The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1)
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The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1)

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  6,649 ratings  ·  541 reviews

A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 04, 2013 Michael marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
Obviously, I'm not going to post a review as this is my own work but I did want to take just a minute to comment on the book and the new series.

When I finished The Riyria Revlations I secretly hoped that they would be successful enough so that I could write more stories with two of my favorite characters: Royce and Hadrian. The books have been out for less than a year, but already it looks like a big success. By my calculations the series has sold more than 200,000 copies (including the self-pub...more
David Sven
The best Riyria story yet!

Michael J Sullivan's storytelling ability just gets better with each book. Compared with his first self published novella The Crown Conspiracy which begins his six (now three) part Riyria Revelations, this is just better again.

I really loved being back in this world. I loved being back with Royce and Hadrian. I loved being back with audio narrator Tim GeraRd Reynolds.

Over the course of The Riyria Revelations we got little snippets and references of the story that beca...more
Wendell Adams
Originally published at Bookwraiths Reviews


For all of you familiar with the Riyria Revelations books, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn are the Dynamic Duo of fantasy: Hadrian the great warrior with three swords for any occasion and Royce the dark, mysterious assassin waiting to put a dagger in you. Two partners who are as polarly opposite in their personality and outlook on life as in their styles of fighting. No matter their differences however...more
Jul 07, 2014 Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
Ahhhhh Royce and Hadrian my old friends. Lovely to see you again.

I think it a testament to an author when characters become so loved that you become excited to be reading about them again. The first book in the Riyria Chronicles is an absolute gem and hearing all about how our two heroes met really feels like it is a story that should be told.

If you have read the Revelations series then this series (jumping the gun a bit here) is a must read. One of the things that I have enjoyed, apart from re...more
All legends begin somewhere. Sometimes it’s fate. Sometimes it’s destiny. But more than likely you’ll find it’s just a wizard with a God complex.

What happens when you take a weary mearcenary and force him to work with a ruthless thief on an impossible task? You forge an unstoppable team. If you can somehow keep them from killing each other long enough to get the job done.

To date, Riyria Revelations remains one of my favorite series. Each book of it just grew in terms of the fun and pleasure I go...more
Killer Rabbit
Good thing I read Wendell's review before beginning this...
If the idea of a fantasy version of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid makes you grin, then you are gonna love the chapters that feature both Hadrian Blackwater (the warrior) and Royce Melborn (the assassin). Unfortunately, IMO, there are about 100 pages of yada-yada before Professor Arcadius tosses them together in chapter 9.

And although Wendell did mention that Gwen will eventually play an important role in this series, I pretty much f...more

I read the book practically in one sitting, which says a lot about the talent of mr. Sullivan as a natural storyteller, making it seem so easy to get involved in the fate of his characters, sucking you in the adventure and making you read just one more page, just another chapter, just to see what comes next and how the heroes will get out of that tight corner. (It's true that my computer was also kaputt on Sunday and I didn't have the distraction of internet and social media to tempt me away fro...more
I received a free ebook ARC copy of this book from NetGalley. Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

4.5 stars. Very nice, satisfyingly fun read.

I really enjoy these books. Sullivan does have some great world-building going on, but it comes up in snippets, not bogging down the story. Otherwise he keeps it at a brisk pace and character driven. The characters are enjoyable and I really get invested. Royce and Hadrian are great together, com...more
Mike (the Paladin)
So far I've put every one of these on my favorites shelf. The story here goes back to the beginning of Riyria ((view spoiler)).

Before I elaborate any more, I'll say I recommend this. It's an excellent read and a good addition to the epic fantasy genre.

Now, in more detail. It's possible to start here with this volume (as it's labeled "Book 1") or to read th...more

Whenever someone hears the words 'prequel' there's a general fascination and a fear associated with those words. On one hand there is the fascination with the possibility of finding out everything that makes your favourite characters tick over internally and defines them: a great way to see how the character development started. On the other hand, there is the fear that you could be served a novel which is predictable, static or fails to recapture the spirit of previous novels. Fortunately this...more
Jul 18, 2013 Nermin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I can't thank the publishers enough for letting me read the advance copy of this amazing book!

The Crown Tower was my first foray into Michael Sullivan's Riyria series and it was such a delightful read. Many of my friends who are into fantasy seem to have read the Riyria Revelations and they all have very nice things to say about the series. So when I saw the ARC of the new Riyria Chronicles book offered at Netgalley, I jumped at it.

