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The Crown Conspiracy

(The Riyria Revelations #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  19,782 ratings  ·  1,060 reviews
They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.

There is no ancient evil to defeat, no orphan destined for greatness, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwi
Paperback, 296 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Aspirations Media Inc (first published 2008)
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Michael Sure thing. Reading order is a question I'm often asked. And it's a bit more complicated now that we have 2 books out in Legends. Let me start by talk…moreSure thing. Reading order is a question I'm often asked. And it's a bit more complicated now that we have 2 books out in Legends. Let me start by talking about Riyria: (and whether Revelations or Chronicles should be first).

When I wrote The Riyria Revelations (Theft of Swords | Rise of Empire | Heir of Novron), I penned the entire series before publishing the first book. I had a very particular starting point, and a well determined end, and that was all I expected to write.

Well, after the series was released, my wife (and others) were lamenting that they missed the pair (Royce and Hadrian - my two main protagonists). Seeing as how Riyria Revelation ended in what I though was a very satisfying manner, I didn't want to "tack on" and risk ruining something that was, in my mind, pretty special.

Then it occurred to me that Riyria had been together for twelve years before the first pages of Theft of Swords, so I decided I could "bring them back" if I went to the other end the timeline. In other words, explore in detail how they met and their early years adventuring together. Hence, the Riyria Chronicles was created. Now, because I'm still protective of the pair, I'd rather have them leave too soon than stay around too long. To that end, I don't know how many Chronicle books there will be. I've plotted out an arc that has a total of 11 books, but my moods operandi is to release a book, take the temperature of the readers, and only if it seems like they want more to release another. So, presently that series is kinda "open ended" and the books are much more "stand alone" while Revelations is a single tale broken down into six self-contained episodes.

That's a long way of saying there are several things that come into play when deciding what to read.

Do you like completed series? - Start with Theft of Swords
Do you like to read chronologically? - start with The Crown Tower
Do you like reading in order of publication - start with Theft of Swords

There are also some other factors, and those make me suggest Theft of Swords first. Here's why:

* It's a better value - each book is two full-length novels in one volume, and since all the books cost the same, you get two books for the price of one.

* It's the way I wanted to introduce readers to the characters and the world. I start out simply (holding a lot back so I can expose character backgrounds and world building across the whole narrative). And I ramp up the stakes with each subsequent novel. The idea was to make each book better than the previous, and feedback indicates I hit that goal.

* I put little Easter eggs in Chronicles for people who have read Revelations. These aren't anything that would affect the plot, just little winks and nods for "people in the know."

Now, all that said, I've heard from plenty of readers who have gone "chronologically" as that is their preference and I've yet to hear anyone regret that choice. The consensus seems to be that both orders work (although obviously a slightly different experience as you'll learn certain aspects at different times). But I will say that it was a high priority of mine to make both possible choices work, and I think the jury is in on that and I'm happy to say I hit the goal I was aiming at. suggestion is to start with Theft of Swords, but if you REALLY REALLY enjoy your books in chronological order, than by all means you'll still get a good experience starting with The Crown Tower.

Okay, so that covers where to start if you start with Riyria, but what about when you put Legends in the mix. Should you start with Legends or Riyria? Well, both work. Legends is my latest work and therefore "better written" then Theft of Swords which I wrote 13 year ago. But I do have a presence for "reading order." So I would still start with Theft of Swords.(less)
Michael You may be confused between "The Crown Tower" and "The Crown Conspiracy."

* The Crown Conspiracy is book #1 of the Riyria Revelations and it can be fo…more
You may be confused between "The Crown Tower" and "The Crown Conspiracy."

* The Crown Conspiracy is book #1 of the Riyria Revelations and it can be found as the first novel in the Theft of Swords Omnibus (which also includes Avempartha)

* The Crown Tower is book #1 of the Riyria Chronicles, and yes in that book I mentioned you should start with Theft of Swords rather than The Crown Tower.(less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
I have a problem with fantasy. I do like the genre, but I can't stand multi-volume epics with 900+ pages per volume. I don't like spending 25 pages in a cave or 150 pages fighting a battle. I don't need a six-page description of a tavern. I don't like struggling to figure out how a name is pronounced. Since the fantasy genre seems to be dominated by what I don't like, I tend to approach it with extreme caution.

In my opinion, fantasy authors and publishers could take some lessons from Michael Su
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, advanture
*** 4.25 ***

A buddy read with my friends at BB&B!

You know how some authors feel like they are working on your wave-length​? Well, I think MJS is one of those for me. I love his storytelling style, natural and easy, never jumping into melodramatic nor falling to pedestrian. It is always just the way my senses need it to be. And this is exactly how I like my Fantasy Adventures to be told - with a perfect feel for timing, pacing and a sense of humor. Add an exceptional talent for banter and underst
Megan Baxter
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Sorry, guys. I know this is one of the big successes of the self-publishing fantasy biz, but wow, was it not for me. The story lagged, the dialogue was beyond wooden, most of the characters whiny and emotionally immature. It took a good couple of books after this one to get the taste of bad fantasy out of my mouth.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
The Crown Conspiracy is perfect for readers who enjoy epic fantasy, but in a smaller package. When you have the time and energy for a 500 or more page epic, why not? But if you want a good historical fantasy tale that is shorter but doesn't lack what you enjoy in the genre, then it's great to find one. This is a good choice if you have encountered that dilemma. When I developed a renewed taste for fantasy as an adult reader, I looked at different fantasy novels that many established fans of the ...more
Allison Hurd
I originally started reading Theft of Swords but quickly changed my goal to a more manageable one. This review is not going to be popular. It might even cause some hurt, for which I am sorry. Usually I give my overall impression first, but this time I want to say that this isn't meant to be a personal attack on anyone. From my limited interaction with Michael, he seems a pleasant, conscientious person. And I have many friends who found honest enjoyment in this book. I am not suggesting anything ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to colleen the convivial curmudgeon by: Reading Group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm all about grim dark , complex, dense epic fantasy, I really didn't think i'd enjoy this as much as i did.
The world building was well done, Elan is a beautiful world with rich history and myths. To me the best aspect of this novel was how well defined the characters were. Royce, Hadrian, Alric, Myron...even the antagonists, they all had unique personalities.
As for the story itself, its been a while I've felt this compelled by a book. I couldn't put it down once I started. Given the recent s
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Okay, in the spirit of complete disclosure I actually read Theft of Swords which includes this book and Avempartha. Last night however I finished The Crown Conspiracy and have to say I'm exceedingly pleased.

Of late I've read a string of mediocre books. They weren't "bad", I didn't hate them but neither could I get into them. Often I'd get to the point I just didn't care. That's not the case here and if the quality holds up I may become a fan of Mr. Sullivan.

The characters here are not only "well
I loved this book! So much fun, but not without a harsh brutality that lends weight to the story and truth to the world they live in. I adore Royce and Hadrian and find myself invested in them in a way I haven't been in a long time. The other main characters were equally endearing in their own ways and I was never too impatient to get past their stories to get back to my favourites.

I feel like there is still a huge amount to discover about Royce and Hadrian in the following books and I can't wa
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This is just the type of book I needed, a fast paced light fantasy read.

It was refreshing to read a fantasy book without complex world building, complex magic systems or tons of different characters. This was just pure classic fantasy.

One issue I had was the dialogue which throughout this felt awkward and forced, also lots of plots in this felt to easy for the characters and I never really felt they were in any real danger.

Mayron was my favourite character and he must be protected at all cost.
The Crown Conspiracy was an interesting book. It was a great start to the series and I already have fallen in love with some characters, like Royce and Hadrian. They are, of course, experienced thieves. They steal from the rich.. and basically give it to other rich people? So don't think of them like good ole' Robin Hood.. because they aren't. However, I still loved the shit out of those two.

Now I can't say who I love more out of this awesome duo but I did enjoy getting to know them. They are c
Anthony Ryan
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations are an entertaining, fast paced and very welcome addition to the ranks of modern fantasy. Sullivan combines the character and world-building skills of Fritz Leiber with the plotting and humour of Dashiell Hammett. ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
16Mar2012: the 6th book finally came out in Jan of this year, so I'm re-reading the series in order. I hadn't realized it had been 3 years since I first started reading this series. I didn't read it in order nor did I read the final copy, except this book. I started out by ARC reading book 2, then read this book, then ARC read the rest of the series except book 6. IOW, I get to read this just for fun this time & enjoyed it very much.


4April2009: It's a fun, quick fantasy read. The setting
Dirk Grobbelaar
Nov 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Is this a tribute to Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser? If not, it should be.

This book has received a fair share of glowing reviews, with reviewers praising, among other things, its lack of unnecessary exposition. And it is an enjoyable book, for the most part. However, some attention to detail would not have been amiss.

Is this a Young Adult novel? I’m not sure. Everything is just skimmed over. We hardly have any idea what anybody looks like or how things work. This is a shame, really, since there are
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy

4 1/2 stars

Michael Sullivan does it again! The first installment of the 'Riyria Revelations', is as much as fun as one can get in the 'fantasy genre'!

The book is the first ever written book in the 'Riyria series', and Sullivan does a brilliant job in creating a fast read, with meaningful characters and an engaging enough plot that will leave the reader coming back for more!

In 'The Crown Conspiracy ', we see the creation of one of the most devilishly fun pair of thieves, in 'Hadrian Blackwater'
Nimrod Daniel
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A while ago I read The Viscount and the Witch which was really great. I really liked Royce and Hadrian, they made me laugh many times throughout that short story. Writing a good short story is quite a feat that only few authors have.

The Crown Conspiracy was even better than I had expected. Royce and Hadrian are really great characters, they make a very interesting (and hilarious) team. While Hadrian is a righteous ex-soldier, Royce is a cynical thief with a devious mind, and these two guys make
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, fantasy
I wanted to read this series and give Michael Sullivan a second chance not having liked the first two books of the legends of the first empire.

