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The Viscount and the Witch, short story (Riyria Chronicles) [Kindle Edition]

Michael J. Sullivan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)

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Book Description

THE VISCOUNT AND THE WITCH (A Riyria Chronicles Short)
Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, before even assuming the title of Riyria, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief and idealist swordsman, were just learning how to work together as a team. In this standalone first installment of The Riyria Chronicles, Royce is determined to teach his naive partner a lesson about good deeds. Join Royce and Hadrian in this short story (5,400 words) about one of their earliest adventures.
NOTE: This short story became the seed that grew into The Riyria Chronicles story.  If you have read The Rose and the Thorn, then there is no reason to pickup this short as it eventually became chapter two of that story.

"Filled with adventure and clever dialog and featuring a pair of not-quite-heroes whose loyalties to each other provide them with their greatest strength, this epic fantasy showcases the arrival of a master storyteller." -- Library Journal Fantasy Debut for September 2011

"Hair-raising escapes, flashy sword fights, and faithful friendship complete the formula for good old-fashioned escapist fun." -- Publisher's Weekly

"This series is thrilling, laugh-out-loud-funny, heartbreaking, chilling, and whip-smart at every turn." -- Fantasy Faction

"An exciting, out-of-nowhere swashbuckler, The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan astounds with its masterful combination of simplicity and depth." -- Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction @ Suite 101

"[I]t's been a while since I found a sword and sorcery story I truly delighted in reading, and Theft of Swords reminded me of everything I love about the sub-genre." -- Deluded Visions

  • Foreword by the Author
  • First chapter of Theft of Swords (first book in The Riyria Revelations)
  • First chapter of The Crown Tower (first book in The Riyria Chronicles)
  • 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 
  • Book #3 (Currently untitled releasing in 2015

Editorial Reviews


"The Viscount and the Witch is a fast and fun short story set in the Ryria universe some 10 years previous to start of the main story and it details the fledgling partnership of Royce and Hadrian meeting with the impoverished viscount and expanding Ryria's reach into the intrigues of the nobility. There is a little extra background for the characters and the story serves as a very good introduction to the author's style and to his wonderful universe." -- Fantasy Book Critic

"I loved this story and it took all of about ten minutes to devour so it was quick and simple and really whet's my appetite for the final book in the series. Can't wait! An enjoyable romp with your favourite thieves." -- Iceberg Ink

"Interesting, funny, and promising so much for the future (well, past, actually, as this was written after the series proper). The Viscount and the Witch is very highly recommended as a cheap (UK/US) or free way to check out Sullivan's writing, and become hooked on the adventures of Royce and Hadrian.Go. Read. Enjoy. Then go pre-order the rest of the series."
-- Civilian Reader

From the Author

My wife--let's call her Robin (because that's her name)--has developed an infatuation for Hadrian Blackwater. I'm not sure how I feel about enabling my wife's relationship with another man, but at least I know this guy is trustworthy. After finishing The Riyria Revelations, Robin became depressed at having to say goodbye to the world of Elan, but especially Hadrian--until she realized I could bring both he and Royce back in the form of prequels. It was then that she set in motion her diabolical plan to resurrect the pair.

It started when she persuaded me to write a short story so that I would have something for readers during the transition between self and traditional publishing. Pre-order pages for Orbit's editions of Revelations had been posted (but not yet released) and my earlier versions were removed to make way. For the first time in years, I had nothing "out there", and since my contract allowed me to produce non-book length works, and because short stories are...well...short, Robin asked me to create an early story staring Royce and Hadrian. The thing is, I'm not very good at short stories. So I decided to approach the task like a chapter--the first chapter of a novel. I went back in time and wrote a simple little tale about Royce and Hadrian meeting Albert Winslow. This would have occurred about two years after the duo first met and hence The Viscount and the Witch came into being and I've published it for free since it's inception.

Revelations had enough momentum, I polled my readers for what other stories they would be interested in and early stories of Royce and Hadrian came out the clear winner and so I'm pleased to announce that in the fall of 2013 two more books will be released in a new prequel series, The Riyria Chronicles.
  • The Crown Tower (Aug 6, 2013)
  • The Rose and the Thorn (Sep 17, 2013)
So, if you like this short story you have six completed novels, and two new books coming soon. Part of my intention for writing this, beyond making Robin happy, was that you'd be able to try my work with at no cost and with very little investment in time.  Hopefully you'll find it entertaining enough to want to checkout my other, longer works.


