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The Crown Conspiracy Paperback – October 1, 2008

187 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Michael J. Sullivan has written a book I will read over and over again and it most definitely will always reside on my favorite's shelf." --Reader's Views Review

"It is an extraordinarily tale told with a mature voice that would be impressive from a veteran and is even more so from a new author...Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the book and its author is that immediately upon arrival at work I went and grabbed its sequel, Avempartha off the new book shelf." --King of the Nerds

"Michael J. Sullivan doesn't waste time and throws the reader into action from the first pages of his novel and keeps him there until the final page is turned." --Dark Wolf Fantasy Review

"A whirlwind of twists, earth-shattering surprises and deadly betrayal." --Literary Magic

"The Crown Conspiracy is great fun and a romp end to end. It's a very fast read and I finished it in one sitting. Its characters grow on you and the series has great potential to develop since Book One only explores a relatively small part of the wonderful imagined world of Michael Sullivan and I am really looking forward to reading Book Two, Avempartha, out in April 2009." --sfSite

"Crown Conspiracy is a well-written and enjoyable novel. I was invested in the characters and their travails. Royce and Hadrian's friendship was particularly fun to read...Michael J. Sullivan is an appealing writer and I'll be interested to see where he goes with his writing in the future."
--Speculative Fiction Junkie

"The Crown Conspiracy is entertaining from beginning to end, edge of your seat moments and conspiracy to spare. The Crown Conspiracy is a must read! I'm looking forward to the next installment." --The Deckled Edge

"In many ways, the novel takes all the conventional tropes of a traditional fantasy story, takes what it needs, and throws out the rest. What is left is a quick and entertaining read." --Fantasy Debut

"Great characters, delightful misdirection, good world building, and just the right amount of humor. If I had to describe this book with one word, that word would be fun!" --Odyssey Reviews

"This is by far one of the most well written independent novels I have had the pleasure of reading. I highly recommend it to both lovers of fantasy, and also those who like stories along the lines of the King Arthur legends, and the tales of the Green Knight." --Midwest Book Reviews

From the Author

In October 2010 I sold my Riyria Revelations series of books to Orbit (fantasy imprint of big-six Hachette Book Group). As such, the original versions are now officially "out of print" and available only by third-party vendors who are selling what are now essentially "collector editions".  Orbit took the six-book series and re-released them as three, two-book omnibus versions (published from Nov 2011 to Jan 2012).  The fact that the series is published in two different formats is often confusing, so here's how the books break down.

Original self-published editions (now out of print)

  • The Crown Conspiracy (originally published by AMI, and later by Ridan)
  • Avempartha
  • Nyphron Rising
  • The Emerald Storm
  • Wintertide
  • Percepliquis*
The new incarnation of the series from Orbit 
  • Theft of Swords contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha
  • Rise of Empire contains Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm
  • Heir of Novron contains Wintertide & Percepliquis
Due to overwhelming demand for more Royce and Hadrian stories, a new series, The Riyria Chronicles, has been created that tells the duo's early adventures including their first assignment and the forming of Riyria. This new series will also be released by Orbit following their "a book per month" schedule.

The Riyria Chronicles
  • The Crown Tower - August 1, 2013
  • The Rose and the Thorn - September 5, 2013
For those interested in other projects, I have a number of things underway.
  • Antithesis: an urban fantasy (which I will self-publish in 2013)
  • Hollow World: a time travel science fiction story (to be completed in 2012)
  • A new (untitled) fantasy series: (to be completed in mid 2015)
  • A Burden to the Earth: a literary fiction piece (completed but needs editing)

In addition he will have short stories in the following anthologies:
  • Traditions in Triumph Over Tragedy
  • The Jester in Unfettered
  • Autumn Mists in The Fantasy Faction Anthology
  • Burning Alexandria in The End Anthology
* Percepliquis is technically the only book of the original series that is not "out of print." For those who originally read Wintertide this edition allows for the stand-alone version so that they can complete their series. The content is identical to the Percepliquis which is found as the second book in the Heir of Novron release.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Aspirations Media Inc (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980003431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980003437
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,792,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After finding a manual typewriter in the basement of a friend's house, Michael J. Sullivan inserted a blank piece of paper and typed: It was a dark and stormy night. He was just eight years old and mimicking the greatest (or only) writer he knew at the time...Snoopy. That spark ignited a flame and the desire to fill blank pages would become a life-long obsession. As an adult, Michael spent more than ten years developing his craft by studying authors such as Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. During that time, he wrote thirteen novels but found no traction in publishing. He did the only sane thing he could think of (since insanity is repeating the same act but expecting a different result), he quit and vowed never to write creatively again.

