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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly addictive and fun fantasy adventure
Theft of Swords is the first of three omnibus editions of Sullivan's Riyria Revelations. After considerable indie success, Orbit books bought the rights to give the series the full big-publisher treatment. I'd heard of the Riyria Revelations before, as they kept appearing in my Amazon recommendations. I bought the first book for my Kindle, but promptly forgot about it,...
Published on 13 Nov 2011 by Stefan

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easygoing fantasy
Omnibus edition of "The Crown Conspiracy" and "Avempartha" the first two stories in the author's Riyria Revelations series. Lots of mixed reviews for this and I can see why. It has an old fashioned style to it and tries for the fun aspect rather than the brutal aspect. You have to accept t for a light and fun read but if you try to over analyse it in any way you will...
Published 3 months ago by Nick Brett


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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly addictive and fun fantasy adventure, 13 Nov 2011
By 
This review is from: Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations (Paperback)
Theft of Swords is the first of three omnibus editions of Sullivan's Riyria Revelations. After considerable indie success, Orbit books bought the rights to give the series the full big-publisher treatment. I'd heard of the Riyria Revelations before, as they kept appearing in my Amazon recommendations. I bought the first book for my Kindle, but promptly forgot about it, much to my shame. Now that I've read this first pair of novels, I can tell you that Sullivan has a new fan for life.

The Crown Conspiracy, the first novel in the omnibus, is great fun from the get-go, as we are thrown right into some action, getting to know Hadrian and Royce extremely quickly. How can you not like a pair of rogues who advise the band of highwaymen trying to rob them on how better to have done it? The opening scenes are indicative of what is to come: the banter between our two main characters is superb and very natural. Hadrian and Royce feel like they have a proper, real friendship immediately. This makes reading of their adventures and exploits an absolute pleasure.

In The Crown Conspiracy, Hadrian and Royce get sucked into a greater plot concerning the succession to the throne of one of the Elan kingdoms - they are hired to steal a favourite sword of a master duellist, but in the process are framed for the murder of a king. There is plenty of misdirection, as we are kept guessing about who is at the heart of the conspiracy - other members of the royal family? The Nephron Church? The mysterious outlaw Esrahaddon? As our heroes delve further into the mystery, they discover the various forces arrayed against them will spare no expense to keep the truth hidden.

The second half of this omnibus, the novel Avempartha, has a slightly more serious tone, with fewer moments that made me laugh, but it is no less interesting, engaging and entertaining. It's a great quest adventure, as Hadrian and Royce are hired by a provincial girl to help protect their village from a mysterious beast that has been terrorising and eating the villagers. In the pursuit of this job, our two heroes are sent to steal yet another sword, under advisement from a surprise returning character from the first book. Clearly, no good can come from jobs involving a theft of swords...

Sullivan has a gift for characterisation, and he does a superb job of giving each of his characters distinct sensibilities, personalities and voices - even though the novel is not presented in a first-person narrative, when we follow a character, we get a good sense of their personalities in the way observations and description are written. For example, when a high-born lady meets with Hadrian and Royce, the ruder aspects of life in this world do not escape comment. Sometimes this effect is delivered with a single of observation; at other times, Sullivan even manages it with a single expertly-placed word.

He also has a good eye for portraying people, crowds, and the `mob' (to borrow Terry Pratchett's word) - it reminded me of Pratchett or Monty Python at their least nutty and most subtle. The novel has a delightful, sympathetic absurdity (see Myron, the monk librarian with an eidetic memory, who is perhaps one of the best comic characters I've ever read - so very endearing and amusing). As I mention above, this is more apparent in the first novel than the second.

There were so many passages of dialogue and observation that I wanted to quote here, to give you a taste of what to expect in these two novels, but I think that would have ultimately ruined a new reader's experience of discovering this story and the characters that populate it for themselves. Myron is the source of many of them. We liked Myron a lot, it should be stated.

"The smallest of the children fascinated Myron, and he watched them in amazement. They were like short drunk people, loud and unusually dirty..."

There are a few moments of fortuitous coincidence that help the plot move along (I couldn't help but mutter "Huh, that was handy" a couple of times), but we do move on so well and briskly that we don't really give a monkey's, as we're just having so much fun, and we really need to know what happens next. In Avempartha, the scenes where Arista, the Princess of Melengar and ambassador to the kingdom Hadrian and Royce find themselves in, tend to feel slower, dropping the momentum of the novel a little. This was a little disappointing, as the whole of The Crown Conspiracy was superbly streamlined.

