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Thief of Lives

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Why are certain subjects so difficult to talk about?
What is justice?
Why do writers think that other people’s lives are fair game?
And what do we really know about the first chemist?

A story about history, women, science (and also the demonic); a crime story, based upon a true crime; a realist satire of the supposedly sex-savvy; and a story exploring lies, and the space betwe
paperback, 1st, 120 pages
Published July 31st 2011 by Twelfth Planet Press
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Lucy Sussex's breadth of talent and knowledge are on display in the third of the 12 Planets anthology series. In four short stories you see historical fantasy in ancient Babylon about the world's first chemist, snappy modern crime in Melbourne, a delightfully sensual tale of female sexuality and an urban fantasy playing cheekily with ideas if authorship and created worlds.

Each story is distinct, a gem, and you have to marvel at the intelligence and imagination behind four such different stories
Victoria (vikz writes)
why am I reading this book?

This is another book for the Australian Women's Writers Challenge. This brilliant challenge maybe found at,, and It's not too late to get involved. Get reading.

about this book

This is part of a series of novella size books which is currently being by published Twelfth Planet Press ( These books are short story col
A selection of four short stories: two fantasies, a crime story, and a story of sexual discovery. Lucy Sussex is a capable writer and I have been enjoying this Twelfth Planet Press series, but this collection just fell a little flat for me.

The first story, a demon story set in ancient Babylon, was interesting enough. The demon (or angel) is a powerful, but not all-powerful, ambiguous character, and the target of its attentions is a clever and entrepeneurial woman. This was, for me, the stronges
Anna Hepworth
four short pieces - two that appealed, two mediocre tending towards downright boring. However, the two that I liked pulled the collection up in ratings (or, possibly more accurately, the two mediocre pieces pulled what would have been a five star book down). 'Alchemy' is a subtle weaving of science and historical fiction - a beautiful portrait of early chemistry, as applied to perfumery. 'Thief of Lives' is a twisted, rather meta, tale of layered stories, playing with the ideas of who is the aut ...more

This is the delightfully-packaged third book in the Twelve Planets series, from Twelfth Planet Press. I should mention that I am friends with the editor/publisher, Alisa Krasnostein, and a passing acquaintance of the author, Lucy Sussex. But don't worry; I would have no trouble saying I didn't like it much, if that were the case...

The first story is, for me, the blazing outstanding story of the four. Called "Alchemy," it is set in Babylon, a city as evocative, perhaps, as it is foreign. We are p
Sean the Bookonaut
Thief of Lives is the third collection in the Twelve Planets Series and continues Twelfth Planet Press’ run of quality product.

In contrast to Sue Isle’s mosaic in Nightsiders, Lucy Sussex offers the reader 4 widely divergent stories.

The Stories

Alchemy – Set in ancient Babylon, a god or demon attempts to manipulate a perfumer.

The Fountain of Justice – A purely crime fiction piece about the legal system and whether or not it delivers.

The Subject of O – College students, the female orgasm, and who
Tsana Dolichva
Thief of Lives, by Lucy Sussex is part of Twelfth Planet Press’s Twelve Planets collection.

Thief of Lives is a collection of four short stories without common setting. I have to admit, this collection was closer to literary realism than I usually read. Thematically, women are central to all the stories in a variety of different ways. Karen Joy Fowler eloquently explains what Sussex writes about in the introduction:

Fantasy, history, crime. The relationship of women to men. The relationship of wom
Mark Webb
Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussexis one of theTwelve Planets series published byTwelfth Planet Press(made up of 12 boutique collections of stories by Australian writers). It is made up of four shorter stories, including:

The Fountain of Justice
The Subject of O
Thief of Lives

Unlike in the other two books in the Twelve Planets series so far,these four stories are not related to each other. Indeed, two of the stories (The Fountain of Justice andThe Subject of O) don't have any fantastical elements
Elanor Matton-Johnson
This is the first time I've read Lucy Sussex, and it's an excellent and varied collection. I think Alchemy was my favourite story, with the Babylonian setting and the sensibleness of the perfumier. The title story intrigues me, though I may need to read it again for a deeper understanding.
Loved the humour in this, great mix of short stories and vignettes.
Liz Barr
Thief of Lives is a slightly disjointed short story collection. I liked the stories individually, but they didn’t work for me together. I was amused to realise that Lucy Sussex is also the editor of She’s Fantastical!, an anthology of feminist SF that I read in my early teens. I distinctly remember finishing that book and thinking, “Wow, this feminism business is complicated, and also really weird.” I should go back and give it another look sometime.
Startlingly diverse. Lucy Sussex can take on any genre and twist it into strange spots where it's never been before.
Enviable powers of observation and a sly sense of humour!
Christina Browne
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