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Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations #1-2)

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  28,996 Ratings  ·  2,049 Reviews

There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the murder of the king. Trappe
Paperback, 681 pages
Published November 23rd 2011 by Orbit
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Michael No it doesn't. It's actually one of the things that sets it apart from many of the current books in fantasy. My goal was to write a book that was…moreNo it doesn't. It's actually one of the things that sets it apart from many of the current books in fantasy. My goal was to write a book that was aimed at adults, but could be read by people of all ages. So to that end there is no sex, graphic violence, or explicit language.

Originally, I was writing this book for my then thirteen-year-old daughter to help her get into reading (she struggled due to dyslexia). So again, it's no a YA book by any means, but it is something that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages.(less)
Michael I would concur to start with Revelations (Theft of Swords). As for completeness. Revelations was one big tale broken into six individual episodes so…moreI would concur to start with Revelations (Theft of Swords). As for completeness. Revelations was one big tale broken into six individual episodes so yes it all wraps up there. Chronicles isn't designed that way. The first two tell the complete origin story and subsequent books in that series will be mainly standalone adventures. My approach will be to put out a Chronicle then see what the readers thing as far as wanting more. If they do, then I'll write another. I have ideas for 10 more books stacked up but I'll only release them if it's still something people want to read. I don't want the pair to overstay their welcome.(less)
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The Best Epic Fantasy
53rd out of 2,600 books — 18,826 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I'm the author of this book, so I'm not going to do a rating but I did want to take just a moment to say a few words about what I was trying to do in this book.

For those who don't know, I wrote all six books in the series before publishing any of them (truth be told when I wrote the books I had no intention on publishing at all). This allowed me to weave threads between the books, but I made sure that each title had its own conflict and resolution. My intention was to start small and end big, wi
Mar 11, 2016 Katerina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Two words.
It's elvish for two.”

What happens when a sarcastic thief/former assassin and an idealistic mercenary/brilliant swordsman get in the way of a conspiracy for world domination? Epic fantasy at its finest ,that's the answer.Include some legends about a God's heir who is going to unite the world,a plotting Church with a secret agenda,Elves who are waiting for the opportune moment to gain their lands back,swordfights,prostitutes,monks,hidden prisons and witches and t
Sep 28, 2012 seak rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, arc-review
Theft of Swords is an omnibus of the first two books in the Riyria Reveleations, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. It's also somewhat the story of an independently published author turned major publishing success as is nicely explained here by Iceberg Ink.

I have to first confess that this is exactly the type of story I love, so pardon my overlooking of any of the faults.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Theft of Swords is that it's "traditional" fantasy. It deals with good
This is a brilliant piece of storytelling that any fantasy or action/adventure lover should go and read this. However before I divulge more information in that manner I would like to raise a few points. My first point being about fantasy in general while my second point will be about cliché and storytelling.

Fantasy as a genre in many ways was formed with The Lord of the Rings and then shortly afterwards, as much as people dismiss it, The Sword of Shannara. Subsequent books appeared such as The
Sep 01, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, e-books
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Theft of Swords was a novel I was tentative about beginning. Not because I did not want to sample this series, which I had read and heard so much about from its numerous followers on Goodreads, but for the simple reason that I have grown to like Mr. Sullivan a great deal since joining Goodreads: I’ve been his “friend” in the GR sense for many months, followed his reviews/blogs, and enjoyed his comments in numerous groups. However, as I sat there debating
Apr 11, 2016 Choko rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, advanture
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with my sword wielding friends at BB&B!!!

Several years ago I joined GR and one of the first people I befriended was Michael J. Sullivan. Not because I knew his books, but because I had been reading many of his reviews and I found the both well written and insightful. Eventually I found out he was an author and I finally got to reading this book thanks to the buddy read at Buddies, Books and Boubles group.

I should have ventured into the Riyria universe long time ago! I
TS Chan
Apr 2016: Reread with the fabulous Buddies Books and Baubles

Third time in a span of just one year, and I am still loving it!

