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Theft of Swords, Vol. 1(Riyria Revelations) Paperback – November 23, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 677 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"In the space of two years, Michael Sullivan has moved from a small press debut author who was featured in one of my first "Indie Spotlight Reviews" to a "name" in the fantasy field." -- Fantasy Book Critic

Praise for the Riyria Revelations:

"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

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

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

Publishers Weekly

"This epic fantasy showcases the arrival of a master storyteller."―Library Journal

From the Author

I've always enjoyed television series that had a continuing story arc told through individual episodes. My favorites were Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Babylon 5. Having mysteries unfold a bit at a time kept me engrossed and I couldn't wait to see where the creators were going to take me. This was a major goal of mine when writing The Riyria Revelations and I hope you will enjoy your journey.

The tale had actually banged around in my head for over fifteen years in one form or another. I kept adding characters and plot lines until I had, at least to me, a compelling story with likeable characters. Because of the complexity of the plot in the overarching story, it was imperative that I wrote all of the books before releasing the first one. While I don't recommend this technique to other writers, it allowed me the opportunity to weave threads in previous books as I fully developed later ones.

While I'm on that subject, one of the most rewarding aspects of this series is the numerous "Easter eggs" that I've hidden along the way. There are small things that, upon first reading, you'll not consider as having any significance. For those that re-read the series, where all the pieces have been put into place, hopefully you'll see incidents or dialog in a whole new light. In retrospect, these clues should appear obvious, and if I've done my job properly they will remain buried until the proper time. In this respect, I hope the book will be a lot like the movie The Sixth Sense.

The Riyria Revelations, especially in the beginning, is little more than fun, fast-paced fantasy. As the series progresses, I think you'll see more depth both in the world of Elan and the characters. This was a purposeful decision and a dangerous one. It means that by design the first book is the weakest of the set, but enables me to end it with a resounding bang. This technique may mean that some will stop after reading the first book, assuming I have little talent. They may not feel "connected" to the characters because there was not enough for them to latch onto. All I can say is that I feel the reward of incremental discovery outweighed my alternatives. If after completing the entire story, you feel I lack ability, at least I'll know you came to the conclusion having all the facts on which to judge me.

The last thing I'd like to say about this series is that I wrote it for pure enjoyment--both for you and myself. First and foremost it was meant to entertain. My goal was to write a book that I would like to read, to be with friends that I wanted to spend time with and go on an adventure filled with surprises and some heartfelt moments. While I wrote the books for adults, I kept it free of foul language, sex, and graphic violence so that it could be enjoyed by people of all ages.This series is reminiscent of the fantasies I read as a youth and wasn't meant as any kind of commentary on current trends in modern fantasy. Yes, it incorporates archetypes and familiar themes, but hopefully they are used in a way that will make them feel fresh. What I was striving for was to create a series that felt as familiar and comfortable as your favorite pair of shoes. Hopefully there are people out there with similar tastes, and if you are one of them, I predict you'll enjoy the journey very much.


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Product Details

  • Series: Riyria Revelations (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (November 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316187747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316187749
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (677 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book.

Hadrian and Royce battle for the greater good in the midst of intrigue, false promises, action, adventure, and love. They know what it means to walk a careful line between competing interests, and before the end of the book I knew that they were two of my most favorite fantasy characters ever.

The world of the Riyria Revelations is well imagined and the backdrop for the sudden plot twists is sweeping and inspiring. I couldn't put this book down, and didn't want it to end. A great story, start to finish.

When I could part with the book, I loaned it to my 75-year-old mother, who loved it. She decided that Hadrian was her favorite name. Shortly thereafter, I loaned it to my 13-year-old grandson, and he LOVED IT! He liked different characters and different parts of the story, but the very idea that we could read a book through the generations and all delight in the story was absolutely something to celebrate.

If you love fantasy, you will not be disappointed with this excellent offering by Michael Sullivan. Do yourself a favor. Read it.
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Format: Paperback
Hadrian and Royce are partners in crime, a mercenary and thief who make a living working for the various nobles who rule over the lands of Avryn but spend most of their time feuding with one another. One particular job ends with Hadrian and Royce being arrested and charged with regicide. Determined to prove their innocence and take revenge on those who framed them, they set out on a quest that could change the fate of Avryn and the whole world.

Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series is already a proven success, with both small press and self-published editions of the books selling well. Orbit have picked up the series and recast the original six books as three omnibuses, bringing them to a wider audience. Whilst this laudably rewards the author's success, it also raises the stakes: standing out from the crowd in self-publishing is one thing, but how does Sullivan's work stack up compared to the current fantasy heavyweights?

The answer is...okay, actually. Sullivan's ambition with this series was to create a series that in a way beat against the current trend for adult, edgy, violent and explicit fantasy novels in favour of something more straightforward or 'classic'. Something that evoked the spirit of say Eddings or Brooks without being as dire. Sullivan lists Harry Potter as an inspiration, particularly the way it welded together accessibility and a classic structure with darker elements (such as major character deaths), and that's certainly a reasonable ambition.

Theft of Swords (which combines the first two novels in the series, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha) is a fast-paced, straightforward read with a fast-moving plot and easy-to-read writing.
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Format: Paperback
It should be noted that some of the first fantasy stories I ever read fell quite solidly into the sword and sorcery sub-genre. I remember liking them and then starting to move towards other things. Anyway, it'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.

The book is about two partners in crime, Hadrian and Royce, as they get hired to pull a couple of heists involving swords (hence the title). Both start off simply enough but as such things are wont to do in fantasy novels, events go all Murphy's Law on them. It's really more like two novellas set one after the other with an ongoing plot linking them loosely together.

Usually the biggest pitfall I have with sword and sorcery is the main characters. This was not the case for this book. There was no brooding over Royce's and Hadrian's pasts (which was refreshing). Little tidbits and hints about their pasts were noted without dragging the pace of the story down or distracting me with some tale of woe. There were one line acknowledgements where I could look back at that character's actions up until that point and go "yup I suspected that, but thank you for confirming it" without interrupting the story one whit.

I loved the social dynamic between the two of them and how opposite Hadrian and Royce were by nature and by trait, but how little true antagonism there was between them. I found myself very happy with the ribbing of who's got a soft spot for what, the "if we listened to me, we wouldn't be in this mess" reiterations and of course the ever entertaining "Well we could just kill the twit" spiel.
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Format: Paperback
This is definitely at the top of my list of favorite books. I loved this story, and very much look forward to the next in the series. It seems as if lately everyone is trying to write darker, brooding books, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I was happy find something a little more like the stories that got me into reading when I was younger. A great story with characters you want to get to know and a well executed plot that keeps you engaged. It was definitely well thought out and well written. It is a rich world with great characters (good and bad) and stories without being too complex to follow. Great for all ages.
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