, even if its genre does not typically "float my boat". While fantasy is usually my genre of choice, the sword-and -sorcery subsection definitely isn't. "The Hammer and the Blade" is certainly a sword-and-sorcery novel, which I could enjoy only if it took itself seriously and gave me plenty of opportunity for strife and angst. This novel is a lighthearted treatment of the subject, alas, and so it did very little to hold my interest. I dare say, however, that if funny sword-and-sorcery fantasy is the stuff of your dreams, this is definitely one of the best of its kind. Characters are very vividly drawn and their banter sharp. There's also strife aplenty here, unfortunatelly, not enough of the right kind of ingredients to keep my attention. DNF at 39%.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alon Lankri

    There is a lot to like here. The morally ambiguous characters are interesting, and the world is well-developed. The author is also a skilled wordsmith, describing things in interesting ways, even if at times they make little sense. I didn't feel grabbed enough by the story though, and at times considered putting it down. I didn't care enough about the characters, the priest of a god that makes no sense and the thief/mage without a real history beyond a couple sentences. The injuries here leave n There is a lot to like here. The morally ambiguous characters are interesting, and the world is well-developed. The author is also a skilled wordsmith, describing things in interesting ways, even if at times they make little sense. I didn't feel grabbed enough by the story though, and at times considered putting it down. I didn't care enough about the characters, the priest of a god that makes no sense and the thief/mage without a real history beyond a couple sentences. The injuries here leave no lasting impact on characters, the battles feel like there are no stakes. The solutions to battles are supposed to be clever but feel contrived, and the lack of special abilities makes the wins feel unrealistic. The novel ends without a hook to pull to book 2.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Good stuff for those looking for a sword & sorcery fix with a modern vocabulary and telling points. Egil, the 'priest', a huge bear like individual with two hammers, and Nix, a lowly rogue who normally practices with the falchion and hand axe, make their way through tombs and loot like a duo of classic 'bad' good guys. Good stuff for those looking for a sword & sorcery fix with a modern vocabulary and telling points. Egil, the 'priest', a huge bear like individual with two hammers, and Nix, a lowly rogue who normally practices with the falchion and hand axe, make their way through tombs and loot like a duo of classic 'bad' good guys.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.