Michael stayed away from writing for a decade and returned to the keyboard in his forties...but with one condition: he wouldn't seek publication. Instead, he wrote a series of books that had been building in his head over his hiatus. His first reading love was fantasy, and his hope was to help foster a love of reading in his then thirteen-year-old daughter, who struggled due to severe dyslexia. After reading the third book of this series, his wife insisted the novels needed to "get out there." When Michael refused to jump back onto the query-go-round, she took over the publication tasks and has run "the business side" of his writing ever since.

Michael is one of the few authors who has successfully published through all three routes: small press, self, and big five. Some key accomplishments of his career include:

* Named to io9's Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors
* Sold more than half a million English copies
* Been translated into twelve foreign languages
* Spent more than a year on Amazon's Bestselling Fantasy Author's list
* His Death of Dulgath Kickstarter is the third-highest funded fiction project of all time.
* Had his books named to more than 100 "best of" or "most anticipated" lists including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes and Noble,, and

Today, Michael continues to fill blank pages with nine released novels, six awaiting publication, and a new series in the developmental stages. These include:

* 2011 - 2012: His six-book self-published series, The Riyria Revelations, were re-released through Orbit (the fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group).
* 2013: The launch of his Riyria Chronicles series with two additional books released with Orbit.
* 2014: Hollow World, a sci-fi novel released by Tachyon Publications (print) and self (ebook)
* 2015: The scheduled release for The Death of Dulgath (third Riyria Chronicle novel).
* 2016: The scheduled release for The Age of Myth, the debut novel in The First Empire series from Del Rey (fantasy imprint of Penguin Random House).
* 2017 - 2010: The scheduled release of three more books with Del Rey. This will be a mixture of First Empire titles and other books in "Elan" such as a Riyria story or a spin off with other characters from the Riyria books.

* Riyria Blog:
* Hollow World Blog:
* First Empire Series Blog:
* Twitter: @author_sullivan
* Riyria Facebook:
* Author Facebook:


* Theft of Swords: contains The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha
* Rise of Empire: contains Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm
* Heir of Novron: contains Wintertide & Percepliquis

* The Crown Tower
* The Rose and the Thorn
* The Death of Dulgath (coming Nov 2015)
* Blood of Thieves (Omnibus that contains The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn)

THE FIRST EMPIRE (signed to Random House's Del Rey imprint)
* The Age of Myth (coming Summer 2016)
* The Age of Swords (release TBD)
* The Age of War (release TBD)
* The Age of Legends (release TBD)
* The Age of Empire (release TBD)

* Hollow World (time-travel science fiction)
* Hollow World sequel (in development)

* The Crown Conspiracy
* Avempartha
* Nyphron Rising
* The Emerald Storm
* Wintertide
* Percepliquis

* The Viscount and the Witch: A Riyria Short
* The Jester: A Riyria Short
* Professional Integrity: A Riyria Short
* Greener Grass (time-travel science fiction)
* The Riyria Sampler (compilation of several Riyria short stories)
* Traditions: (traditional fantasy, coming soon)
* God's Game: (contemporary fantasy, coming soon)
* Burning Alexandria: (dystopian science fiction, coming soon)
* Autumn's Mist (contemporary fantasy, coming soon)

* Unfettered
* Blackguards
* Unbound (coming soon)
* The End - Visions of Apocalypse
* Triumph Over Tragedy
* Help Fund my Robot Army

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Flash on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not bad. In fact, a good point to mention is that the author, Michael Sullivan, provides the genre with a much needed light-hearted tale of adventure, conspiracy, and intrigue. By the end of the book, you can't help but like some of the main characters and you want to read the next part of the saga.