The characters are people whom you just do not want to leave (well aside from those you'd want to die from a horrible death), while the storyline simply and quite skilfully teases out a mystery of centuries past.

Highly recommended!

Dec 2015 (audio):
Finished my reread via audiobook, a great deal faster than I've expected as I just can't stop reachi
Nov 26, 2014 Conor rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, riyria

So I've given this book 3.5 stars as the 1st half (Theft of swords) is 3 star quality and the 2nd half (Avempartha) is 4 star (This book is the compilation of 2 previously published books). It chronicles the adventures of the legendary thief partnership Riyria, which is Elvish for 'two' (all the years I spent studying Elvish are finally paying off).

Theft of Swords- 3 Stars

For the most part Theft of swords was an enjoyable, lighthearted fantasy adventure. However at times the impersonal narrat
Torn between 2 and 3 stars, opted with two. I wanted to love this book. I liked it well enough, but after all the hype, I was ultimately disappointed with it. This should have been right up my happy little alley. I should be drooling over the series. I'll still read the next books, but not with the fervor of The Doors of Stone or The Republic of Thieves...or if Lois McMaster Bujold writes more in the Chalion series.

I'll start with the pros:

The overarching plot of the Heir of Novron and the stri
Kevin Xu
Jan 31, 2016 Kevin Xu rated it liked it
I wish I could have liked the book in order to give the book a higher rating, especially when Michael J. Sullivan is probably the author that I know that interacts the most on Goodreads, but the book had too many tropes. I read the book because Michael really wanted everyone to read the book, and told him I would check it out. Before I read the book, I thought the book was on the level like all others writing in fantasy, without any tropes, trying to be different. Then I read the extra that the ...more
Jun 06, 2016 Michael added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Those that know me, are aware that I never rate or review my own books. But I do use this space as a way to update you on things that you might find interesting.

Well, Theft of Swords was chosen for Audible's Editor's Choice Sale. So, until June 13th you can get it for just $4.95. Besides Theft of Swords there are a lot of other great fantasy titles on sale including:

The full list of fantasy titles on sales includes:

1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harri (10 hours | 4.10 Avg Rating | 8,528 Tot
Robin (Bridge Four)
Reading with all my fantasy friends at Buddies Books & Baubles

Theft of Swords

This is my very first Omnibus, actually before this I didn’t know what an Omnibus was so halfway through the book when the first story ended and the next on began I was surprised. But YAY score two books for the price of one….who doesn’t like that kind of deal?

Fantasy is my first love and I always enjoy it when I find a new series to get excited about. Michael J Sullivan has the possibility of becoming one of my
Final rating: 5/5 stars

“So,” Royce said, “you want us to escape from this prison, kidnap the king, cross the countryside with him in tow while dodging soldiers who I assume might not accept our side of the story, and go to another secret prison so that he can visit an inmate?”
Arista did not appear amused. “Either that, or you can be tortured to death in four hours.”
“Sounds like a really good plan to me,” Hadrian declared.“Royce?”
“I like any plan where I don’t die a horrible death.”

This is g
Jan 05, 2012 Stefan rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The first thing you should know about Theft of Swords is that it’s not a fine dining experience. This book is not the literary equivalent of going to a fancy restaurant and getting one of those huge plates that are mostly empty except for a tiny stalk of asparagus artfully drizzled with a delicate sauce. Instead, it’s more like sitting down hungry and getting a big, tasty burger you can just grab and sink your teeth into. (Vegetarians, please substitute for the vegetarian equivalent of a big, ta ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay...this is one of those books where I think an initial reaction would be, "score". I really enjoyed it. While I haven't moved them to my favorites shelf (the jury is still out on that) I can and do highly recommend them. After a long dry spell where I hadn't found a really "good" read I stumbled on this/these. As a friend on mine here might say...wooohooo.

