Mind your coin purses, I’m doing Thieves’ World all week.
Thieves’ World began as, and largely remained, a series of
anthologies and novels. They differ from most fantasy of the time and since in
that they are by multiple writers working in a shared world under the guidance
of creators and editors Robert Lynn Asprin and Lynn Abbey.
The world consists mostly of Sanctuary, a frontier city
recently conquered by the Ranken Empire, then later conquered again by the
Beysibs. The stories follow a large cast of characters, mostly unpleasant ones,
as they live, love, plot and pilfer their way through their seedy existences.
Unlike a lot of fantasy worlds, the way the multiple authors weaves their
stories and characters in and out of each other’s work, lets the city of
Sanctuary breathe in a unique way. After Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar, Sanctuary’s
gritty vibe of an occupied city could probably be my favorite literary fantasy
setting (maybe because it seems like a bit of a Lankhmar knock-off).
Except, I’ve not really read the books. Though I own a couple
of the anthologies, I know Thieves’ World primarily from the comics and the
roleplaying supplements you’ll see over the next couple days. One surprising
side effect of that? I have no idea who those characters in green are, the two
blonde men and the dark haired woman. They appear on nearly every effing Thieves’
World cover, but I’ve no clue why, because when I think Thieves’ World, I think
Tempus and Jubal and Hanse Shadowspawn and Illyria and Enas Yorl and Hakiem and
a dozen other actual major characters. These ain’t them. So if you know, PLEASE
I don’t love the depictions on the other covers, either. They
feel too generic fantasy for me, for reasons that will become clear tomorrow…