Over the course of these two novels, Sullivan lays down a lot of groundwork for the larger story. We get more and more details about our heroes and the politics of this world - from the characters of the individual kingdoms, to the corrupt Imperialist politics of the Church. Some of this won't really come as too much of a surprise, as the reader will see hints of certain events and revelations that could be easily predicted. We meet a lot of characters who will clearly feature prominently throughout the six novels that make up the series. At the same time, Sullivan isn't afraid of killing off characters if the story requires it (Chapter 12 of Avempartha was quite distressing).

Anyone interested in lighter-hearted, but not frivolous fantasy should definitely read Sullivan's novels. The prose is superbly fluid, the dialogue is realistic, the plotting and narrative tight and expertly crafted. It will grab hold and pull you along, utterly willing.

With a classic and fun feel, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it to all fans of fantasy. True, the second half isn't quite as good as the truly excellent first novel, but it's still very strong and promises more goodness to come.

I can't wait to get my hands on the second omnibus, Rise of Empire.

For fans of: Fritz Leiber, Ari Marmell, Scott Lynch, Will King, Nathan Long, Terry Pratchett
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking start to a real humdinger series, 1 Nov 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations (Paperback)
I love a good fantasy that gives me something that not only invokes memories but also brings a new fantasy world and sneakiness to the fore. What this book by Michael J Sullivan does is bring together elements of Lieber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser with the detailed and political machinations of Martin alongside the authors own style that really works well with the plotline.

The principle cast members are fun to be around, have great depth and flavour and when added to a plot that has the pace of a galloping horse, leaves the reader hanging on to find out what's going to happen next which when you add to this an epic subplot that will take some time to work through it will leave our heroes will have one hell of an arc to sort through as for them an armies worth of the brown stuff has just hit the fan. Cracking.

Finally just to help others avoid any confusion, this series released by Orbit is an amalgam of the previous released books and will work out like this:

* Theft of Swords: The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha
* Rise of Empire: Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm
* Heir of Novron: Wintertide and Percepliquis
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easygoing fantasy, 1 Jan 2014
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Omnibus edition of "The Crown Conspiracy" and "Avempartha" the first two stories in the author's Riyria Revelations series. Lots of mixed reviews for this and I can see why. It has an old fashioned style to it and tries for the fun aspect rather than the brutal aspect. You have to accept t for a light and fun read but if you try to over analyse it in any way you will become frustrated.

The books feature a couple of thieves, and the banter and dialogue between them is quite fun, but their characters are not really fleshed out until the second of the two books here. The first book is about a frame for the murder of a King, the kidnapping of his heir and a religious conspiracy. In the second they take a job not realising it is part of a much bigger and darker picture and lots of re-appearances from characters in the first book.

So, for lightweight fantasy fun, it's not bad. It's certainly no Rothfuss or Abercrombie but it is a step up from Terry Brooks. I am kind of tempted to get the next one.....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic new fantasy series, 21 Feb 2012
By 
D. J. Ketchin "living in books" (Edinburgh Uk) - See all my reviews
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This book was originally self-published in two parts, entitled 'The Crown Conspiracy' and 'Avempartha'.
Its now also available in print in single and omnibus editions.

This series is one of the best things Ive read for a while. The entire series of 6 books (3 in omnibus format) are now available in print and ebook formats. Ive read them all over a week and a half and each one is better than the last. This story is a very humorous road trip reminiscent of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. The series does its best to subvert most standard fantasy themes - no noble elves and dwarves here, nor pitiful goblins. The standard building blocks are all present, slightly altered giving the series a definite feel of standing out from the crowd. The world building is masterfully done - each brick has been carefully hand crafted - not drawn wholesale from the stock of traditional fantasy building blocks. The resulting edifice is unique while still encompassing all the expectations of traditional heroic fantasy.

Though its fair to say that Hadrian and Royce are the main characters - they are not the only heroes. The author has not missed the fact that you dont have to be big, or clever to be a hero. The recurring supporting cast - many of whom appear across the entire series and whom see their own backgrounds develop - some happily, some with tragedy - are particularly well written. Every book reveals more and more about each of the characters. Often what seems a throwaway comment was found to be significant in later volumes. TWhat sometimes irks a little is the dearth of background on Hadrian and Royce. Having read the entire series - it is worth waiting for. Later books expand significantly on their prior history. The construction of the main story arc over all six books is magnificently realised and has obviously been lovingly polished and revised to perfection over many years. There is no middle book syndrome here. All the books have self contained storylines which build on and contribute to the series as a whole. The careful release of backstory to advance the main arc is raised to a high art.