Only on occasion do you find a book you can wholeheartedly recommend but in this case I can. I realize that others won't like these as wel
Buddy read with Desinka and Gavin


Fun and entertaining this read blends well-known fantasy tropes and new ideas and the result is something quite unique, yet very comforting and readable! The second part Avempartha is definitely stronger than the first The Crown Conspiracy. For now I'm rounding the rating down to 4 stars but I might round it up to 5 after my full review is ready. I need more time to think all through. I'm still gushing about the ending now! So great!
Text Addict
Dec 18, 2013 Text Addict rated it did not like it
I debated between one and two stars for a while before settling on one.

An ominous way to start, eh? Actually it’s not all bad – Sullivan has a good authorial voice, an excellent line in witty banter, engaging characters, and a bunch of interesting ideas.

The problem is, this trilogy of books needed better editing. I’ve gathered that Sullivan is one of the handful of authors who’ve made the transition from self-published to published, which is great for him. But Orbit Books is not the first publis
Apr 12, 2016 Joanita rated it really liked it

06/04/2016 Buddy read with my fantasy friends over at BB&B.

A better bromance I have not read in a while.

Royce Melborn, a very skilled thief, and Hadrian Blackwater, a tough mercenary who takes his swordfighting very seriously and always has three swords on hand, who together from The Riyria. They are known for taking on difficult and sometimes impossible jobs.

And their latest job has put them in an impossible situation – framed for the murder of the king. They are forced to kidnap the pr

Aug 17, 2015 Sanaa rated it really liked it
[4 Stars] Overall

[4 Stars] The Crown Conspiracy
This was such a fun fantasy romp! I love all of the humor, action, and witty dialogue. I think this book was the perfect introduction to the fabulous Riyria duo, Royce and Hadrian. I definitely think this book could have used better character development and world building. There are also few moments where "info-dumping" becomes slightly tedious, but the plot and writing was overall such fun that I forgave most of my qualms. I don't really have much
Jan 01, 2012 Connie rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Normally, I don't review books that I didn't finish, but I think it depends on why I didn't finish the book, and I'll make an exception in this case. In part, I want to share my feelings on this book, because everyone on goodreads seems to love it--I bought it based off the reviews I read here, and I feel gypped!

I was looking for something light and fun, with sort of a goofy story and some likeable characters; just a fluff adventure book. And that's just what this is--the story is nothing to ch
Sep 04, 2014 Evgeny rated it it was amazing
I was lucky, I guess. I came back to reading fantasy after a long hiatus, and this was the first book I picked up. To make a long story short, I like the book to the point I had to choose between reading a couple of more pages and getting a little more sleep at night. I would not say it grabs you right away, but it kind of grows on you.

A little more details. Two main characters and interaction between them are well written and very interesting, and none of the major characters are boring (I am l
Feb 17, 2015 Lorena rated it did not like it
To be fair, I did not finish this entire book. My reading time is limited these days, and I lost patience with it rapidly, and threw in the towel. Basically, the part I did read can be summarized as follows: Captain Exposition and his buddy, The Expositioner, start off the story with a lot of exposition at the home of Lord Exposition. After that, they return home to exposition with some of their friends, and then fall into the most obvious trap of all time. Fortunately, they soon meet up with a ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Skip rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
OK, probably a 4.5 to be truthful. Good adventure story, with excellent lead characters, who are portrayed as mercenaries, even though they are of high morals: Hadrian Blackwater, a top caliber swordsman, and Royce Melborn, a thief from a fabled sect. First they are hired to recover a sword and become patsies for regicide in the first of two stories; however, they rescue the prince and go off to seek the truth. Then, in the second story, they work for next-to-nothing to save a heart-broken fathe ...more
Oct 04, 2014 Gavin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This Riyria Revelations omnibus included the first two books in the series, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

The Crown Conspiracy

This was a fun sword and sorcery style fantasy. The plot revolves around two thieves who take on the job of stealing a nobleman's sword only to find themselves caught up in a plot to assassinate the king.

