Title: Theft of Swords
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Revelations,
book 1 & 2
book 1 & 2
Source: Review copy from publisher
“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 in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?
And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.”
Theft of Swords is an omnibus containing the first two books in The Riyria Revelations: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan.
The blurb describes pretty well what The Crown Conspiracy is about. In this installment we meet Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn also known as the Riyria. A group of ex mercenaries turned thieves who are well known in dark circles for accomplishing difficult to impossible jobs.
We could say from the pair Hadrian has a lighter spirit while Royce is the moody and dark one. They have an stablished relationship in which they balance each other perfectly. For the way they work together it’s obvious they have been together for a long time but how long we don’t know (yet) nor we know how they met. We know there is an understanding between them and we also know they are a humorous couple, even broody Royce has his funny moments. Both characters are very smart even though sometimes while leading by their hearts they make the wrong decisions. They can kill and rob and do other not too respectable things, but in the end both have a good and charitable heart. They can be thieves but they have integrity and honor their word.
There are many secondary characters but Mr. Sullivan does a great job introducing them slowly to the story making them easy to follow and identify. They are all different and complex and they all provide something to the story. From Alric the new king of Melegar who discover his back bone while spending time with Hadrian and Royce, Myron the Monk with photographic memory who had never been outside the monastery walls until his encounter with the duo, Princess Arista who risks her own life for her brother’s and their kingdom, Esrahaddon the wizard that leave us with more questions than answers. To the net of villains that is more complicated and extensive than what everybody thinks.
The second story in the omnibus is Avempartha, this one starts months after the events in The Crown Conspiracy. While our (anti) heroes are searching for the man who betrayed them in The Crown Conspiracy a young destitute girl is also searching for them.
Thrace’s village has been the victim of the attacks of a flying monster. Half of the village including most of her family has been decimated by this monster. Her father is the only person she has left and he has swear to kill the monster to avenge the deaths of his family, but Thrace knows his father is not a fighter and will die as soon as he faces the monster.
A wise man (Esrahaddon) comes to the village, he tells Thrace about the Riyria and where to find them. She leaves soon after in search for them.
Hadrian and Royce know Thrace can’t pay their wages and if they do what she requires of them they will lose money. Hadrian is usually the softhearted that accepts this kind of jobs and he’s tempted to accept but after past experiences he is going to decline the offer to the gran surprise than before he can say anything Royce accepts charging even less than what the girl was willing to pay.
After days traveling they arrive to the poor village of Dahlgren, where even less people now live thanks to the monster. People are afraid and don’t know how to protect themselves. Esrahaddon has been staying with them, helping them and waiting for Hadrian and Royce to arrive. He explains the situation to them, the monster is a Gilarabrywn, a dragon like creature created by the elves centuries back. The only way to kill it is with an especial sword that is locked in the Elvish tower of Avempartha, same tower the Gilarabrywn uses as his den.
Days after their arrival they still haven’t found a way into the tower and are surprised when hundreds of people arrive to the village following the Church of Nyphron’s caravan. The Church has organized a secret competition, calling men from all the kingdoms, the specifics of the competition has been kept a secret until the moment they arrived to Dahlgren. The Church of Nyphron has been looking over centuries for the True Heir of Novron and now they are using the event and the Gilarabrywn in their master plan to form an united empire that they will control.
In this installment we learn a lot more about Hadrian and Royce and their pasts. They are still as great as they were in The Crown Conspiracy, their witty conversation are a pleasure to read and the discovery of what lies beneath their surfaces is another delightful adventure.
We also see some recurring characters from The Crown Conspiracy, it’s nice see them grow and become more and better but at the same time Mr. Sullivan is not shy in killing important and loved characters.
Avempartha is story of conspiracies in which sometimes you don’t know who or what to believe. In this one we see more clearly what is the plan of the Church and what they are willing to do to accomplish it.
The end is not a cliffhanger but is one that will leave you craving for next book of this series Nyphron Rising. This book will be in the next omnibus Rise of the Empire which also includes The Emerald Storm.
With its elaborated world, detailed and enchanting characters and fast paced plots Theft of Swords made me remember and fall in love again with the Fantasy genre. If you are a fan of this genre you need to read this book like yesterday and be ready to get your hands in the next omnibus Rise of the Empire that will be release on December 14th.
I’m counting the days left to the release date to get my hands again in Hadrian, Royce and their adventures.
The Crown Conspiracy Verdict: 5 Paws
Avempartha Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha)
Rise of the Empire (Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm) Dec 14th
Heir of Novron (Wintertide & Percepliquis) January 31st 2012
Other reviews Goodreads