Theft of Swords is the first in Michael Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations series. Rise of Empire releases this week, and the third and final installment, Heir of Novron is expected on January 31st, all from Orbit.
The series was originally self-published in 6 volumes, and it is helpful to take a look at the author’s explanation of the progression and contents of each volume. He also offers plot summaries and free samples. A terrific article from sffworld.com explains the history of the books, and the blogger/reader popularity that led to their initial success.
You might have seen Theft of Swords on the Library Journal Best Books 2011 SF/Fantasy list.
SULLIVAN, Michael J. Theft of Swords. 704p. maps. glossary. Orbit. 2011. pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-316-18774-9. LC number unavailable.
Adult/High School–This old-fashioned adventure fantasy has had a long journey, from small press to self-published e-book and finally to print (three volumes planned). Throw in a little theft and a regicide or two and it would be a journey worthy of protagonists Royce and Hadrian, an independent thief and sword duo who find themselves becoming heroes when they must clear their names of a crime for which they’ve been framed. Wooden dialogue and misplaced modifiers galore should make for a clunky read, but in fact this is fast and fun, full of witty repartee and daring exploits, with enough big-picture mystery to keep readers hooked. The bad guys conveniently discourse in full paragraphs, so the plotting and machinations are easy to follow, and characterization tends to be fairly simple. Elves and dwarves make an appearance, just different enough to avoid feeling like a Tolkien clone but still familiar; the setting is quasi-medieval (but easier, and the sanitation seems better). Romance is thin on the ground as this is a buddy tale, and although the body count and gore are not lacking, any deep reflections on mortality are. The author’s note indicates that this was initially written with his 13-year-old daughter as the primary audience, so it’s no wonder that everything here lends itself to a perfect teen read. It’s strangely compelling fantasy for fantasy lovers, and likely to appeal to fans of Tolkien or Martin, Eddings or Rothfuss.–Karyn N. Silverman, Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York City