MZB collected her short stories about her Thieves' World character plus one by another author in this slim volume. Lythande is an interesting character to be sure and the stories are all good reads by themselves. The author's explanations of each story are blurbed before it, and there's a introduction for the volume as well that were all quite interesting and informative in their own right.
There is a bit of meta-characterization and no small amount of politics in the character and the stories. In one of the introductions the author stops short of arguing one of the points and declares that the character speaks better for herself. I found that a interesting insight into the politics and the writing process both. Often in discussions of identity politics and discrimination there is heated debate on whether a Them can ever understand the plight of Us, even as the authorial voice of a character. Letting the story and the character speak for themselves is a wise move indeed, though it doesn't satisfy partisans in such a conflict ...
I must say I did not like the last story as much, or at least found it unwelcome in the collection. It's a great story full of interesting people and places and no small amount of mystery for a short story. I just didn't not feel that Lythande was needed there or treated well. In fact MZB notes that she strongly disapproved of an earlier version of events and that the published version was more of a compromise ... I think she didn't go far enough, but those were the rules of the game.
Definitely a good and thought provoking read and I do quite like Lythande and wouldn't mind seeing more stories and tales ... if done well and faithfully.
This is for 3FAHF