I started a book called Dagger last night, by David Drake. I’m considering it nostalgia reading because it is the last tie-in book that I have left regarding the “Thieves World” ® franchise. This was a concept created by Robert Lynn Asprin, with the help of Lynn Abbey who later became Asprin’s wife. Thieves World ® was the first “shared world” anthology. Different writers all wrote stories about the same fantasy “world,” and they were allowed to use each other’s characters as long as they didn’t kill or maim them. The result was a series of twelve anthologies that really broke new ground in fantasy fiction. I was a big fan.
All the original anthology stories centered around a town called “Sanctuary,” which seemed to be filled mostly with thieves, rogues, murderers, rapists, assassins, drug addicts, sodomites, sorcerers, witches, pimps, whores, catamites, child molesters, drunks, mercenaries, bullies, bravos, muckers, down-on-their-luck bards, demons, and (whew) gods. Oh, there was an occasional merchant, although he or she usually doubled as one of the other types of character as well.
The series boasted some great writing from the likes of C.J. Cherryh, Poul Anderson, Diane Duane, and many others, although my absolutely favorite stories were by Janet Morris. There were also some series tie-in novels written by individual authors, with, again, the best ones being by Janet Morris and featuring a character named Tempus. Dagger is pretty good so far, although I don’t think it’s going to be as good to me as the Morris books.
If you haven’t heard of Thieves World ®, check out this homepage. There are also some new books being produced in the series, set long after the original series ended, but I have not seen any of these so I don’t know much about the quality. Lynn Abbey is editing them so one might hope they’ll keep up the level of quality of the originals.