Review: Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations Volume 1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: 9.0/10


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 I began my journey through the illustrious works of the fantasy genre, I was always coming to a fork in the road. Down one path I was coming across stories written with the classic, old school feel and the other path lead me to the more modern and dark novels. I had always wished there was a bridge between these two worlds until I came across the stories of Michael J. Sullivan. Originally a self-published author, Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations has taken the fantasy world by storm with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The two main POV’s will quickly be elevated into your top characters ever as well as my favorite bromance in all of fantasy. This is a must read for fantasy readers old and new.

Although published as one volume, Theft of Swords actually contains two complete novels: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. The land of Elan contains several nations, factions, and races all looking for power. Theft of Swords contains that classical fantasy feel and contains the races of humans, elves, and dwarfs, while also being written with a modern feel as the story, characters, and plot just flows off the page. There are essentially two political parties at odds with each other: The Imperialists and the Nationalist. The Imperialist wish to unite all the kingdoms of men under a single leader who is the direct descendant of the demigod Novron. The Nationalist are a political party led by Degan Gaunt and they desire the land to be ruled by the will of the people. Also, caught up in the middle of this is the Nyphron Church, looking for every opportunity to gain power and influence of the land.

Our two main characters are a skilled thief by the name of Royce and his mercenary partner Hadrian. Together they are know as Riyria and they take on various small jobs to maintain a living even if several of the people they come across are not always so friendly. Skilled with swords and combat no foe is too strong or smart to take down this tag team. While staying at the local bar The Rose and Throne, Royce and Hadrian are hired to steal a sword from the royal palace for a hefty bit of coin. When they discover that the job was a set up their adventure begin to take form and will lead you on one of the best journey’s found in fantasy today. They will come across royalty, decans, thieves, and even long lost magic in an attempt to right the wrongs of the story.

Michael J. Sullivan writes some of the best characters I have ever read and the story never feels too complex for the reader to digest. Everything flows naturally and continues to build with each subsequent volume. We start seemingly with one story and over time the series will grow to epic proportions and it helps that the writing style is very digestible for all readers. If you are coming across Sullivan’s works for the first time, your outlook on the fantasy genre will forever be changed. Discover the wonders two characters can show you while wielding swords.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s