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.
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 na ve 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.
A Fun Adventure
This is book contains humor and adventure in a wonderful story about authentic characters. Theft of swords will keep you turning the page until the end.
Great start to a great series!
Prepare yourself, this review is very long and rambly. I could shorten it, but I have had nobody to talk to about this series so I’ve decided to put my rambling to good use and hopefully if anyone reads this they will decide whether this book is worth reading (spoiler alert: it is!)
I finished this series a few months ago, and I’m currently on the prequel series, Riyria Chronicles, and can I just say these books are fantastic! It’s been a VERY long time since I sat down and read a novel, and the first time I’ve managed to finish a novel as long as the ones in this series. As someone with ADD, I have a really hard time keeping my focus on something for an extended period of time. I do just fine with film and visual storytelling such as comics and whatnot, but it’s pretty rare that I can actually make it all the way through a full-length book without losing the motivation to continue. However, this book has proven to me that it is indeed possible. And now here I am, six books later.
I first discovered the Riyria series when I was reading Chris Wooding’s ‘Tales of the Ketty Jay’, and it just so happens that Theft of Swords was in Kindle’s recommended section. I was a broke college student at the time, so I could only read the sample, but I immediately fell in love with Hadrian (however, after having read almost all of the books so far, I can now say I am 100% a Royce girl). Anyway. I forgot about the book for about two years, until late 2016 when I was itching to read again, but couldn’t decide on anything, then suddenly remembered it exists. Only problem was, I couldn’t remember the title!! I remembered it beginning with an R and ending with an A and having a Y in there somewhere, so I desperately googled random variations of made-up words with those letters, before I FINALLY figured out ‘Riyria’, and I bought the first book, Theft of Swords, on the Apple bookstore.
This book is an EXCELLENT start to the series. It introduces a colorful cast of characters, the worldbuilding and its lore aren’t thrown in your face all at once, and it’s just overall very entertaining. I loved every second of it.
I remember reading a post online where Michael J. Sullivan stated that he wanted to be straightforward with the storytelling so he wrote these books as if they were playing out like a movie, and I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty darn grateful for how he did it. Everything is explained and it’s all described so clearly, which makes it VERY easy to visualize what is happening.
There’s also never a dull moment! In a lot of the books I’ve attempted to read, there’s always one long arc of the story that moves very slow and is very boring, basically just filler until things actually start happening, but I didn’t experience anything like that in this book. All of the characters are interesting in their own way and every moment is essential to the plot or overall story, so I never felt like I was being dragged along. It was engaging from start to finish.
Speaking of characters, wow. MJS really knows how to write them. I was very impressed with the characterization, especially the women! So many male creators in the fantasy genre wanna make women stand out whether it’s in their appearance or demeanor—their intentions are good, but as a woman myself, sometimes it feels too idealized. Michael J. Sullivan understands women are just normal people, whether they’re princesses or prostitutes or poverty-stricken peasants. Particularly, Arista has a fantastic amount of development throughout the series, and it was such a joy to watch her grow. And moving on from women characters, ROYCE. ROYCE MELBORN. I mentioned earlier that I am a Royce girl, so I have MANY words to say about him, but I’ll keep it short because this is already WAY too long (massive props if you’re still reading this). I love him, his character is fantastic, and he’s not a tropey archetype. He’s honestly legitimately cute at times, though I’m not sure if the author intended him to be interpreted that way or if my love for him is just clouding my own perspective. Either way, he’s my favorite character in the series for so many reasons. LOVE HIM.
My biggest complaint, if you even want to call it a complaint, is that some of the events that take place are pretty predictable. Sometimes I was able to figure something out before it was revealed, which affected my reactions while I was reading. But even so, the events that lead up to those reveals are so intense and fun to read.
ANYWAY. I should probably wrap this up. Great series, great start, and great characters! Must read for anyone who likes fantasy!!
Great Fantasy Adventure
This fantasy tale is so well done, I could almost believe the author lived it. Incredible world building, characters, religious philosophies, goblins, elves, dwarves, Wizards, it has them all. I couldn't put it down.