Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant bestsellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery—before it’s too late.Learn More
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A 2013 Audie Award Finalist for Fantasy
Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant bestsellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery—before it’s too late.
A thoroughly enjoyable production of a darned good story
- Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations series was originally to be published as 6 books, but before book 6 even came out Orbit bought the series and repackaged the 6 books as three sets of two, this being the first such “mini omnibus”, including “The Crown Conspiracy” and “Avempartha”. “Riyria” is a group of two mercenaries (one a 3-sworded warrior named Hadrian, one a hooded thief named Royce) who have a certain reputation for being able to take on odd jobs of all kinds, and a backstory of jobs gone good and bad and the sarcastic banter to go with it. In “The Crown Conspiracy” the two are set up as the fall guys for the murder of a monarch, however, the powers which have done so have oh-so-spectacularly picked the wrong pair of thieves. The game is afoot, and we get an introduction to the powers and nations and (some tip) of the deeper history of the world along the way. As “Avempartha” opens, one of my favorite little bits of self-referential fun for the year is that a play is being put on roughly about the (legend-in-the-telling) events of the first book, with the play called… “The Crown Conspiracy”. I love that. Light humor and a more honest and goodness of spirit, though hey, yes, they are mercenaries, inhabits these books than the more grim and gritty “everyone’s an anti-hero” fests which have become a bit more the mode of epic fantasy. Author Sullivan certainly does have a thing for towers, as “Avempartha” centers around a mysterious tower near the site of a religious-based tournament of swordsmen, with the winner getting quite the prize indeed. However, the villager-eating beastie at the heart of this tournament may be more than the church has bargained for or can deal with. Enter, of course, Royce and Hadrian. Sullivan shows even better his deftness for fitting the pieces of his plots and subplots nicely together here, as by the end some things which were quite heavily hinted at are confirmed, setting up a world quite ready for conflict and change as the series goes forward. On the world, there are some very interesting touches, particularly in the nearly enslaved elven race as opposed to the elegant noble free and fair folk of stock-standard fantasy fare, as well as multi-layered systems of politics and religions, though at this point in the series we have not “zoomed out” too terribly far. Narration: Reynolds is very, very well-cast here, with a range of voices and accents which really make the story sing. A thoroughly enjoyable production.
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