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Theft of Swords

Theft of Swords

4.5 124
by Michael J. Sullivan

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Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere


Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

Theft of Swords was originally published as: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha)
Rise of Empire (Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm)
Heir of Novron (Wintertide & Percepliquis)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sullivan succeeds with simplicity in his originally self-published epic fantasy debut. Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn are a pair of thieves and mercenaries. They aren't mentioned in any prophecies or the lost heirs to anything; they're just criminals who happen to have hearts of gold. Going by the inexplicably pretentious shared name of "Riyria," they steal incriminating letters from a blackmailer, kidnap a young king to save his life, and protect a village menaced by a terrible monster. Along the way, they meet a clever princess, an unlucky monk, a 1,000-year-old wizard with no hands, and a naïve but heroic farm girl. There's even the beginning of a series story arc as the powerful Church of Nyphron secretly schemes to control the world. Hair-raising escapes, flashy sword fights, and faithful friendship complete the formula for good old-fashioned escapist fun. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
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

Library Journal
Together known as Riyria, Mercenary soldier Hadrian Blackwater and his partner, talented thief Royce Melborn, pride themselves on their ability to execute impossible tasks for the right price. When a commission to steal a sword leads to their implication in the murder of the king, the pair must rely on every skill they possess to save their lives—and some they discover along the way. Sullivan's debut, originally self-published as an ebook, became a Kindle best seller. Now this trilogy opener is presented in print, along with its succeeding volumes (Rise of Empire; Heir of Novron), to be published this December and January 2012, respectively. 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. VERDICT Fans of Fritz Leiber's classic "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" novels should welcome the adventures of Hadrian and Royce. A winning debut for fantasy lovers.

Product Details

Publication date:
Riyria Revelations Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 2.00(d)

Meet the Author

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Michael J. Sullivan has lived in Vermont, North Carolina, and Virginia. He worked as a commercial artist and illustrator, founding his own advertising agency in 1996, which he closed in 2005 to pursue writing full-time. The Crown Conspiracy is his first published work. He currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife and three children. The author's website can be found at www.riyria.com and on twitter @author_sullivan.

