A friend of mine did some consulting for a book binders/printers in Scotland in the late 90s and early 2000s. He would bring me bags of books that had an issue and couldn't be sold.

Amongst this mountain of books was a book of short stories, I presume by one author as I remember there being a number of stories with recurring characters.

The story I remember involved a barbarian character and his child/teenager male accomplice who would allow himself to be captured and the barbarian would then come and rescue him and release all the slaves. The setting was (I think) desert/scrub like North Africa and the technology level was around the level of the Roman Empire (I have a mild association with Byzantium, but that may have come from reading Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic series at the same time!)

I think another story dealt with the same pair later, having fallen out over philosophical differences, now living in a city and involving themselves in politics.

I remember having a collection by Stephen R Donaldson, but not sure if this was it, having a look at his output doesn't ring any bells.

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    – Edlothiad
    Feb 19, 2017 at 19:49
  • 1
    Thanks - I added the scant extra detail I could dredge from my quagmire of a brain...
    – Blair
    Feb 19, 2017 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


I think you're recalling Samuel R. Delany's Tales of Nevèrÿon. See the Wikipedia article.

In his youth Gorgik is one of the “brown, respectable” people of Kolhari, the major port of Nevèrÿon. When he is sixteen, because of a radical takeover of the government, Gorgik is captured and taken as a slave to work in an obsidian mine—not all the slaves are blond, blue-eyed barbarians. But the ones who are darker-skinned generally fare better than those who are not. Soon Gorgik is a mine foreman [before being freed]. ... But he is so disgusted by what he sees there that he goes back to being an outlaw, working to free all the slaves of Nevèrÿon, no matter their color. To this end, he makes use of some of the friendships he made while living at the court.

  • Can you add more details into your answer so the OP doesn't have to chase links? Quotes which seem similar, book cover etc.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 19, 2017 at 21:54
  • That's it - though now re-reading it I realised I had forgotten all the parts that I didn't enjoy very much, presumably causing me not to remember it very well and have to ask about it here...
    – Blair
    Feb 19, 2017 at 22:00

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