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Wandering the world until doomsday,
This review is from: Lythande (Daw science fiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
This volume contains all the Lythande stories written up to its publication; two more can be found in SPELL SINGERS, an anthology attributed to "Alan Bard Newcomer", but not here. Lythande also appeared as a supporting character in stories written by other authors in Thieves' World; those collected in this volume feature the Adept as protagonist.
Lythande is a mercenary magician; specifically, a Pilgrim Adept of the Order of the Blue Star. The Pilgrim Adepts are sworn to fight in the last battle, on the side of Law against Chaos, at the end of the world. Until that day, they wander, gathering knowledge and power as they will (hence 'Pilgrim' Adepts). The power of a Pilgrim Adept depends on keeping certain vows (e.g. never to eat or drink in front of men), but most of all, upon keeping a secret, specific to each adept. If that secret is ever spoken aloud by any man save the Master of the Star, it (and the magic bound into it) become void, so that the powerless adept becomes worthless to the order - and may be killed by anyone who pleases.
Lythande has chosen to uphold Law against Chaos always, but others have chosen to wait until the last day. The Adept was developed for the Thieves' World series, and is a special crony of Myrtis (the madam of the Aphrodisia House in Sanctuary). The vows of an Adept are extremely literal, so that Adepts can have *female* confidantes if they wish - and if they can find women to trust with their lives.
Check out the Magic in Ithkar series as well; Lythande has visited the fair occasionally.
"The Secret of the Blue Star" - Lythande comes to the rescue of an amazingly beautiful prostitute being roughed up in the street - only to find that Bercy's tormentor is Rabben the Half-Handed, the Adept's worst enemy in the order. But is the girl really a victim, or a spy set to ferret out the Secret - or both?
"The Incompetent Magician" - First appeared in the _Greyhaven_ anthology. Rastafyre the - ahem - Incomparable has lost his wand, to a master thief and magician he cuckolded. Lythande agrees to retrieve it, in exchange for an enchanted lute - to which is bound the soul of Koira, a woman Lythande once loved.
"Sea Wrack" - The seaside village has to rely on half-grown girls to work the fishing boats, because a mermaid has taken up residence nearby, and lures not only men, but grown women to their deaths (only those too young to have felt the tides of the heart are safe). Lythande, feeling secure in having cast off all such emotions, takes up the village's plea to deal with the mermaid...
"Somebody Else's Magic" - Lythande comes to the aid of a priestess of Larith, set upon by thugs in the street. Dying, the Laritha passes on her sword to Lythande in thanks. Unfortunately, the sword has a mind of its own: to avenge its bearer, then force Lythande to carry it back to the Temple - which only women may seek and return alive.
"The Wandering Lute" - As a younger son, the minstrel had gladly accepted the enchanted lute from his father's magician, with its compulsion to follow a migration as regular as the seasons. Now that his older brother has died, though, he must be free of it and return home. Lythande, who'd like a good lute (and who studied a LOT about unbinding spells after the Larith incident) takes it on, intending to disenchant it along the way. Pride goeth before a fall...
"Looking for Satan" - Satan is actually just the name of a wild youngster, caught in a trap and vanished into the empire of Sanctuary. His friends have come looking for him, and Lythande feels moved to help them. (This story, unlike the others, doesn't follow Lythande's viewpoint, but one of Satan's friends, a woman after Lythande's own heart.)