Product Details

  • File Size: 250 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ridan Publishing (October 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005QOIHR8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,303 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Not having read the Riyria Revelations series, it only took a couple pages to know that I would end up reading all the books in this series. I've heard Robin Sullivan's tagline for the book series, "Classic Adventure, Unlikely Heroes," but I didn't quite get the appeal of the main characters until I read this short story. They're thieves, yes, but one has morals while the other seems disillusioned with the goodness of humanity. Hadrian's goal is to convince Royce of the goodness in humanity and the worth in helping people, while Royce feels the need to show Hadrian the worthlessness of such a pursuit. This story shows how one can write simple, yet efficient prose, so that the action and dialogue shines through. Great banter, laughed a few times. I get a sense of superior plotting to come based on the wisdom of the characters and how well they all work together for the benefit of the story. The intro to Thief of Swords (first book in Riyria Revelations trilogy)starts off after they have left the place that they're going in this story. I look forward to more short stories to tide me over until the book comes out November 23rd.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of the talent that is Michael J. Sullivan October 26, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"The Viscount and the Witch" is a short story by author Michael J. Sullivan. This is a Kindle only e-book that was a free download at the time of writing this review.

Michael J Sullivan is the author of the 'Riyria Chronicles', a five book (soon to become six) series that follows two unlikely companions (a thief and a swordsman), Royce and Hadrian. This latest offerings could be considered a prologue to the entire Riyria series, as it documents one of their earliest encounters...a time when our two heroes have just recently met and have just decided to join forces.

A terrific short can be read in one sitting in about 15 to 20 minutes. It has all the flavor, banter, subtle humor that I have grown to love in the full Riyria books. Royce and Hadrian have an engaging, likeable style and sense of camaraderie that seems to come to the fore no matter how dire the situation they may find themselves in.

If you like this short book, then I whole heartedly recommend you consider reading the entire 'Riyria Chronicles' series. This small effort is proof positve that Michael J Sullivan has matured into a talented writer that can turn his hand in providing the reader with an exceptionally good fantasy read.
As it is...5 Stars

Ray Nicholson

Also included with this download, is a sample of the first book in the 'Riyria Chronicles' series, " Theft of Swords"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Introduction to the Riyria Revelations September 30, 2011
By Nadia
Format:Kindle Edition
At 5,400 words, The Viscount and the Witch was a fun speedy read. I haven't read any of the novels that make up The Riyria Revelations series so I was unfamiliar with the characters Royce & Hadrian. I know that I liked what I read because as soon as the story ended my first thought was, "No! There has to be more!" The short story ended at the 53% mark on my Kindle. That would have bothered me had I not known ahead of time that it was a short story. I'd discuss the story but, really, it's pretty short and has four characters that appear- Royce, Hadrian, Viscount, & the witch. The file is supplemented by a sweet Author's Note in the beginning & an excerpt of Theft of Swords at the end. Overall, I really enjoyed the world of Royce & Hadrian and I can't wait to get Theft of Swords now! I'll have to be patient until it comes out on November 23, 2011.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Entertainment!! July 19, 2013
By Wendell
Format:Kindle Edition
The Viscount and The Witch is a short story, which introduces readers to Hadrian and Royce: the heroes of the Riyria Revelations. It takes place several years before their adventures in Mr. Sullivan's other Riyria books, and while it is a standalone story, I believe you will find it much more enjoyable if you have read the novels before sampling this.

The tale itself revolves around Royce and Hadrian traveling and encountering obstacles along their path including a "witch." These "bumps" allow the author to highlight the differences in Hadrian's more optimistic, naive character and Royce's brooding, pessimistic outlook on life and people. It also gives Mr. Sullivan the chance to introduce a landless, pathetic noble named Viscount Albert, whom our heroes befriend and save from himself. (Albert, of course, goes on to play a role in the Riyria Revelations.) Through all this, a reader begins to see the making of Hadrian and Royce's partnership, which is the central point upon which the Riyria Revelations balances.

I only have two complaints about The Viscount and The Witch. One, the story is very light on plot. There isn't much that actually happens other than Royce proving to Hadrian that he is too trusting of others. Two, it is too short. Once you actually become engaged in the tale, it is over .

All in all, this story is a light and entertaining read. I believe it is best sampled after already having an emotional attachment to Royce and Hadrian; however that is not required to understand what is going on. So pick up The Viscount and The Witch and give it a try.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Intro Into a Wonderful Series October 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As far as I'm concerned Sullivan can do no wrong. His Riyria Revelations is one of my favorite series. They're just so much FUN to read. For the first time, in a long time, none of Sullivan's novels are available for sale. Orbit has bought the rights and will be releasing them over several months starting in November with Theft of Swords (which I'm reading right this minute for review). He released this story to give us all something to read while nothing else is available.

