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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

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Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

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Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

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Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
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REVIEW | Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles--until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?

Michael J. Sullivan's The Riyria Revelations has quite a storied past. It all began with The Crown Conspiracy, which was published through a very small house and then books 2 through 5 were self published by the author and his wife after the original publisher had financial problems. The series quickly found an audience online and became kindle best-sellers, which lead the 6 book series to be sold to Orbit to be released as 3 omnibus editions.

I have been hearing about this series for about nearly two years and they garnered quite nice reviews from many of my blogger compatriots, but I still went into the first Orbit omnibus Theft of Swords a bit trepidatiously. But venture forth I did as I'm a sucker for omnibuses, after all. Filled with mystery, a possibly mad ancient wizard, and empires teetering on destruction Theft of Swords will captivate you with an effortless style.

Theft of Swords contains book 1 The Crown Conspiracy and book 2 Avempartha. I think it is the second title that at first threw me off when I heard about the series as I couldn't wrap my head around it, but have since learned that it refers to one of the places visited in the novel as is the case with another book in the series.

The Crown Conspiracy starts things on a strong note and is a classic example of Sword & Sorcery. The focus is clearly on the thieves as well as action and mystery instead of magic, but there is plenty more entered into the formula such as politics and the deep history of the land that is covered well enough to ground you in this world. Royce and Hadrian aren't two knuckle head sword jockeys though. They are an elite duo who try to use their brains before their brawn, but aren't always too particular who they kill as they are hired by both sides to pull thefts and assassinations or whatever job their employers are willing to shell the gold out for. The Crown Conspiracy's greatest attribute is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. The prose is so easy you'll forget you're reading for long periods and come away having felt you just watched an fun packed movie in your mind. What stays with you is the story, the characters, and the sense of having just made new friends.

The point of view switches at times from the thieves Royce and Hadrian to Arista, a princess of the main kingdom the story is set in. She provides a nice balance to the aloofness of Royce and Hadrian while contributing much to the conspiracy of the story. Royce and Hadrian are two of the most likeable characters going in Fantasy. Their subtle and not so subtle interactions work so well and let you in on all of their little jokes. The story moves across the kingdom after the pair is falsely accused of a high crime and escape only to land into even more trouble. Long lost secrets are uncovered and plots are averted only for greater danger to occur. All in all, The Crown Conspiracy is a very smooth ride and one that I'll think fondly of for quite some time.

Avempartha the second book on the other hand while still quite entertaining is a bit shakier especially in terms of pacing. As with the first book the perspectives includes Arista, but this time she is more of a passenger than protagonist and I found her sections just completely jarring and slow compared to the intrigue of Royce and Hadrian. Stakes are definitely getting great as larger powers are making moves in the land. At first the trope of finding a sword as with the first volume felt a bit done, but Sullivan miraculously makes this aspect all the more endearing the second go around. Royce in attempting to break into an ancient Elf stronghold, which brings a whole aspect little explored in TCC.. Avempartha is building to something much bigger as this series progresses. The briefly seen wizard from the TCC is a very beguiling character. In some small ways he reminded me of a more laid-back Bayaz. Is he the destroyer of kingdoms or the savior? That's still not clear, but Sullivan has left me enough crumbs from the loaf to want more.

Theft of Swords is definitely lighter fair. There isn't any sex to speak of and for a story with plenty of death it doesn't come off as overly bloody or graphic Sullivan sure knows how to spin a yarn that connects you to the characters even as he teases out . Theft of Swords is just good old fashion fun with endearing characters. Even when you can tell where the story is headed it is still just as fun finding out how they got there. I give Theft of Swords 8 out of 10 hats. Sullivan has made a Riyria fan out of me and I'll definitely be reading the next two omnibuses Rise of Empire(December release) and Heir of Novron(January release) that are coming out in quick succession. The books would certainly be appropriate for a YA crowd and serve as quite a good introduction to what good traditional Fantasy can be.

You Might Also Like:
GUEST POST | Michael J. Sullivan on Writing a Series of Intertwining Books Rather than Sequels
REVIEW | Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
REVIEW | Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
REVIEW | Homeland by R.A. Salvatore
REVIEW | Swords & Dark Magic edited by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan


redhead said...

I too have been hearing positive things about this series for a while now. . . and need to check it out!

Carolina said...

Best series I`ve read of late. I`d rate it 9/10