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The Hammer and the Blade Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Egil and Nix Series

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Editorial Reviews


"The structure of the story has the feeling of a classic Dungeons & Dragons campaign as the heroes and supporting cast cross a wasted plateau in search of the tomb; however, the strong characters, setting, and history turn what could be a cookie-cutter adventure into a gripping tale." - Publisher's Weekly

"Enough page-turning mayhem to sate the most avid sword & sorcery fans" – Elaine Cunningham, author of The Thorn Trilogy 

"This rollicking tale hooked me from the get-go. Told with zest and humor, this is everything that is good and golden about classic old-school fantasy yarns. It joins my precious bedside shelf of favorite re-reads, 'comfort food' books I turn to again and again. Egil and Nix might not be the safest guys to go adventuring with, but they're sure good company. I'll be waiting for a sequel. Impatiently." – Ed Greenwood, bestselling creator of Forgotten Realms

"The Hammer and the Blade is an instant classic, with its punchy sense of humor, likeable heroes, and fast-paced, creative fight sequences. Killing a demon is just the prologue and after that the real adventure begins." - City Book Review

About the Author

Paul S. Kemp is a lawyer.  That is bad.  He is also the bestselling author of the Erevis Cale sword and sorcery stories and several Star Wars novels.  That is good.  It's a little known fact that Paul has maimed eight men and three llamas using only an unsharpened pencil and a stick of Wrigley's gum.  Now you know, too.  He does not hum show tunes.  Paul lives in Michigan with his wife and twin sons.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780857662453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857662453
  • ASIN: 0857662457
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sword and Sorcery is making something of a renaissance in genre fiction, thanks in no small part very recently to writers like Scott Lynch, James Barclay, and James Enge. Part of the reason for such a flourishing of these personal tales of fantasy featuring blue collar heroes getting in over their head is the popularity of role playing games over the past couple of decades allowing players to participate in what amounted to collaborative sword and sorcery storytelling. One of the most popular and widely played games during that time (and now) is The Forgotten Realms and one of the more popular authors of novels tied into that franchise is Paul S. Kemp. That's the long way of saying how Kemp's pedigree, for lack of a better term, provides him with a strong foundation to pen his first novel set outside any previous shared worlds to which he contributed. Thus, we have The Hammer and The Blade A Tale of Egil and Nix. I'm very pleased to say this sword and sorcery novel was a blast.

Through an engaging prologue Kemp introduces the readers to Egil and Nix through a quick dungeon adventure whereby the Priest (Egil) and Thief (Nix) rob the tomb of an ancient entity. The prologue would work excellently as a short story but also sets a solid foundation for the story Kemp will tell in The Hammer and The Blade by giving a sense of the relationship between the two protagonists. Egil and Nix planned on using the payout from their treasure to buy their favorite tavern so they could retire and live out their days in relaxation rather than fighting and adventuring.

OK, that's the basic plot of the novel.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Hammer and the Blade is an outstanding new entry in the nearly 80 year old Sword & Sorcery genre. You'll find all of the swashbuckling action, horror and witty banter that you'd get with Leiber's Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser stories along with some very compelling questions about gender, morality and free will.

Despite those rather weighty sounding topics, the book is an absolute blast to read. The dialogue and action move at a brisk pace and the book is packed with all of the swords, tombs, traps and demons you could ask for.

As a result of some cleverly written dialogue, I learned a lot about the world of Ellerth and its inhabitants without wading through long sections of dry exposition. Ellerth, as it turns out, is a world of ancient ruins, seedy taverns and dangerous creatures. True to the book's Sword & Sorcery roots, magic is present but feels unpredictable and exotic. It's all a bit dangerous and grubby, not unlike Egil & Nix themselves.

The pacing is excellent and the characters are both interesting and believable. I did feel that the point of view was skewed towards Nix; I wish I could have learned a bit more about Egil. Having said that, Egil wasn't a bland or boring character by any means and the supporting characters also felt very real.

The Hammer and the Blade is, without question, one of the best books I've read this year. It's faithful to the Sword & Sorcery genre while not descening in to pastiche. Above all, it's an incredible amount of fun to read. I look forward to reading more about Egil & Nix's adventures in the near future.
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By Anne on September 12, 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Found this little gem while trying out a new list of fantasy authors and does not disappoint! The story starts off with two grave robbers who are just trying to make their way in the world with interesting methods and a "Why not?" attitude. The story jumps straight to one of their gigs. The funny part is that they don't end up getting in trouble for stealing, but destroying the tomb's guardian. The characters are interesting, the world believable, and the action keeps your attention while the dialog keeps you laughing. A great read!
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By DRRD on February 21, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this one a lot, and will read the next one.

Some of the humor is a bit juvenile, but pretty much par for the course. I did see the ending coming, but I don't think it's meant as a big surprise. And the subject matter is a bit dark, but not uncomfortably so. Probably pretty tame compared to some other fantasies.

But it was a fun romp with two characters I can like, and fits the "Buddy Story" relationship I look for. The two characters are flawed, but with good hearts and no real evil in them. And the action sequences were exciting and didn't last so long as to get boring.

Hope the next one is as good.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Egil and Nix are thieves. Good thieves, as a matter of fact. True, they have side interests and pasts. Nix knows something of magic. Egil was trained as a priest of the Momentary God. Both of them have pasts and long careers as thieves, years of tomb robbing and other unsavory jobs.

Now, the results of their last and most profitable mission come back to haunt them, as a consequence of their looting of a demonically haunted tomb leads a noble house with their own pacts with demons to need their services. Under false pretenses, of course, and whether or not Nix and Egil are willing to take the job...

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S. Kemp, brings us into a world reminiscent of Fritz Leiber's Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser, the underbelly of the city of Sanctuary, the Novaria stories of L Sprague De Camp, Michael Shea, and many others.

In other words, yeah, The Hammer and the Blade is Sword and Sorcery, if Sword and Sorcery has any meaning as a term or subgenre. And Old School Sword and Sorcery at that.

The strengths of the novels are many. In a Sword and Sorcery novel, with a focus tightly on a couple of protagonists, the novel rises and falls on those characters appealing to the reader. The author hits this solidly with Nix and Egil. We immediately get the sense that this pair has known each other for quite a while, knows each others foibles and get along well together. I hesitate to use the word bromance, but the relationship between the pair is indeed close. Its too crude to say that Nix is an expy of the Grey Mouser and Egil is an expy of Fafhrd, but the author seems to be trying to make at least a gentle evocation of those two classic characters. Nix is the street-rat, Egil is from the out-country. Egil is power and force, Nix is stealth and skill.
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