Basically, the story is about two thieves (Royce and Hadrian) who take a job only to find themselves immersed in a larger conspiracy regarding the rulership of not only their own kingdom, but the empire as well. In this first book, you start to learn a bit about what the bigger picture may entail and you learn who some of the key players may turn out to be. There are definitely a few twists that are handled nicely. Of course, Royce and Hadrian are the main focus of the story. They are a likeable pair, but my opinion is that they are somewhat shallowly developed characters. The book does end with a resolution to the main plot, so the story can be read as a stand alone story.

The flaws to this book have to do with the skills of the author. While I think Sullivan lays out an interesting plot (and I will continue to read this series), his descriptions, characterization and world building definitely leave something to be desired. For example, way too often he uses the bad guy soliloquy, where the villian needs to reveal his reasons and motives to the good guys in the midst of some battle or conflict. This comes across as cheesy, when better characterization would have done the job for the author. Speaking of characterizations, too many come from the cookie-cutter mold (for example, the young and inexperienced prince), and without adequate development, they remain shallow depictions. The descriptions are at times too simple. If a column is ornate, tell me how it is ornate.
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153 of 184 people found the following review helpful By Paul Spring on December 18, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The reviews were great and the author has won a number awards, according to the blurb on this page. I consider myself pretty tolerant of fantasy literature, because I love the genre and it has been the bulk of my reading material over the years. Has fantasy writing fallen to such depths that this book, and its author, should deserve these accolades?

I concede that he is a jolly storyteller, in the way that David Eddings is, and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with a story that isn't too heavyweight, but this is just dreadful! The characters are like cardboard cutout stereotypes and entirely predictable. There is absolutely no subtlety at all and, if the characters are easy to understand, it's because they have so little depth.

But worse, far worse than any of that, is the actual writing style. It is, quite simply, the worst I have any seen in any printed material in my entire life. Full of spelling and grammatical errors and childish dialogue. His portrayal of an ancient wizard, using what he thinks is archaic English, made me cringe from start to finish.

"I have expected thou ere long..."
"I believe thy father 'twas ill..."
"I teacheth her..."
"... I wilt lead them to him."
"... thy sister asked thou to come."
etc, etc, etc

Aren't editors supposed to check this kind of stuff, or are they also all imbeciles now? Is this the product of the Internet age, that writing quality plumbs such depths? People learn English from reading books much more than they do from lessons at school. If we can't control the quality of printed material then we might as well kiss goodbye to the language of poets, Shakespeare and science.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Eric Barr on December 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Look, Mr. Sullivan has made clear what he intends to do with his fantasy series--less epic, less length, less jargon, less pretentiousness and above all, more acessible. Nearly everything the negative reviews lash out at him for doing. The first book is very good, and it was a pleasure to be able to digest the tome in a reasonable amount of time. I'm getting tired of 900 page "thrilling fantasy" adventures. I'll give this author time to grow on me and would just offer an opinion that others should see how this all turns out by the time we reach the sixth book. The characters are most enjoyable. My quibble is that the "Church" is too easy of a villain. But time will tell as each book unfolds. Five stars for a fine start.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Paul B. Dunlap on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
As far as adventure novels go, this one is among the most exciting and intriguing I've read. The pages practically turn themselves as a motley cast of characters journeys and cascades through Melengar, gradually discovering more twists which impact the course of their journey, while the author slowly reveals secrets that keep the reader guessing and building tension to a satisfying climax and ending.

Plot twists have become practically a necessity in adventure novels. Without them, the prose tends to become flat and monotonous, and the reader is left wondering where the adventure is. Conversely, if overused, the story becomes comical and frivolous, and the reader loses interest in the absurdity. In this tale, Mr. Sullivan does an excellent job of finding a delicate balance, leaving just enough surprises of the appropriate magnitude and proper placements to keep the reader riveted without cheapening the plot.

One of the strongest points in the book is the world the author creates. In the tradition of fantasy writing, one can tell that this is well-integrated world with a wide range of venues and peoples, that is internally consistent with itself. Mr. Sullivan gives brief glimpses of its lore and legends that pique the reader's interest and make him thirsty for more. Personally, lore is my favorite aspect of fantasy, and I found the book more than satisfying. Having said that, I should qualify that unlike some of the so-called "heavy fantasy" series, the pedantry of the setting does not in any way hamper the plot, which moves briskly and focuses on the events and characters. Any edification of the world is well integrated into the course of the story so as not to be an imposition on the reader.
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