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The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles) Paperback – August 6, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Riyria Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews


"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... A winning debut for fantasy lovers."―Library Journal on Theft of Swords

"Hair-raising escapes, flashy sword fights, and faithful friendship complete the formula for good old-fashioned escapist fun."Publishers Weekly on Theft of Swords

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

"Mr. Sullivan continues to impress. In Royce and Hadrian he has created some of the best characters the genre has seen in some time, and in Avempartha he shows that he knows what to do with them. These books should be in every bookstore and I really hope that they are someday."―Speculative Fiction Junkie

From the Author

Welcome to the Riyria Chronicles.

If you're new to the world of Elan, you might want to read this introduction to help determine where to start your journey, because it might not be here. If you're a veteran of The Riyria Revelations you might want to read this just for a bit of perspective for future books.

The Riyria Chronicles are prequels to my debut series, the Riyria Revelations (initially released by Orbit from Nov 2011- Jan 2012). If you prefer your tales in chronological order, please start with The Crown Tower, as I've taken great care to avoid spoilers. That being said, Chronicles were actually designed to be read after the Riyria Revelations, and veteran readers will be treated to Easter eggs made possible by having the inside scoop on the entire story arc. These won't be significant plot points, just little extra surprises for those in the know. For those desiring to read in publication order, start with Theft of Swords. The bottom line is that readers, both old and new, should find a rewarding experience with either approach, and no prior knowledge of Revelations is expected or required.

One thing I'd like to mention is the difference of structure between the two series. For those that don't know, I wrote all six books of The Riyria Revelations before publishing any of them. This was absolutely necessary for that particular tale. While I gave each book its own conflict and resolution, there were a number of threads interwoven across the entire series. Mysteries were hinted at, geese needed chasing, and everything was built to support the grand finale. Being a first work, I could afford such luxury. It didn't matter that it took more than a decade to create. After all, no one would be waiting on the next installment.

I'm approaching The Riyria Chronicles quite differently. I have no idea how many there will be (beyond the first two books, which are already released), so I'm designing this as an open-ended series rather than a single tale divided into episodes. The stories are intended to be more like stand-alone novels with less integration from one book to another. The reason is simple. I'm very sensitive about having Royce and Hadrian overstay their welcome. We all know of series, both book and television, that went on longer than they should have. It's sad to see something that was once loved and cherished becoming a shadow of its former self. So by designing Chronicles in this way I can play it by ear when determining whether to release the next adventure.

I'm fortunate enough to make my living from writing, and a story, no matter how much I enjoy writing it, doesn't put food on the table if no one is interested. Being a writer in this day and age provides the possibility for more interaction then when Hemingway or Steinbeck wrote. Emails, forum posts, tweets, blog comments, and even a survey I crated to collect feedback made it clear that I hadn't yet reached the point where my characters were being asked to politely find somewhere else to go. So it is the readers who are partially responsible for this series' existence and their feedback will also play a major role in any additional books. To that end, when you finish this book, please email me at michael.sullivan.dc@gmail.com (or answer this short poll) and let me know whether you want more or would prefer me to go on to something else. After all you provide me with the income to support my family, the least I can do is give you want you want to read.

12/12/12 Edit: Thank you to the folks at Fantasy Faction for including The Crown Tower in their Top 10 Anticipated Books for 2013. I'm honored to be included with such industry greats as Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Peter V. Brett, Scott Lynch, and Mark Charan Newton as well as new authors Mark Lawrence, Myke Cole, and Douglas Hulick

12/15/12 Edit: Thanks also to the people at BestFantasyBooks.com for including The Crown Tower on their own Most Anticiated Fantasy Books for 2013. It is joined by some familiar faces from the other list: Jordan, Sanderson, Brett, Lawrence but is also joined by Daniel Abraham, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Richard K. Morgan.

12/20/12 Edit: I'm honored that The Crown Tower was named by Ranting Dragon as one of their 50 Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels to Look Forward to in 2013. It is joined by: Scott Lynch, Peter V. Brett, Kevin Hearne, John Scalzi, Daniel Abraham, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Brandson Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Guy Gavriel Kay, and several others.