It was a fun read. The story was packed with humor, action, adventure, intrigue, and magic. The lead characters Hadrian and Royce were very likable. I loved the w
Nov 05, 2015 Matthew rated it liked it
Solid, without being amazing. As the book progressed though it got better I must admit. I will probably keep on reading through the series, just to see where MJS takes it.
Eon ♒Windrunner♒ & part-time Warder ☯
2016 Re-read time at Buddies Books & Baubles

RTC - Fantastic as always.
This is my kind of fantasy! I could not put this book down!

This is the first volume in the 'Riyria Revelations' trilogy and everything you could possibly want from a fantasy novel is found here: strong world building, three dimensional characters (some of whom you love, others whom you hate), action, adventure, humor, magic, treachery, sword fights, myths, legends and a great friendship/bromance between the leading duo of Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn. This omnibus edition contains the fi
Sep 07, 2015 Molly rated it it was amazing
This is not a review. I covered The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha separately.
Just wanted to say, this is probably the beginning of a wonderful friendship .... a new favorite series.

Re-reading this so I can continue and finish up the Riyria Revelations series. Listening to the audio this time around.

Excellent reading to an already excellent book. Tim Gerard Reynolds really makes the characters come alive, and his narration is spot on. Even though I've read this book a couple of times already, I found myself eagerly looking forward to picking up the earbuds and listening in on Hadrian and Royce.

Here are my original reviews, from 2009:

The Crown Conspiracy: https://www.goodre
Thomas Spain
Nov 10, 2015 Thomas Spain rated it it was amazing
Too many fantasy authors these days are so busy trying to be the "next" Game of Thrones. They grab hundreds of people and places and start throwing at you, dumping you into a sea of politics and country relations.
This book avoids all of that and is better for it. Throughout the whole book there are maybe 10 major characters and they are all unique and interesting.
If you want a great fantasy adventure without having to grab a notebook and take notes on "who is that?" And "how does he know she",
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Should this be made into a movie? 47 228 Jun 23, 2016 08:41PM  
Dragons & Jetpacks: Theft of Swords/General Discussion/SPOILERS 19 54 Jan 30, 2016 10:50AM  
Fantasy and Sci-F...: * ASK MICHAEL J SULLIVAN THREAD 31 84 Jan 09, 2016 05:05AM  
Fantasy and Sci-F...: Book 2 - Avempartha - Chap 10 - Chap 15 4 13 Dec 01, 2015 05:46PM  
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RELEASING SOON: Age of Myth is one of the most popular books coming in June 2016 -- shelved by more than 20,000 goodreads members! Enter to win a free audio copy!!

Goodreads Choice Award Nominee in: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014

Hey there. Thanks for visiting my profile. I write classical fantasy and science fiction with unlikely heroes on epic adventures. I'm thrilled with the reception m
More about Michael J. Sullivan...

Other Books in the Series

The Riyria Revelations (6 books)
  • The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations, part #1)
  • Avempartha (The Riyria Revelations, part #2)
  • Nyphron Rising (The Riyria Revelations, part #3)
  • The Emerald Storm  (The Riyria Revelations, part #4)
  • Wintertide (The Riyria Revelations, part #5)
  • Percepliquis (The Riyria Revelations, part #6)

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“Hadrian shook his head and sighed. “Why do you have to make everything so difficult? They’re probably not bad people—just poor. You know, taking what they need to buy a loaf of bread to feed their family. Can you begrudge them that? Winter is coming and times are hard.” He nodded his head in the direction of the thieves. “Right?”
“I ain’t got no family,” flat-nose replied. “I spend most of my coin on drink.”
“You’re not helping,” Hadrian said.”
“So,” Royce said, “you want us to escape from this prison, kidnap the king, cross the countryside with him in tow while dodging soldiers who I assume might not accept our side of the story, and go to another secret prison so that he can visit an inmate?”
Arista did not appear amused. “Either that, or you can be tortured to death in four hours.”
“Sounds like a really good plan to me,” Hadrian declared.“Royce?”
“I like any plan where I don’t die a horrible death.”
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