The Riyria Chronicles is the prequel to the Riyria Revelations...more
Oct 22, 2013 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Riyria Fans
Executive Summary: This one starts slow, but ends really strong, and is a must read for any fans of the Riyria Revelations

Audio book: Mr. Reynolds once again does an excellent job with his narration. I particularly enjoyed his voices for Pickles and Staind, but all of his voices are well done as usual.

Full Review
The book starts with a note from Mr. Sullivan covering two important things about writing a prequel to a completed series:

1) Too much of a good thing/ruining a good thing by going on to...more

First thoughts after finishing this book were that Michael J. Sullivan really writes terrific buddy fantasy stories. While the Riyria Revelations was choc-a-bloc with humour, action and adventure, The Crown Tower takes its sweet time to get the ball rolling.

We get to meet many of our beloved characters but its Hadrian, Gwen and Royce who are the backbone of this story. Particularly Gwen, she for me was the actual hero of the book and while being a bit of a Mary Sue, her plot arc was very tight...more
The Crown Tower is the first book in the Riyria Chronicles, a prequel to the Riyria Revelations trilogy. I haven’t read the latter so I struggled as to what to read first: order of publication or chronologically? The author made it clear it could be read either way so I decided to start chronologically. I think this was a mistake.

Simply put, The Crown Tower is just an OK book. Hadrian and Royce weren’t very appealing or captivating to those of us who are meeting them for the first time. Hadrian...more
The Crown Tower is an enjoyable glimpse into the past of The Riyria Revelations. Not only do we get to see how Hadrian and Royce meet up, but we also learn more about Gwen, which was a pleasant surprise. She is one character who never had the spotlight in earlier books and I always wanted to know more about her.

I have to say this moved slowly, especially at the beginning. The element of surprise that I enjoyed so much in the original series was less apparent - of course, because this is a preque...more
What Royce thought of Hadrian through their first mission:
Oaf. Dolt. Stupid git. Lump. Brainless Cow.

What Hadrian thought of Royce through their first mission:
Bastard. Wolf eyes. Bastard. Hooded Killer. Bastard.

Chronicles is a prequel to the wonderfully entertaining Riyria series (Theft of Swords) by author Michael J. Sullivan, which consists of six novels in sets of three omnibuses. Chronicles, being chronologically first in the story, can be read before the Revelations series; the author rec...more
Olga Godim
This is one of those books that left me divided. Objectively, the writing is good, smooth and professional, the story absorbing, the world building – vaguely resembling medieval Europe – convincing, and the tension high and consistent. There is not a boring moment. But subjectively, the story didn’t speak to me, didn’t touch my heart, which is the only thing that counts with literature. And the fault lies with characters. The four major characters in this novel – the whore Gwen, the former soldi...more
Robert Aldrich
I had the privilege to be part of a small beta reading group of this novel and it was a great pleasure to read.

I have read all of The Riyria Revelations and found them to be great novels, build upon classic fantasy story elements but given a flare and voice that is distinctive to Michael’s wonderful writing style.

Well, The Crown Tower continues that tradition with great success. This is the story about how Royce and Hadrian first meet and pull off their first job together, and if you think you...more
Bane of Kings
The Review:

“This is how prequels should be done. Smart, clever – engaging, The Crown Tower is a stellar return to the world of Riyria, accessible for newcomers and veterans of the series alike – one of the strongest novels of the year so far.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

When the news regarding The Riyria Chronicles prequels broke, I was somewhat torn on the decision. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Riyria Revelations novels, the original six-book...more
The book is a prequel to Riyria Revelations. Basically it is a story of how Hadrian and Royce met and the reason they became known as Riyria (which means two in Elven). There were quite a few bits of information regarding early Riyria history in Riyria Revelations, so readers familiar with it will not find great surprises in the overall plot. The subplots are different matter though.

In the first chapter of the book Hadrian came back to civilized lands from south where he fought gladiator battle...more
I'll keep this short since I am moving on to the next book: This book was fantastic. I loved the original series, but for some reason hesitated with starting this series (it was a prequel, didn't want the possibility of a new series taking away from my fond memories of the original series, thought that since I knew a little about their past I couldn't be surprised, etc.). Now all I can say is, "why didn't I read this book sooner!" The book was funny, well-written, full of plot twists & turns...more
A wonderful start to a fantastic series that is centered around two very audacious characters. Hadrian Blackwater was raised by his father who taught him the blacksmith trade but beyond that, demanded relentless, everyday practice, in the art of combat. Royce Melborn is an odd fellow, never accepted by society and raised by a group of thieves called, The Wolves. These two men are brought together by Arcadius, a Professor, (who some think to be a wizard), at a college for Royals. Arcadius often v...more
Great story. I'm provisionally giving it five stars because Sullivan captured the spirit of his first series--written some time ago--so well. In fact, he manages--in the early chapters--to make Royce seem even more sinister (from Hadrian's point of view) and Hadrian less intelligent (from Royce's point of view) than in the Riyria Revelations books. Appropriately so.

