The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In her introduction to this collection, Marion Zimmer Bradley tells of the inception of her character, Lythande. Author Robert Asprin proposed that a number of authors write stories taking place within a shared background, the fictional Sanctuary/Thieves World. Each author received a packet of information describing the gods and customs of the place. Many responded, and a series of anthologies was begun. Bradley’s five stories about Lythande appear in several of the anthologies and are collected in Lythande. One stipulation of participating in the Sanctuary/Thieves World series is that anyone may write about any character, as long as the story does not result in the character’s death or a significant alteration of the character’s established persona. Lythande includes “Looking for Satan,” a story about Lythande written by Vonda N. McIntyre and previously published in Thieves World (1981).

The collection concerns the adventures of Lythande, a traveling mage/minstrel. In the first story, the reader is made aware that every magician’s power is linked to a secret and that a magician wields power only as long as the secret remains undiscovered. Furthermore, no man may observe a magician eating or drinking, though a woman may.

Lythande’s secret is revealed to the reader. She is a female who, disguised as a male, became an Adept of the Blue Star order of magicians. Her disguise remained undiscovered until...

(The entire section is 557 words.)