Thieves' World

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Thieves' World #1 (Original Printing)

Thieves' World is a shared world fantasy series created by Robert Lynn Asprin in 1978. The original series comprised twelve anthologies, including stories by such science fiction authors as Poul Anderson, John Brunner, Andrew J. Offutt, C. J. Cherryh, Janet Morris, and Chris Morris. The Morrises introduced the Sacred Band of Stepsons[1] in Thieves' World and spun off a series of novels about them and their ancient cavalry commander, Tempus. The first three novels in The Sacred Band of Stepsons saga were authorized Thieves World novels. Marion Zimmer Bradley was an early contributor but spun off her main character in the novel Lythande (1986) and did not return for later volumes. The series went on hiatus after the twelfth anthology. In addition to the official anthologies, several authors published novels set in the milieu of Thieves World.

Thieves' World is set in the city of Sanctuary, located at the edge of the Rankan Empire. The city is depicted as a place where many are downtrodden and where the invading Rankan gods and the Ilsigi gods they had ousted begin a struggle for primacy. As the series continues, additional invasions occur, and the city is taken over by the snake-worshipping Beysib as the Rankan empire collapses. Over time, a number of the characters in the series are revealed either to be the offspring of or otherwise blessed by various figures in the pantheons of the competing cultures, and they discover or develop various powers as the series progresses.

In 2002, Lynn Abbey, who co-edited several of the original anthologies, relaunched the series with the novel Sanctuary. It was followed by the anthologies Turning Points and Enemies of Fortune, which contain some returning authors and several new ones. Abbey also oversaw the republication of the original anthologies in omnibus editions.

Original anthologies[edit]

  • Thieves' World (1979) ISBN 0-441-80582-5
    • "Sentences of Death" by John Brunner
    • "The Face of Chaos" by Lynn Abbey
    • "The Gate of the Flying Knives" by Poul Anderson
    • "Shadowspawn" by Andrew Offutt
    • "The Price of Doing Business" by Robert Asprin
    • "Blood Brothers" by Joe Haldeman
    • "Myrtis" by Christine DeWees
    • "The Secret of the Blue Star" by Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • Essay: "The Making of Thieves World"
  • Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn (1980) ISBN 0-44179578-1
    • "Spiders of the Purple Mage" by Philip José Farmer
    • "Goddess" by David Drake
    • "The Fruit of Enlibar" by Lynn Abbey
    • "The Dream of the Sorceress" by A.E. van Vogt
    • "Vashanka's Minion" by Janet Morris
    • "Shadow's Pawn" by Andrew J. Offutt
    • "To Guard the Guardians" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • Essay: "The Lighter Side of Sanctuary" by Robert Asprin
  • Shadows of Sanctuary (1981) ISBN 0-441-76028-7
    • "Looking for Satan" by Vonda N. McIntyre
    • "Ischade" by C.J. Cherryh
    • "A Gift in Parting" by Robert Asprin
    • "The Vivisectionist" by Andrew J. Offutt
    • "The Rhinoceros and the Unicorn" by Diana L. Paxson
    • "Then Azyuna Danced" by Lynn Abbey
    • "A Man and His God" by Janet Morris
    • Essay: "Things the Editor Never Told Me" by Lynn Abbey
  • Storm Season (1982) ISBN 0-441-78712-6
    • "Exercise in Pain" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "Downwind" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "A Fugitive Art" by Diana L. Paxson
    • "Steel" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Wizard Weather" by Janet Morris
    • "Godson" by Andrew J. Offutt
  • The Face of Chaos (1983) ISBN 0-441-80587-6
    • "High Moon" by Janet Morris
    • "Necromant" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "The Art of Alliance" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "The Corners of Memory" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Votary" by David Drake
    • "Mirror Image" by Diana L. Paxson
  • Wings of Omen (1984) ISBN 0-441-805949
    • "What Women Do Best" by Chris and Janet Morris
    • "Daughter of the Sun" by Robin W. Bailey
    • "A Breath of Power" by Diana L. Paxson
    • "The Hand That Feeds You" by Diane Duane
    • "Witching Hour" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "Rebels Aren't Born in Palaces" by Andrew J. Offutt
    • "Gyskouras" by Lynn Abbey
    • "A Fish With Feathers is Out of His Depth" by Robert Lynn Asprin
  • The Dead of Winter (1985) ISBN 0-441-14089-0
    • "Hell to Pay" by Janet Morris
    • "The Veiled Lady, or A Look at the Normal Folk" by Andrew Offutt
    • "The God-Chosen" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Keeping Promises" by Robin W. Bailey
    • "Armies of the Night" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "Down by the Riverside" by Diane Duane
    • "When the Spirit Moves You" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "The Color of Magic" by Diana L. Paxson
  • Soul of the City (1986) ISBN 0-441-77581-0
    • "Power Play" by Janet Morris
    • "Dagger in the Mind" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "Children of All Ages" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Death in the Meadow" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "The Small Powers that Endure" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Pillar of Fire" by Janet Morris
  • Blood Ties (1986) ISBN 0-441-80595-7
    • "Introduction" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "Lady of Fire" by Diana L. Paxson
    • "Sanctuary Is for Lovers" by Janet and Chris Morris
    • "Lovers Who Slay Together" by Robin Wayne Bailey
    • "In the Still of the Night" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "No Glad in Gladiator" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "The Tie That Binds" by Diane Duane
    • "Sanctuary Nocturne" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Spellmaster" by Andrew Offutt and Jodie Offutt
    • "Afterword" by C. J. Cherryh
  • Aftermath (1987) ISBN 0-441-80597-3
    • "Introduction" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "Cade" by Mark C. Perry
    • "Wake of the Riddler" by Janet Morris
    • "Inheritor" by David Drake
    • "Mercy Worse Than None" by John Brunner
    • "Seeing is Believing (But Love Is Blind)" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Homecoming" by Andrew Offutt
  • Uneasy Alliances (1988) ISBN 0-441-80610-4
    • "Introduction" by Lynn Abbey
    • "Slave Trade" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "The Best of Friends" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "The Power of Kings" by Jon DeCles
    • "Red Light, Love Light" by Chris Morris
    • "A Sticky Business" by C. S. Williams
    • "The Promise of Heaven" by Robin Wayne Bailey
    • "The Vision of Lalo" by Diana L. Paxson
  • Stealers' Sky (1989) ISBN 0-441-80612-0
    • "Introduction" by Robert Lynn Asprin
    • "Night Work" by Andrew Offutt
    • "The Incompetent Audience" by John DeCles
    • "Our Vintage Years" by Duane McGowen
    • "Quicksilver Dreams" by Diana L. Paxson
    • "Winds of Fortune" by C. J. Cherryh
    • "The Fire in a God's Eye" by Robin Wayne Bailey
    • "Web Weavers" by Lynn Abbey
    • "To Begin Agai" by Robert Lynn Asprin