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Theft of Swords 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey Anoymouus...not sure why you gave the book a one star review without reading it but...as to your questions. Can someone tell me what order these books go in? Theft of Swords (books 1 & 2) Rise of Empire (books 3 & 4) Heir of Novron (books 5 & 6) This is in the description as well. Also, is there any bad stuff like cursing, impurity or immorality? Thank you in advance! The book is free of foul language. It is about people who steal for a living so I guess you could say they are immoral. But I wouldn't classify them as such. It is remarkably "clean" (no swearing, sexual scenes or graphic violence) and although written for adults can be enjoyed by people of a younger age.
JeanBookNerd More than 1 year ago
At first glance, Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations Series) seem like your familiar fantasy series attached with everything that you have come to expect from that genre. The one thing that makes this stand out from the rest is how the author, Michael J. Sullivan, takes those familiarities and twists them into a refreshing approach, yet keeping that fantasy feel. The characters within the pages were radiantly crafted with care and the chemistry between them was strong and vivid. The story is about two thieves, Royce and Hadrian, and their planned heist to take an important item within the walls of the king’s castle. Just as they laid their hands on their prize, a trap is triggered when the lifeless body of the king is at their feet and they are accused for his demise. The story goes on a wild ride with the reader in the front seat the whole way. Between the first page and the last, the reader will be entertained and taken into a journey of mystery, adventure, and murder. At the end, it seems like everything is back to normal and everyone is at ease. Since this is the first book in the series, it is inevitable that our duo thieves will find themselves again in another predicament. Sullivan has done an outstanding effort in making a popular genre very likable for all. If you like fantasy and tired of the same thing you have come to expect, this book will offer new approaches to the genre. Just remember that Theft of Swords is book one of a trilogy and contains two “stand-alone” stories with endings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had never heard of this book or the author but I took a chance on them and I was/am very impressed. I do not even usually wright reviews but I really want to get the word out on this book plus, I think it would make an awesome movie! Buy this book and you will probably end up like me...rushing out to buy the second book (Rise of Emire) BEFORE you have even finished the first book so you can get your fix without having any gaps inbetween! Great job Mr. Sullivan!!
Bryanyoung28 More than 1 year ago
Michael J Sullivan takes you on a thrilling adventure with two witty and charismatic thieves who have a knack for getting into trouble. Good thing they are also talented at getting out of it as well! Having read all 6 books in the series I must say if you are a regular of the fantasy genre, this is well worth your time. Not heavy handed or overly detailed for the sake of detail alone like many in the genre these days, Riyria Revelations is simple, fun and humorous while also having a depth about it that at first you may not notice. The best thing about the books, aside from the adventure, is the characters. From the start you find yourself enjoying the two leads, Royce and Hadrian, and you will soon find yourself hooked by their magnetic personalities. I highly recommend reading this series and hope you enjoyed it as much as I have! Bryan
Will0 More than 1 year ago
I picked up Theft of Swords nearly three weeks ago, looking for a new book or series to read. I read the back, trying to get a feel for the book. It looked interesting but I was not going to get my hopes up. All I expected was a decent story. I was proven wrong. The story was not decent. It was brilliant. Sullivan begins the story with the two main characters on a mission. While many books take a while to draw you in, Theft of Swords abandons that, drawing you in on the first page. And it does not relinquish it's hold. In my reading, I have found that many authors have "filler" sentences and chapters. While these are okay, they often detract from the story. Throughout the Riyria Revelations, I cannot think of a single word, let alone sentence or chapter, that I would call "filler". There were many times that a character was introduced, one whom I THOUGHT was "filler" and would simply disappear. Time and time again, I was proven wrong. The character would be introduced again, be it a chapter or a book later, and would interact with the main characters, Royce and Hadrian, proving vital to the progression of the story. If I were to identify one thing I think Sullivan does that is truly exceptional, I would have to say CHARACTERIZATION. Throughout the series, Sullivan carefully describes the characters, giving them their own lives and meaning. After reading the series, there is not a single character that I do not identify with (and understand). To use a cliché, the characters "jump of the page", taking over your mind and thought. Ultimately, this is a goal all writers have: to make the reader understand their characters, enjoy them, and find entertainment with them. This does not always happen, however, and the impressive thing Sullivan accomplished is not only pulling it off with one or two characters but each and every one of them. Literally. I am an avid reader, always have been, and always will be. Bookshelves adorn the walls of my house, the one in my bedroom reserved for my favorite books. The top shelf (on the far left) is specifically reserved for my favorite book, or series. This is where my copy of the Riyria Revelations now reside. I also have each of them on my Nook (tablet), Apple iPad, and Apple iPhone so I can have them wherever I go (literally). I have heard it said many times that a great book is one that you feel you can read over and over again. I do not always agree with this statement. There have been books I have read that I would classify as great that I would not read again, at least for a very long time. Riyria: I will read over and over again. I know it. I cannot now. I am in college, currently struggling my way through a week of midterms before Spring Break, and I want to try out a long list of books I have stored in Notes on my iPhone. But come summer in a couple months, after I have gotten through four or five of the sixty books on my reading list, I have no doubt that I will return to the Riyria Revelations for another, in depth read. For me, Riyria was not just a great series. It is my favorite series and Sullivan, whom I had never heard of before has become my favorite author. I am looking forward to what the future brings in terms of his writing and hope, or pray, that he will return to it (and publish more) someday.
