Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Thieves' World: Turning Points
edited by Lynn Abbey
Tor Books, 320 pages

Thieves' World: Turning Points
Lynn Abbey
Lynn Abbey was born in the city of Peekskill, New York. She attended the University of Rochester getting 2 degrees in European history and was working on a PhD, when she decided to become a computer programmer working in New York City for a large insurance company. About the time of the NYC Bankruptcy Crisis of 1976, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. There she began work on her first novel, Daughter of the Bright Moon. Through 80s, she wrote more novels and co-edited (with Robert Asprin) the 12 volumes of Thieves' World,a shared-world anthology series. In 1993 she moved to Oklahoma City.

Lynn Abbey Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Interview: Lynn Abbey
SF Site Interview: Contributors to Thieves' World: Turning Points
SF Site Review: Jerlayne

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

In the recent novel Sanctuary, Lynn Abbey resurrected the dormant titular city which starred in twelve anthologies and several novels during the 80s. There, she brought the reader up to date on the changes which have occurred since the various wizards, warriors, and thieves had battled for supremacy in its streets. Once she had set the stage, Abbey turned the city over, once again, to the authors who had made such a mess of it once before. Fortunately, as Thieves World: Turning Points indicates, those authors are more than willing to destroy Sanctuary all over again.

Four of the ten authors involved in Turning Points are veterans of the previous generation's wars. Andrew J. Offutt, Diana L. Paxson, Robin Wayne Bailey, and Abbey herself have returned to their familiar haunts. Although Offutt and Paxson refer to their previous characters of Hanse Shadowspawn and Lalo the Limner, the focus of their stories are on other characters. Offutt chooses to follow Lone, a Hanse wannabe in search of someone who can be his role model, as Cudget Swearoath was to Hanse. Although he isn't Hanse, Lone appears to be a very similar character before Hanse gained the abilities which Offutt described in his earlier stories and novels. Paxson follows a more direct link to Lalo, detailing the life of Lalo's daughter, Latilla, who now operates an inn and finds herself mixed up with a Ranken nobleman on a quest to find the current empress's sister, who disappeared from Sanctuary when the Beysib left the city.

As with the earlier stories, characters move in and out of each other's stories throughout the course of Turning Points. Tiger, the otherworldly warrior woman from Dennis McKiernan's "Duel" has cameos in several other stories which allude to the gladiatorial contests in the city just as Jeff Grubb's scholar Heliz reappears in Raymond Feist's story "One to Go."

However, while the outward appearance is reminiscent of the original Thieves World series, none of the characters depicted in Turning Points have the same charismatic grip on the reader as those who appeared in Thieves World. There is no Cappen Varra or Jubal to grab the reader's attention. Perhaps even more, there is no Hakiem to tie the stories together. Many of the characters do show signs of being able to grow into the sort of characters who appeared full blown in the original series.

The quality of the stories is such that each story does stand on its own and provides an entertaining diversion. In some cases, most notably Jody Lynn Nye's "Doing the Gods' Work," real world political concerns enter Sanctuary. Nye's character is a former priest of the bloody goddess Dyareela who is trying to reestablish himself as a force for good in Sanctuary. He suddenly finds himself in danger of being exposed. Although most of the Dyareelans were ousted from Sanctuary prior to the opening of Abbey's novel, some still remain and Selina Rosen's warrior woman Kadasah has set her sights on their extermination in "Ritual Evolution." Perhaps more than any other story, Rosen's deals with Sanctuary-wide politics instead of merely focusing on the individual.

Robin Wayne Bailey not only provides a link to the original series as one of the authors who has carried over, but he also reintroduces the Nisibisi witches to Sanctuary in "Ring of Sea and Fire," in which Regan Vigeles attempts to defeat an incursion by the witches in the swamp west of the city. Bailey introduces exotic characters in this tale who clearly will feature in further tales and will grow as they do so.

Mickey Zucker Reichert takes an interesting look at ownership in the opening story, "Home Is Where the Hate Is." She focuses on the orphan Dysan, who lives in squalor despite an unusual gift for languages. Although Reichert loaded Dysan with potential, she seems content to leave Dysan to explore that potential, or have it exploited, in future stories.

While Dysan is a part of the downtrodden, he is also a loner. Abbey looks at another group of outcasts in "The Red Lucky," notably those who live in Downwind. Although Abbey does not feature any of the characters from the original series, she does demonstrate that some of their relics still survive in Sanctuary to either do harm or good, depending on who finds them and how they choose to make use of them.

Readers who are already familiar with the Thieves' World series will welcome this return to Sanctuary with a mixture of nostalgia for characters who are no longer appeared, and anticipation for the complex mixture of characters and styles which brought Sanctuary to life in the 80s. Readers who pick up the anthology with no knowledge of what has gone before will read an interesting collection of linked stories and will be pleased to discover that not only are more books on the way, but there are twelve earlier anthologies (and nearly as many novels) to provide them with the history of this imperial backwater.

Table of Contents
Lynn Abbey Introduction
Mickey Zucker Reichert Home Is Where the Hate Is
Andrew J. Offutt Role Model
Diana L. Paxson The Prisoner in the Jewel
Selina Rosen Ritual Evolution
Dennis L. McKiernan Duel
Robin Wayne Bailey Ring of Sea and Fire
Jody Lynn Nye Doing the Gods' Work
Lynn Abbey The Red Lucky
Jeff Grubb Apocalypse Noun
Raymond E. Feist One to Go

Copyright © 2002 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide