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The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1)

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  9,305 ratings  ·  668 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
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2013)
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Michael I concur with Anthony...start with Revelations first (Theft of Swords)...unless you are a person who REALLY prefers chronological order. Here are some…moreI concur with Anthony...start with Revelations first (Theft of Swords)...unless you are a person who REALLY prefers chronological order. Here are some thoughts on the reasons why.

1. Reading in "publication" order exposes you to the world and characters as I originally intended you to "meet" them. Unlike some novels that do a lot of "front-loading" I expose the background of the characters (and a lot of the detail about the world) across the whole series so you'll always have more to learn about them. In the prequels, the characters are pretty much "fully formed" and I don't retread background that was already discussed in the Revelations series.

2. I have planted some Easter eggs for readers of Revelations to find. They aren't big plot points, just little nods and winks to "those in the know."

All that being said, the books were designed so you CAN read them in either order, and in fact I've heard from a lot of "chronological" readers who insist theirs was the best way to go. So, all in all I think you'll enjoy the books either way. But since you asked, I say starting with Theft of Swords is my preferred method...FWIW.(less)

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
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
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
Veronica Morfi
Rating: 4.5/5

The Crown Tower is the first story of Hadrian and Royce. It's the story of how the met and decided to work together, even if reluctantly, for the first time in order to steal a book from... the Crown Tower.

This was the first Riyria book I've ever read and I am glad to say it did not disappoint. This book lives up to its hype. I loved pretty much everything. Especially the characters. The dynamic between Hadrian and Royce is what keeps this book alive. Those two are so different and
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
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
Buddy read with Desinka and Gavin

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
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

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
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
The Crown Tower is the first book in the The Riyria Chronicles which is the prequel series to Michael J. Sullivan's highly entertaining Riyria Revelations series. The Crown Tower was just as good as any of the books in the Riyria Revelations. It was packed with all the action, adventure, intrigue, and the humor readers of the Riyria Revelations have come to expect from a book featuring Hadrain and Royce.

This was set 12 years before the start of the events told in The Crown Conspiracy. It was th

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
This was brilliant even though I knew some of what was going to happen and I just adored being back in this world once more. When reading the Riyria Revelations series earlier this year I was certainly sad to see that Royce and Hadrian's story finished up and I didn't want to not be able to read about them again, however, because of Michael J Sullivan's excellent skills as a writer he's managed to not only create some of the most beloved characters, but he's done so without revealing around 12 y ...more
Feb 03, 2015 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 t
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

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
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
I love Michael J. Sullivan and this book's no exception. Before The Crown Tower was released, I'd read that Michael was wary going into a prequel series, because let's face it, they rarely go well, but that he would only do it if there was something good there to write about. I.e., he didn't want to beat a dead horse.

I'm so glad he went for it. The Crown Tower ranks up there with the best of the original series (that I've read, still two more if you can believe it!). Michael writes fun fantasy t
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
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
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
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
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
Milo (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-boo
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
Eon (Windrunner)
What a joy to be back in this world. Good fantasy from start to finish. I love how easy these books read and Royce & Hadrian are so much fun.

That said, this is a solid four star book due to the characters. The plot is mostly concerned with how these characters meet and are forged into the team we know from the Riyria Revelations and not much else. Luckily Michael J. Sullivan has heaps of talent and fantastic characters. High-five Mr Sullivan. Highly recommended as always.
Find this and many other review on Geekritique!

Michael J. Sullivan's books are a strange sort of success. His characters are very troubled, and on occasion very dark. Royce, particularly, seems almost a hopeless case by the start of this novel. But as a team, Royce and Hadrian become more than the sum of their parts, and so too they push the book affectionately along to a place where you end up loving it more than you realized you probably should have. This notion, of a book being altogether bet
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
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Four-time Goodreads Choice Award Nominee: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014

Michael writes classical fantasy and science fiction with unlikely heroes and epic adventures. His debut series, "The Riyria Revelations" has sold more than half a million English language copies and has been translated into 13 foreign languages.

More about Michael J. Sullivan...

Other Books in the Series

The Riyria Chronicles (4 books)
  • The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles, #2)
  • The Death of  Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles #3)
  • BLACKGUARDS: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues
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.” 23 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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