To those who've read Riyria, this is a great little story about how Royce and Hadrian meet up with one of their friends for the first time. To those who've never read Sullivan, it will be a great introduction to his style. There's no action to speak of, but it reflects Sullivan's deftness with character and tone. It's a sword and sorcery short without any sword or sorcery. And it doesn't need either.

All that said, this is a lot more of a peep and a taste into Sullivan and his world than a true short story. Recommended for fans of Riyria and to readers interested in what Sullivan is all about. For everyone else it's not exactly a dynamic story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Entertaining Read!
Once again, I'm entertained by Hadrian and Royce. Great short story (and you don't need prior knowledge in order to read or enjoy it), and it definitely reminds me that I need to... Read more
Published 12 hours ago by A. Lynnette
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This whole series is amazing. Couldnt stop reading
Published 1 month ago by Vincent Sorrentino
4.0 out of 5 stars First Chapters
How does one rate a book that only consists of the first chapters of several novels? It was given for free by the author so that readers could sample his work. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars The Viscount and The Witch
This is my second encounter with the Riyria gang and it seems to have went similarly to the first. There isn't anything glaringly wrong with the characters or the story per say,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Terence S. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
This story has an excellent amount of detail. And the transition from one part of the story to the next is equally good.
Published 2 months ago by tizlitts
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to have met Hadrian Blackwater.
Now, on to find out what happens next by reading the Riyria Revelations!
Michael J. Sullivan has created characters you want to learn more about and follow their adventures. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mattie
5.0 out of 5 stars The Viscount and the Witch
Engaging story line!
Published 3 months ago by Fnukn Lnukn
5.0 out of 5 stars my initial Sullivan experience
And I was very impressed. Good solid story lines. Very good character development. Enough of interest for me to buy the next available book.
Published 3 months ago by Paul Greene
2.0 out of 5 stars Read it all before
There really was no new material here. Most of the material was included in other books I have read from Mr. Sullivan.
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun listen
I really enjoy listening to M.J. Sullivan's stuff. Can't get enough!!
Published 5 months ago by Julius
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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 at the time and mimicking Snoopy so we'll forgive the use of that overused opening. But the desire to fill the blank page and see what doors the typewriter keys would unlock wouldn't let him go. For ten years Michael developed his craft by studying authors such as Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. During that time he wrote thirteen novels, and after finding no traction in publishing, he quit and vowed never to write creatively again.

Michael discovered that never is a very long time and ended his writing hiatus a decade later but with a condition: he wouldn't seek publication (as doing so was just too painful). Instead, he decided to write books he wanted to read and developed a fantasy series to for his then thirteen-year-old daughter, who was struggling in school due to dyslexia. After reading the third book, his wife insisted the series needed to "get out there." After Michael refused to jump back on the query-go-round, she took over the publication tasks.

Michael is one of the few authors who has successfully published through all three routes: small press, self, and big five, and he helps aspiring authors help determine the path that is best for them through is posts on publishing for Amazing Stories. Some key accomplishments of his career include:

* Named to io9's Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors
* Selling more than half a million copies
* Being translated to fifteen foreign languages
* Spending more than a year on Amazon's Bestselling Fantasy Author's list
* Having his books named to more than 90 "best of" or "most anticipated" lists including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes and Noble,, and

Today, Michael continues to fill blank pages and is working on completing the final book in his third series tentatively titled The First Empire (traditional fantasy). His first science fiction novel, Hollow World was released by Tachyon Publications in April 2014.

* 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
* Blood of Thieves (Omnibus that contains The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn)

THE FIRST EMPIRE (release date to be determined)
* Rhune
* Fhrey
* Dherg

* Hollow World (time-travel science fiction)
* Antithesis: release date to be determined (contemporary fantasy)
* Burden to the Earth: release date to b determined (literary fiction)

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

* The Viscount: A Riyria Short
* The Jester: A Riyria Short
* The Thieves: A Riyria Short (coming soon)
* Greener Grass (time-travel science fiction)
* Traditions: (traditional fantasy, coming soon)
* God's Game: (contemporary fantasy, coming soon)
* Burning Alexandria: (dystopian science fiction, coming soon)
* Autumn's Mist (contempoary fantasy, coming soon)

* Unfettered
* Triumph Over Tragedy
* The End - Visions of Apocalypse

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