ebookwhen More than 1 year ago
I picked this up so I would have something to read while I wait for the next books in several other series I have been reading to come out. This is very well written, has good flow, interesting story & likeable characters. I think I have just found a new series to read while I am waiting for the next books in other series to come out. I plan to continue reading this series as more books are released, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of writing and story.
AuthorTLGray More than 1 year ago
There is a new author that has found a spot on a special bookcase in my office (or at least will as soon as I order a printed edition – one I hope comes signed); a series of four shelves that hold my all-time favorites. Such authors that have made this shelf are J.K. Rowling, Garth Nix, Cinda Chima Williams, Christopher Paolini, Rick Riordan, Stephen King, Ursula K. Leguin, Piers Anthony, Charlaine Harris, Jane Austen, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, R.T. Kaelin, Anthony Ryan and D.J. MacHale. His name is Michael J. Sullivan, and I absolutely fell in love with his Riyria series. Well, more to the truth, I fell in love with the two protagonists, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn. These two make me think of a young Garth and Hub from the movie Second Hand Lions – they both argue about everything, but when working together surmount impossible odds. It didn’t take but perhaps a half of a chapter before I was absolutely hooked. The chemistry between Hadrian and Royce was illustrated so elaborately and simply, I couldn’t help but instantly draw a clear picture of them in my mind. I was plucked out of my mundane twenty-first century existence and dropped right into the center of a middle-age fantasy saga. Yet, Sullivan didn’t go to the King or Jordan extremes with dumping me into the center of several paragraphs of description. He kept it active, yet colored the scenes in beautifully, allowing my mind to smooth out the edges, which in my opinion is the mark of a true literary artist. The story starts with two thieves, doing what they do best – thievery. Well, actually the story starts off with two thieves on their way to do thievery when they are ambushed by a band of common thieves. The brilliance of dialogue and character development were poured out by the barrel full in this opening scene, as Hadrian and Royce not only argued with one another while being held-up by arrow and knife-point, but then proceeded to chastise their assailants in the proper procedures of highway robbery, to the point that not only did their accosters stop their attempt to rob them, but aided them on their way, more particularly when they found out the two people they were trying to rob were the infamous Riyria. Needless to say, the thieves were successful in their midnight raid, brought back their spoils and divided their profits to all in their little network. Here we get to meet some minor characters, some that play bigger parts later in the story. With a job well done, and their storehouse filled, and a decision made to live easy for the upcoming winter, an unexpected and urgent job plops into their laps. Going against their own set of thief rules (beware of things that sound too good to be true and don’t thoroughly examine the job), they accept a job to steal a sword in order to save a man from dying in a duel for simply ‘looking’ at another’s man wife. This dueler was a man of renowned reputation for being an excellent swordsman, and placed much value and superstition onto a particular sword. With the offer of a hundred gold coins before and after the theft, the boys found they couldn’t resist, even if they disagreed through the whole consideration. Once they’ve accepted the job, everything from this point forward goes haywire: they are set up and accused of killing the king, are imprisoned to face horrible torture and beheading as decreed by the crown prince, yet aided by the princess to kidnap the prince (to save his life), escape with him, and journey to a secret prison to release a five-hundred year old wizard. What is amazing about this whole journey is that Hadrian and Royce treat each of these exciting adventures as if it were just another day and another job. Throughout the whole adventure, their comic relief comes at just the right moments. The story on the whole is not too heavy, too dark and too on edge, but quite balanced with a little of it all. I didn’t want to stop reading. I wanted to lock myself away and close the door to the world around me, and become completely immersed in this fantasy world. The rest of the story includes a couple of great battles, a little magic, a lot of religious persecution, a contest, an evil serpent, a sword, a tower, a conspiracy and a people who not only need, but can’t survive without Hadrian and Royce’s involvement, aided by the elusive wizard Esrahaddon. I loved every minute of this story. I have my own speculations of what is to come, but I won’t share them here. In fact, I’m so excited about reading the next installment of I’m going to end this review. I highly recommend this book and this author. This makes the third writer I’ve met recently that has really impressed me, and their stories have moved me. Till next time, ~T.L. Gray
Lucy-neesan More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love Riyira. I laughed through much of The Crown Conspiracy at all the antics of Royce and Hadrian. I could hardly wait for the next books. Who would have expected a story about a chivalrous swordsman teaming up with a shadowy assassin would be so enjoyable? And it wasn't just humorous, but heartfelt as you watch the characters grow and develop. I recommend this book to everyone. And the series get even better the second time through. Sullivan left easter eggs everywhere. Names are mentioned very incidentally in early books that you would think is just world-building, only to become an actual character in a later book.
Another_Old_Guy More than 1 year ago