New anthologies[edit]

  • Turning Points (2002)
    • Introduction by Lynn Abbey
    • Home Is Where the Hate Is by Mickey Zucker Reichert
    • Role Model by Andrew Offutt
    • The Prisoner in the Jewel by Diane L. Paxson
    • Ritual Evolution by Selina Rosen
    • Duel by Dennis L. Mckiernan
    • Ring of Sea and Fire by Robin Wayne Bailey
    • Doing the Gods' Work by Jody Lynn Nye
    • The Red Lucky by Lynn Abbey
    • Apocalypse Noun by Jeff Grubb
    • One to Go by Raymond E. Feist
    • Afterword by Lynn Abbey
  • Enemies of Fortune (2004)
    • Introduction by Lynn Abbey
    • Widowmaker by C. J. Cherryh and Jane Fancher
    • Deadly Ritual by Mickey Zucker Reichert
    • Pricks and Afflictions by Dennis L. Mckiernan
    • Consequences by Jody Lynn Nye
    • Good Neighbours by Lynn Abbey
    • Gathering Strength by Selina Rosen
    • Dark of the Moon by Andrew Offutt
    • Protection by Robin Wayne Bailey
    • Legacies by Jane Fancher and C. J. Cherryh
    • Malediction by Jeff Grubb
    • The Ghost in the Phoenix by Diana L. Paxson and Ian Grey
    • The Man from Shemhaza by Steven Brust

Novels and collections[edit]

There are seven official novels, several unofficial novels and various collections and short stories outside the official anthologies.

The official novels are:

The first three novels by Janet Morris were published in hardcover by Baen Books and as Science Fiction Book Club Selections. The first six Morris novels were published in mass market paperback by Ace Books and subsequently expanded in Author's Cut trade paper editions by Perseid Press. The first novel, Janet Morris's Beyond Sanctuary combines two stories from the anthologies with additional stories, weaving the whole into novel form. The first part of the novel Dagger appeared in the anthology Aftermath.

