Swords & Sorcery

Editor: L. Sprague de Camp.
Publisher: Pyramid Books, New York.
Date of publication: December 1963.
Original price: 50c.

Back of paperback


Front of paperback

Front and back cover by Virgil Finlay.


The book contains seven interior illustrations by Virgil Finlay. Each illustration is placed between a short introduction of author and story, and the story itself.

According to Robert Weinberg this book was the first all swords-and-sorcery anthology ever published. The original of the painting on the frontcover can be found at the art section of Robert Weinberg's web-site.

In 'Fantasy Collectors's Annual ~ 1974', Gerry de la Ree reports that Virgil Finlay was contracted in 1963 to do the cover for the Pyramid pocketbook. Finlay did a series of preliminary sketches, of which three black-and-white (so-called) roughs are reproduced in 'Fantasy Collectors's Annual ~ 1974'. Two of the sketches were finished by George Barr. Finlay also did three detailed full-color sketches.

In July 1964, a presentation copy was given to J.R.R. Tolkien by L. Sprague de Camp.

Inner front page
Paperback owned by J.R.R.Tolkien

The copy owned by J.R.R.Tolkien is signed and dated by him as: 'J.R.R. Tolkien | from L. Sprague de Camp | July 1964'. The '4' in 1964 seems a corrected '2'.

On August 30, 1964, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to to L. Sprague de Camp, about his opinion of the contributions to the anthology Swords & Sorcery. Quotes from this letter were published in Mythlore 50. He also wrote a critique of "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweler", one of the contributions to the collection, on a sheet of stationary from the Hotel Miramar, East Overcliff, Bournemouth.