The Crown Conspiracy was fun, however it lacked depth. The characters weren’t developed properly, we barely know anything about their character beyond the obvious. Although Arista’s chapters were few, I was able to learn more about her as a person more than the rest (and I don’t mean it in a good way, like the rest are more mysterious, but they are kind
TS Chan
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After plowing through a few grimdark novels of significant size this year, I was thirsting for something less mentally exhausting and more fun to read.

Enter Riyria! And what a breath of fresh air this has been.

The Crown Conspiracy is probably the shortest in the series making it a really quick read. It is good introduction to the Riyria duo, Hadrian and Royce, who seemed to be more than what they appear to be on the surface and were complete opposites. Barely 3 chapters in and I was already hav
David Sven
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobooks
“It’s those thieves, those damned thieves,” the Earl of Chadwick called out as he ran after Braga. “They’re demons! Magicians! Evil mages! They are like smoke, appearing and disappearing at will.”

Hadrian and Royce are Riyria - professional thieves extraordinaire. They steal from the rich, and give to...the other rich...or whoever's rich enough to pay for the job - usually nobles who want special items from other nobles. And they say thieves have no honour!

This is sword and sorcery - rogues and w
Dec 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It has me very interested in continuing the story for sure. It is really a 3.75 stars, but at this stage I can't give it a 4. I am hoping, from reading all of my friends comments that the series develops well. I can see that happening. There has been some very nice character building (the narration on audio is excellent), but I really want to see a development of said characters now to push this story into the 4 star realm. Secondly, I want to see a bit more depth to the story, this did feel at ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Overall this story is more like 3.5 star for me with promising development of a series. There are many introductory explanations about the setting and backgrounds, either by telling or showing, coated with the plots. This approach is both good and bad. The good thing is, this approach gives reader promising big unexplored Riyria Universe, so I believe a lot of readers crave for more. But on the other side, this approach is sacrificing the story itself into a mediocre one. The main story is prett ...more
Maggie K
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed this book..and it's all due to what it lacks!

So much sword and sorcery fantasy these days feels like it has to be uber-descriptive. They remind me of the frozen turkeys that when you unthaw them just drain off water they have been 'plumped up' with.

So it was with great pleasure that I read this book: Despite an evil plot to overthrow the throne, sinister manipulations, secret prisons,a bratty prince and princess, an uber-magician, and a tenacious dwarf, the book seemed as refreshin
A fun buddy-movie, heist-movie romp, with two smart-mouthed thieves bouncing from adventure to adventure.
Unexpectedly, I liked this one very much.


Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, infamous Riyria thieves, find themselves framed for the murder of the king. Whoever had the bright idea to pick those two to pin the crime on ... was a moron of epic proportions. Royce and Hadrian stand not for such nonsense.

Not a kind of epic fantasy I usually love. On the top of my epic fantasy list are authors like Steven Erikson and Mark Lawrence, with meatier writing ... and as for thieves and their masterfu
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Absolutely brilliant. Captivating. I fail to find the words to describe this books awesomeness. And the book series are complicated I first put this on my currently reading list then realized I had theft of the swords book. Later after finishing the half of the book, I realized it was actually this book and it was a collection of two books. And I am putting this book on my read list, because I want to vent about my feelings.

Hadrian and Royce are thieves for hire. They are infamous and are known
Zoe Artemis Spencer Reid
Delightful. There is just something so entertaining from stories wrote by Michael J. Sullivan. Even though the general idea is nothing sort of spectacular, but somehow the idea of two thieves as protagonists of the stories instead of usual heroes type just work out really good for me. Their characters that complimented each other created in such a wonderful way. I had such a fun read.
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

I seem to have lost my taste for exceptionally long fantasy novels so the fact that this one was just under 300 pages was right up my ally.

This felt like a mix between an adventure story and one of those quest games where you need to find the secret passage, save the princess and slay the monsters.

Such FUN!!!!

This can probably not be described as the most original trailblazing of stories but its full of likable characters and one of those books you can gobble up in a weekend. It was co
Looking for a fun book to read, which will take your mind off your daily problems? Look no further, as Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations does just that. I am no fantasy aficionado and quite frankly haven’t really delved that deep into this genre. However, I can say without any hesitation that while this book may not be great as per fantasy nerd standards, it does make you enjoy every moment that you spend reading it.

This is a short book and only the first in the series, therefore it does
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2008, fantasy
Thrilling, Captivating, Amazing are some of the first words that came to mind when I finished this book last night. I stayed up late into the night to finish this book, so that is a sign that I loved it. One of the better sword and sorcery books that I have come across in a while.

This book was a take back to the fantasy books that have quests, magic, and great characters and plots. At first I wasn't sure if I was really going to bond with any of the characters, but to my delight I found myself
Lindsey Rey
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
I really enjoyed this one and I am excited to continue the series!
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Other books in the series

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

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