Other novels/collections include:

  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lythande (1986) - collection - includes two stories from the anthologies
  • Janet Morris, Tempus (1987) - novel collecting the Tempus stories from the anthologies
  • Janet Morris, Chris Morris, City at the Edge of Time (1988) - novel
  • Janet Morris, Chris Morris,Tempus Unbound (1989) - novel
  • Janet Morris, Chris Morris, Storm Seed (1990) - novel
  • Janet Morris, Chris Morris, The Sacred Band (2010) - novel
  • Janet Morris, Chris Morris, Tempus With His Right Side Companion Niko (2011) - novelization and edit of previously released material
  • Janet Morris, Chris Morris, The Fish the Fighters and the Song-girl (2012) - novelization and edit of previously released material
  • Gordon R. Dickson, Beyond the Dar Al-Harb (1985) - novella - collected in the Tor Books collection of the same name is similar to, but not really part of the Thieves World universe

Short stories[edit]

  • Poul Anderson, "The Valor of Cappen Varra" (1957) - short story - first published in Fantastic Universe Science Fiction magazine
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, "Bitch" (1987) - short story, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, February 1987
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, "The Walker Behind" (1987) - short story - The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1987
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, "The Malice of the Demon" (1988) - short story - The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1988
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, "Here There Be Dragons?" (1995) - short story
  • Robin Wayne Bailey, "The Stars Are Tears" (1996) - short story
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, "The Gratitude of Kings" (1998) - short story
  • Poul Anderson, "The Lady of the Winds" (2001) - short story - later collected in Tor Books anthology First Blood
  • Lynn Abbey, "A Tale of Two Cities" (2005) - short story included in the Thieves' World Player's Manual

Omnibuses[edit]

  • Sanctuary 1982. Book Club hardcover omnibus collecting Thieves’ World, Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn, and Shadows of Sanctuary.
  • Cross-Currents 1984. Book Club Hardcover omnibus collecting: "Storm Season", “The Face of Chaos”, and "Wings of Omen".
  • The Shattered Sphere 1986. Book Club Hardcover omnibus collecting: “The Dead of Winter”, “Soul of the City”, and “Blood Ties”.
  • The Price of Victory 1989. Book Club Hardcover omnibus collecting: "Aftermath", "Uneasy Alliances", and "Stealers’ Sky".
  • First Blood 2003. Tor Paperback omnibus collecting Thieves’ World, Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn, and The Lady of the Winds.

Comics[edit]

Starblaze Graphics 1985. Illustrated by Tim Sale. The original series was all black and white except for the covers.

  • Thieves World 1. Containing: 1) Introduction; 2) Someone is always awake in Sanctuary... (original); 3) Sentences of Death; 4) Myrtis; 5) The Price of Doing Business.
  • Thieves World 2. Containing: 1) Blood Brothers; 2) The Face of Chaos; 3) Gaeta (original); 4) Shadowspawn.
  • Thieves World 3. Containing: 1) The Dream of the Sorceress; The Blue Camel (original); 3) Vashanka's Minion.
  • Thieves World 4. Containing: 1) Shadow's Pawn; 2) Runcigor and Alminda (original); 3) To Guard the Guardians.
  • Thieves World 5. Containing: 1) Looking for Satan; 2) Ischade; 3) A Gift in Parting.
  • Thieves World 6. Containing: 1) The Vivisectionist; 2) The Rhinoceros and the Unicorn; 3) Arvo the Nose (original).

Thieves World Graphics collects volumes 1 to 3 above, colorised and with a new cover by David A. Cherry

Role playing games[edit]

  • Thieves' World Complete Sanctuary Adventure Pack (Chaosium Box Set, 1981). Containing: 1) The Player's Guide to Sanctuary; 2) The Gamemaster's Guide to Sanctuary; 3) Personalities of Sanctuary; 4) Map of Sanctuary; 5) Map of the Maze; 6) Map of the Maze Underground.[2]
  • The Blue Camel (mini-adventure; FASA, 1982)
  • T1 - Traitor (FASA, 1982)
  • T2 - Spirit Stones (FASA, 1982)
  • T3 - Dark Assassin (FASA, 1982)
  • T4 - Vengeance (FASA, 198?)
  • Sanctuary Under the Beysibs (Chaosium Companion, 1986)
  • Thieves' World Player's Manual (Green Ronin, 2005)
  • Shadowspawn's Guide to Sanctuary (Green Ronin, 2005)
  • Thieves' World Gazetteer (Green Ronin, 2005)
  • Murder at the Vulgar Unicorn (Green Ronin, 2005)
  • Black Snake Dawn (Green Ronin, 2007)

Board game[edit]

  • Sanctuary: Thieves World (Mayfair Games, 1982).

Characters[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ the Sacred Band of Stepsons
  2. ^ Dickinson, Oliver (April–May 1982). "Open Box: Thieves' World". White Dwarf (review). Games Workshop (30): 15. ISSN 0265-8712. 

External links[edit]