Somewhere this is categorized as 'epic fantasy'. I wouldn't necessarily put it along side Tolkien or C. S. Lewis, but it is a good teen through adult fantasy read. Set in a lightly constructed imaginary medieval world, it is a story of a couple of heroes caught on the edge of recovering a lost empire or possibly plunging into a feudal world of wars, oppression, and deception. Wait.....those are the same thing! The heroes make their living as high end thieves and have plenty of mystery about who they really are. It manages to have travel and adventure without becoming a slave to a geography the reader really doesn't care about. This is a repackaging of the first two books of a 2009(?) six book series. There are two more combined books to complete the original series, but this combination of the first two stands alone with only a few minor questions that don't qualify as cliff hangers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted a book that was fantasy like lord of the rings but not all of the rape stuff that martin is known for. Great series! Just buy all three books now because you're going to anyways! I am truely impressed by Sullivan and feel like his biggest fan after this series alone. Wife also read series and loved it. These books should be movies! I do believe it will happen. You will not be disappointed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Hadrian and Royce. These books are awesome if you are looking for an adventure!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a fun light fantasy series, if you're a fan of the sword and sorcery pulp era, or if you grew up reading the serial books of Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms give this book a shot. Fun characters. Good banter. By no means perfect but perfectly enjoyable.
Radikalriky More than 1 year ago
What I like: - The book is very well written with excellent dialogue and pace. - A story with a lot of ¿weaving¿ of story-within-story to give more depth. This is rich reading that you can¿t race through. - This being a trilogy, and as stated by the author, was completed before the first book was published allowed him to tinker with book one to drop hints and clues that reveal themselves later in book two or book three. Very clever. - Though this is book one of a trilogy, it consists of two ¿stand-alone¿ stories that conclude, as do all three books in the trilogy have two stand-alone stories. - The story can be read by young adults and older adults equally without an ¿R¿ rating. Reading this series makes me think that it is written in a way that it could be made into an HBO [PG-13] mini-series. What I¿m not all that ¿jazzed¿ about: - The ¿what I like¿ outweighs that what does not grab me. - I would say the story about power-hungry church(s) versus non-churched and the drama and intrigue does not keep me glued as other fantasy has. - Unlike other fantasy I¿ve read, I seem unable to find the truly good or the truly evil. Instead of good versus evil you have what seems gray versus gray that leaves me not sure who I want to win or succeed. Bottom line: Just because it¿s not Lord of the Rings or Dragon Riders of Pern or The Song of Albion¿ The writing quality and stories are up with them [IF] this type of story subject is up your alley - Better than MOST other fantasy out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A perfect blend of comedy, adventure, and drama. A fantasy worth the read and very hard to put down.
SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
Fantastic, wonderful, amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story with lots of twists and turns. Really enjoy the two main characters. Good mix of drama, humor, action, and mystery. Looking forward to reading the rest of the books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Acur81 More than 1 year ago
An omnibus of "The Riyria Revelations", this book includes the first two novels, "The Crown Conspiracy", and "Avempartha". I was fortunate, IMHO, that I read the two "prequel" novels before starting the Revelations, which were published first. They gave me the origin of "Riyria", which means two, in Elvish. I wasn't able to find hardcovers of this series, though that's how I read the "prequels" first. Since the six "Revelation" novels were self-published, that somewhat explains the difficulty. Anyway, I bought the e-book, and intend to buy the others, as well. This is a very well-written fantasy series, with lots of action, and intrigue, with some humor deftly woven in. Royce Melborn, and Hadrian Blackwater, couldn't be more different if they tried. Royce is a half-elf thief, who has murdered people, and been in prison. Hadrian is a former soldier, big, strong, and altruistic. Somehow, they work well together, performing amazing feats of derring-do, which is obviously good for the series. At any rate, this is first class fantasy, and definitely worth a read, for anyone who even remotely enjoys the genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sullivan is a master storyteller! Excellent plot and characterization. Wasn't expecting it to be more than a simple good read, and was astonished at how thoroughly I got drawn in. I can usually tell where a story is going, but Sullivan constantly surprised me. His world is fully realized, and not once did I find myself suddenly "on the outside looking in" because of some jarring contradiction or inconsistency. Far better than "Game of Thrones" - it's a pity the folks at HBO didn't find this first. Almost finished with the final book, and hating the fact that there aren't more to come on these characters (hint, hint). Btw, I read the prequels first, so don't bother pointing them out. Please Mr. Sullivan, return to this world to weave a story about some of the lesser characters, since Royce, Hadrian and Arista seem settled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great novel!
Randolph Cochran More than 1 year ago
This book was difficult to like at first. There was very little background story on the main characters and the sequence of events did not flow together very well. It was in part two that things began making some sense. The main characters were finally given some depth and the story line became clear and more developed. The second part of the book was thankfully different from the first part of the book. The writing was much better. The story much better. The second part of the book is what makes you want to read the next book in the series. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a good story with good characters and plot. Unfortunately the writing serves as a distraction. The dialogue is wooden and artificial, the characters' inner workings are over-explained, the plot is overly described, and any foreshadowing has the subtlty of a jet engine in your bedroom. A good editor cutting out half of the text would make this a terrific read.