In the first book Royce and Hadrian are framed for killing the King and ending up kidnapping the Prince to clear their name. To clear their name they have to breaking in to an inescapable prison and solve who is behind the death of the king. Cue wizards, princes, princesses and dwarves. The initial story reminds me of Fritz liebers Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser.

The second story deals the duo again babysitting a member of the royal family whilst becoming engaged with a prophecy about a lost heir an unkillable beast, an unnapproachable fortress. Cue wizards, princes, princesses ,dwarves, magic swords , dragons, scheming clergy and an entire village caught in the middle.

One of the best new fantasy discoveries of recent years. Biggest bonus the whole series is already in print. IMHO this series is the new Magician. 6 solid books is something to be very proud of.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to old school fantasy, with a twist, 14 Feb 2012
By 
Dash Selvaratnam (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations (Paperback)
A lot of people today talk about modern fantasy writers and compare them immediately to others. Inspiration must be gather from somewhere and personally if I liked a book then a writer who I might also like has probably read and liked a similar book.
Without mentioning any names for me this was a return to a world which I thought modern writers would not be able to return to. While the story occasionally switches character which I tend to find annoying in most books I actually enjoy in this one because of how interesting and well developed the characters are. I remember one character who must have been in only about 7 pages in total through the first volume and yet felt like I knew him personally.

I shall leave you read some of the amazingly in depth reviews from my peers here which I will not insult them by repeating. It is as they say your own mind to choose whether or not to buy this series, but I would strongly nudge you in the direction of yes if, like me, you want a book that keeps you reading until the sun rises the next morning
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last! A brillaint fantasy., 15 Jan 2012
By 
Peter Miller (Sudbury, Suffolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations (Paperback)
Let's start off with a brief look at the book. A thief and a mercenary who have been a great team for years are tricked into a situation where they are accused of assassinating a king.From then on we have action, magic, politics and adventure. The three main characters are the thief and mercenary as already mentioned and a princess. These are the ones that the story follows.

AS the story progresses we learn more about each of these people and their backgrounds. Unlike the current trend the thief and mercenary are in fact honorable men, they are not sadistic or perverted but true heroes in the traditional mould. The Princess is a pretty strong character to start with and becomes tougher and better as the story unfolds.

The magic is quite mild, the politics are vital but not too complicated and we are not subjected to too much of that, it is more background and a reason for the story, the action is fast and exciting. The author also has the sense to give us periods of quite breathing space between the action which of course enhances the whole thing.

The way the books are put together is very interesting. Each volume of the Trilogy has two books in it and these are stand alone stories and yet each follows on from the previous one, thus covering major incidents in one long story.

While I am supposed to be reviewing the first book, I am half way through the second and the third is on its way.I read a lot of fantasy, a high percentage of the modern stuff goes straight to the Charity shops. This one is the best fantasy that I have read in many along year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Epic Fantasy, but an Epic Fail, 6 Mar 2014
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If you're into epic fantasy, or any fantasy, and you've enjoyed reading Tolkein, Martin, Abercrombie, Donaldson, Erikson, Hobb, Sanderson, Pratchett, et al, this book is definitely not for you.

However, if you like stories riddled with clichés, over-used tropes, a dumb plot, caricatures rather than rounded characters; if you want your dragons called Gilarabrywn rather than dragons; if you don't mind amateurish prose from an author devoid of any talent for writing, then you might get on with this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Traditional fun., 4 Aug 2013
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Take one fantasy world ingredients: wizard (1, mostly 'armless) ,thieves (x2), princesses, swords, (named and unnamed), elves, dwarves (x1) and diverse influences and miscellaneous characters.

Add a fission of unpredictability, elves who are poor but hold lost knowledge, characters who may not be what they seem and ... a winged servant that breathes fire that is not a dragon. Possibly.

Complicate matters with a slightly clunky start until the strands come to boil and settle back to enjoy a fun, fast read.

NB stupid names left at the door, map optional. Mcguffins allowed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure, 20 Mar 2013
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Any and all lovers of a good fantasy should read this one.
With the main characters not being the usual farm boy that has certain abilities, but a warrior and a thief with histories of their own, it gives their adventures a bit of fun and excitement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theft of Swords, 3 Mar 2013
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First book I have read by this Author and enjoyed it so much I could not wait to obtain the others in the series.
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Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations
Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan (Paperback - 3 Nov 2011)
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