Sanctuary: Keep your purse close and your dagger closer!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Lynn Abbey Sanctuary Thieves' World anthology Robert AsprinSanctuary by Lynn Abbey

I’m a big fan of the original series, Thieves’ World, which ended over a decade ago. When I’d finished the last page of the last book of Thieves’ World, I’d experienced for the first time what I would come to judge all other books by: that bittersweet feeling of a triumphant conclusion to a great story mingled with slight sorrow at the parting with its characters.

So I started Sanctuary with apprehensions. One of them being that this book was written by a single author while Thieves’ World was a shared-world-anthology by multiple writers which created a uniqueness with universal appeal.

The other issue that troubled me was that the inside flap had informed me that my favorite characters were no longer around. Just like any place a person comes to love, I wasn’t sure I’d like going back when the very things I’d enjoyed the most had changed. However, Abbey skillfully proves that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” As with any famous city—or in this case, infamous city—Sanctuary pulses with a life all her own. Previous generations leave their mark and the new rise up only to soon become part of the legend themselves.

Whether this is a return visit or your first time in this notorious city, be wary. The reader is quickly seduced by the sinful charm of Sanctuary’s intriguingly seedy taverns like the Vulgar Unicorn, the shadowy allies of the Maze, and her dangerous ghettos such as the waterfront district. If you’re a fan of Thieves’ World, you’re sure to enjoy your return visit as much as I have. If you haven’t read Thieves’ World, this book is great introduction. It’s a whole new story in a dark, old city. Abbey gives you just enough history so you’ll learn a little of what your getting into while the veterans get a reminder.

Keep your money-purse close, dagger closer, and trust few. Sanctuary has no mercy, even less so for visitors.

Sanctuary — (2002) Publisher: Return To The City That Would Not Die! Return To Thieves’ World! Return To Sanctuary! Thieves’ World was the bestselling and first of the shared world phenomenon, selling well over a million copies of anthologies detailing the exploits and intrigues of the high-born and low-born denizens of Sanctuary, a city that has seen many masters. The Age of Ranke and the reign of Kadakithis, the occupation of the Beysib, the war of the gods and indeed the erstwhile Renaissance are now all in the past. Memories of heroes and villains, glory and savagery have all been relegated to the shadows of yesteryear as present-day residents once again apply themselves to the task at hand: survival. Only Molin Torchholder, architect of Sanctuary’s glory and master of her secrets knows the whole truth, but he is dying… He must hold on until he can pass along the city’s hidden history of empires come and gone and blood shed for reason and naught. Aiding him are a lowly laborer named Cauvin, himself a survivor of one of the city’s darkest moments, and a young boy named Bec. So many secrets and so little time. And as Molin’s chronicles of the past unfold, even darker forces return, an evil that jeopardizes the very survival of a city that until now has always refused to die.

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GREG HERSOM’S (on FanLit's staff January 2008 -- September 2012) addiction began with his first Superboy comic at age four. He moved on to the hard-stuff in his early teens after acquiring all of Burroughs’s Tarzan books and the controversial L. Sprague de Camp & Carter edited Conan series. His favorite all time author is Robert E. Howard. Greg also admits that he’s a sucker for a well-illustrated cover — the likes of a Frazetta or a Royo. Greg live with his wife, son, and daughter in a small house owned by a dog and two cats in a Charlotte, NC suburb. He retired from FanLit in Septermber 2012 after 4.5 years of faithful service but he still sends us a review every once in a while.

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  1. I have not read any of these, but I always enjoy what Greg recommends.

  2. April V. /

    Sanctuary is the only Thieves World book I ever read and I definitely enjoyed it so it works well as a standalone too.

  3. April, if you can get your hands on the original series, I highly recommend it.

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