Readers of Revelations and other Sullivan stories know how much he favors plot twists and happy surprises. This story has them. (vie...more
I've met with Michael J. Sullivan last year with The Viscount and the Witch which is 1.5th book of The Riyria Chronicles. It was really a fascinating short story and I've really liked both characters and Sullivan's writing style. After a long time when I've a chance to read the first book of the series, I'm enthusiastic to read it.

I got this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley.

I've not read The Riyria Revelations yet but planned to read them. The Riyria Chronicles tells us the story of Had...more
Mike (the Paladin)
So far I've put every one of these on my favorites shelf. The story here goes back to the beginning of Riyria (in the book and elvish word (view spoiler))

Before I elaborate any more, I'll say I recommend this. It's an excellent read and a good addition to the epic fantasy genre.

Now, in more detail. It's possible to start here with this volume (as it's labeled "Book 1") or to read t...more
AnHeC the Paperback Obliterator
Word count: about 130 000? or something...
Rating: I really need all three swords

It ate my review! I had one and it ate it! *huddles in a corner crying* Goodreads hates me...

ARC provided by NetGalley

Were up all night to the sun
Were up all night to get some
Were up all night for good fun
Were up all night, I got lucky!

Were up all night - I got lucky!
Were up all night - I got lucky!
Were up all night - I got lucky!
Were up all night - I got lucky! (*Yes, I’ve changed the lyrics a bit. No, I don’t nee...more
Gina (My Precious Blog)
Sometimes you take a gamble and read something outside of your comfort zone, it may or may not work. In this case I'm so glad I did. My blogger friend Small Review said this new series she was reading made her Special Shelf. She convinced me to request the prequel on NG and reluctantly I did. I'm so happy I did. It was outstanding. The characters were very three dimensional. I found I quickly had some kind of emotional connection with most of them. I admired Hadrian and Gwen's altruistic nature'...more
I beta read this a year or so ago. It was nice to see the finished product, better to see the beta readers' influence on it. I put off reading this simply because I had spent so much time studying it that a few months wasn't enough time to let it fade some.

I was leery of reading this. I'm not much on prequels but this & the following book are great additions to the series. We find out a lot of origins & it really fleshes out the characters well. I don't think it matters what order these...more
So, I'm not much for prequels. I know how it's going to end, so trying to read a prequel is like trying to watch Titanic. Three and a half hours and everyone still dies.

But BECAUSE it's Michael J. Sullivan and because like his wife, Robin, I kind of have a thing for Hadrian, I decided to give The Crown Tower a roll.


I was so impressed how the author kept me in the action from page 1. I mean, I was scared. I was scared for Gwen, I was scared for Royce and I was scared for Hadrian--even though...more
Benjamin Thomas
Like so many other readers, I was so enamored with the Riyria Revelations (all 6 novels) that I didn’t want it to end. Of course, the ending was pretty much perfect though so I didn’t want that to be ruined by sequels. We’ve all loved TV series that are great through 4 or 5 seasons only to be run into the ground with another 3 or 4 seasons. I’m so glad Mr. Sullivan decided to offer up a couple of prequel novels instead. It allows us to keep on experiencing the characters and the world but not up...more
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After finding a manual typewriter in the basement of a friend's house, Michael J. Sullivan inserted a blank piece of paper and typed: It was a dark and stormy night. He was just eight years old at the time and mimicking Snoopy so we'l...more
More about Michael J. Sullivan...
Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations, #5-6) The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations, #1) The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles, #2)

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“Each killing steals a bit of humanity until a murderer is nothing more than an animal. A hunger replaces the spirit. A want for what was lost, but as with innocence, the soul can never be replaced. Joy, love, and peace flee such a vessel and in their stead blooms a desire for blood and death.” 15 likes
“The claw slipped again. It came off the edge of the stone and Hadrian felt his stomach rise as he fell. He dropped less than two stories and landed in a thick pile of straw, but it still hurt. With the wind knocked from him, he lay staring up at the sky and the wall.

Royce’s shadow crossed his face. “That was pathetic.”

“You’re enjoying this a little too much for me to think you’re honestly trying to help.”

“Trust me. I want you to improve. I want you to fall from much higher up.”
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