Swords & Sorcery

From Tolkien Gateway
Swords & Sorcery: Action, magic, enchantment — eight novelettes by masters of heroic fantasy
Swords and Sorcery.png
EditorL. Sprague de Camp
IllustratorVirgil Finlay
PublisherNew York: Pyramid Books
ReleasedDecember 1963

Swords & Sorcery is a collection of short stories of heroic fantasy.

The editor of the anthology, L. Sprague de Camp, sent a copy to Tolkien in 1964. Tolkien "found [the anthology] interesting but did not much like the stories in it".[1][2] Tolkien sent a letter in 1964 about the anthology to de Camp,[3] and also wrote a critique of "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweler", one of the contributions to the collection.[4][5]

De Camp mentions Tolkien in his Introduction: "..let us give credit to [William] Morris for reviving the genre. Echoes of his novel [The Well at the World's End] are still heard in J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring trilogy and in Fletcher Pratt's The Well of the Unicorn".

Contents[edit | edit source]

  • L. Sprague de Camp: "Introduction: Heroic Fantasy"
  • Poul Anderson: "The Valor of Cappen Varra"
  • Lord Dunsany: "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweller"
  • Robert E. Howard: "Shadows in the Moonlight"
  • Henry Kuttner: "The Citadel of Darkness"
  • Fritz Leiber: "When the Sea King's Away"
  • H.P. Lovecraft: "The Doom that came to Sarnath"
  • C.L. Moore: "Hellsgarde"
  • Clark Ashton Smith: "The Testament of Athammaus"

From the back[edit | edit source]

Here are tales of heroes of old - brawny adventurers ready to storm the gates of Hell with their valor and ready blades for a purse of gold ... or a wench. And here are a legion of wizards, ghouls, demons - and worse - casting dire enchantments and summoning all the powers of darkness to their aid. ...

In this anthology of heroic fantasy, SPRAGUE DE CAMP has collected stories which resound with the clash of battle in the eerie night ... which reek the unholy smoke of the magician's cell ... which draw the reader into a strange, thrilling, weird world of SWORDS AND SORCERY


  1. L. Sprague de Camp, Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers, pp. 243-4
  2. Dale Nelson, "Howard, Robert E. (1906-36)", in J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (Michael D.C. Drout, ed.), p. 287
  3. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 622
  4. ID:000971 at TolkienBookshelf.com (accessed 19 September 2011)
  5. A Signed Book... at TolkienLibrary.com (accessed 19 September 2011)