12/2/13 Edit: I'm honored that The Crown Tower was a 2013 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy. It is joined by: Scott Lynch, Peter V. Brett, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Brandson Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Goodkind, R.A. Salvatore and several others.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Riyria Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031624371X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316243711
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In chronologial order this is the first book of the Riyria Revelations and I can tell that the author is finding his stride. I'm already a huge fan of the series and I think this one is the best by far. The other books have hinted at how the infamous pair of Royce and Hadrian met but this really fleshes it out for you. And even though I already knew what happened I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book. I stayed up way too late so I could finish it the day I got it because there just wasn't a good enough place to stop that would have allowed me to sleep. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone in need of a good fantasy adventure. my only complaint, and it isn't even a complaint, but I suppose I wish it was longer. I love Royce and Hadrian and I really enjoy Michael J. Sullivan's work, so I would've liked to prolong the adventure, though I look forawrd to the next installments!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I discovered Mr. Sullivan earlier this summer thanks to reddit, and from the get go I loved his Revelations series. I might apply the word voraciously to how quickly I went through those books. Needless to say, I was pleased to learn I would only have to wait till early August to read The Crown Tower, and I am happy to report it reads as wonderfully as Revelations. No seriously, I read it in a few hours after pulling the whole "just a chapter" thing. His writing style is hard to put down. He combines humor, fun, and darker things in an amazingly readable way. This book entertained me, moved me, made me thoughtful about both the book's internal world, and the real world.

For those who have read Revelation: this book has the same feel without feeling like a rehash of those book. I was actually surprised at how different the character's personalities were- they were all definitely recognizable, but they felt younger, and untried. The developing relationship between Hadrian and Royce really felt perfect knowing how they turn out much, much later. I was happy to see Gwen make a large appearance, and I think her story line is one of the things I am most looking forward to next. It should be really cool to see how a lot of the threads that came together in Revelations started.

For those who haven't read Revelations: You can jump right in with this book, you don't need to have read the earlier, but later books first. I don't think reading this book would change how you view the story of the later books, either, but I haven't reread them, yet.

The only concern I can muster is that sometimes I wished the pacing slowed down and maybe offered a little more description of the people/world. It really didn't bother me much, but I feel like I have to offer some balance to the unremitted praise.

I highly recommend this book, and this author. It's an excellent, fast-paced read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Crown Tower" is the first book in 'The Riyria Chronicles' by author Michael J. Sullivan. This Kindle e-book was a 717 Kb download (approx. 377 reading pages) and sold for $8.89 at the time of writing this review. The book also includes a brief excerpt of the second book in the series, "The Rose and the Thorn", due out in Sept, 2013.

Spoilers (general theme)

This book deals with the first encounters between Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn... a relationship initially filled with suspicion, distrust and a huge amount of animosity.

End Spoilers

Some Pros and Concerns...

The Pros
1.) well written and deftly told in the professional style that is readily apparent in all of the books of this series.

2.) a nice sense of pace and timing... important pieces of info were released in proper sequence and at intervals that kept the story moving along while maintaining the suspense.

3.) map... there is a very good map with markings for topographical features and the names of major places. (See Concerns below)

4.) I thought the author did a terrific job in highlighting both Hadrian's and Royce's initial character traits. Hadrian with a degree of youthful naivety and innocence and Royce's uncaring ruthlessness. Two clashing personality traits that were slowly and often painfully softened by the books end.

5.) some interesting confrontations between our heroes and several other groups and individuals. These moments are tense, exciting and typical of Michael J. Sullivan skill with prose for action-based scenes.

6.) bantering conversation... because this tale documents their initial meetings, it took a while for them to develop their kibitzing style of repartee...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just to let you know up front I am a huge fan of The Riyria Revelations and of the author himself. Over the years i have talked to both Mr. Sullivan and his wife a few times via fantasy web site message boards and knowing the type of people that they are has only made my enjoyment of Mr. Sullivan's writings increase.

I was so excited to hear of this new Riyria Chronicles series being released because I feel in love with Royce, Hadrian, and Gwen in the original series The Riyria Revelations. I really don't want to give any plot details away that might spoil your enjoyment of the books but I will say reading this book reminded me of going to a class reunion. You walk in going I think I know him or she looks familiar but after thiry minutes you feel like you just saw all of these people yesterday.

Being able to hold all these chatacters that Michael has made me love again was pure joy. The real pleasure came from reading this book and finding out what made them who they are. if you're out there reading this and thinking I really would like to find a fantasy series that is fast paced,with plenty of action,that will stay with me long after I have finished the book then welcome to The Riyria Chronicles.

Sometimes you just have to have a little faith. Years ago i read an article about George R.R.Martin being at a book show in town and I thought his books sound interesting and I gave them a try which led to countless hours of enjoyment. I think the Riyria novels will create the same thing for you and as a bonus the original series The Riyria Revelations is already complete. Please come discover Riyria and see why so many of us love these books. You'll be glad you did.
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