Friday, June 8, 2012

June 2012 BNC - Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Please join us with the reading of Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan.

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 author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

Theft of Swords was originally published as: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha)
Rise of Empire (Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm)
Heir of Novron (Wintertide & Percepliquis)

Please join us with the reading of Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan for June 2012. Every month we will be choosing a book-of-the-month, cleverly titled BOOK NERD CHOICE (BNC). Anyone can participate. We will have a month to read and discuss it. At the end of the month, we will have a poll in which character from the book that artist James Vallesteros will draw. The drawing will be transformed into bookmarks and all actively participants will receive one.

How to participate? It's simple! We will have our discussions here in the comments! Can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Please stop over to Michael J. Sullivan's Facebook Page and say Hello >>>HERE<<<

***If you have already read Theft of Swords, you are welcome to JOIN 
our discussion and still get the Bookmark***

You can purchase Theft of Swords at the following Retailers:


  1. I admit that I read this book before it was a BNC. I read it back when they were two standalone novels—Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. I even read the first one when its original title was Heirs to the Throne. That was way back in 2005, before it was published and only three of us read it then: me, my wife, and my very first agent, Catt.

    Okay. I didn’t just read it—I wrote it. But I did read it…a lot. That’s one of the pitfalls of writing, you’re forced to re-read your novel until you can’t stand it anymore. It’s like a sadistic torture, the sort where in order to break you of a habit, you’re made to do it a hundred times in a row until you’re sick. One of the great joys of getting published is to receive your printed novel in the mail. You want to sit down in your reading place, crack it open and read your own words like they were someone else’s…only you can’t. By that time the magic is gone and the idea of reading it again is horrible.

    But I never get tired of hearing readers discuss it.

    I’ve always been amazed how people I invented, come to life when two or more readers begin to talk about them. They don’t refer to Royce and Hadrian as characters in a novel, but as people, sometimes as old friends. It’s strange, but a good sort of strange, for I know that if a third person were to walk in on the conversation, not knowing what it’s about, they might easily assume these two are speaking of real people whom they know. At that moment, at least in the mind of that third person, my characters would actually be real. For a writer there is a certain rush in that, a thrill of success, for deep down authors all harbor a god-complex, a joy of creation and there is nothing so wonderful as that moment when lightning strikes and we can yell: “It’s alive!”

    Thanks Jean for picking Theft of Swords, and I’ll check back here in case anyone has a question about the books or the story.

  2. Great choice of books for June! I read Theft of Swords originally as separate books and in digital format on my cell phone until I could find the books in store. This is a series that is difficult to put down and easy to pick back up again. If you enjoy the first book then keep reading! It only gets better!

  3. What a great idea - both the BNC concept and the custom bookmark.

    I kept seeing this Michael J. Sullivan guy's name crop up on Goodreads, and finally decided to give him a read this Spring. I've only had a chance to read the first omnibus so far, but what a great story. Takes me back to the heroic fantasy I grew up with, and I'm anxious to get back into it and see where the story goes.

  4. What a great series of books to feature! I also read the first 5 books when they were single and not part of the omnibus.

    My absolute favourite character is Royce! I LOVE LOVE LOVE him :D

    Happy reading!!!

  5. I love these books, the characters, the story, everything!!

    My favorite character in the first book is Royce, of course!!

    My only question for Michael J Sullivan would be, when, oh when will you write more, and will it be soon??

  6. Sadly, have only read one of the books in the series, which I loved and could not put down, so looking forward to being taken on another trip to Michael's world soon as possible. What a great idea Jean! There are so many MJS fans out there surprised that there are so many MJS fans out there! The quality of the work is the reason not hyped up advertising.

  7. I too love these books. Great characters/story line. I have them in the single format, the covers alone are enough to draw a reader in. My favorite character is Hadrian.

  8. Chris,

    Believe me I am hard at work. I've been writing so much recently I find myself thinking in prose.

    I can't give any dates, not even approximates as releases are no longer in my hands alone. All I can say is what I have recently finished has been met with very positive responses. That is to say some of my harshest critics appear to have been made happy. So that's a good sign.

  9. I loved this series! I was supposed to study for my statistics final but I read all of the books instead in one intense, bleary eyed weekend. I just couldn't stop wondering how the story was going to end. I understand that Royce and Hadrian's story is finished but I would love to read more work by Mr. Sullivan. I haven't enjoyed a story more since I read Waylander by David Gemmell many, many years ago.

  10. This is one of my favorite series. I just want to share it with every reader I know.

    Thank you everyone for taking this journey with me again! I can always read this series over and over again!

  11. Hellu, I read alot, mainly fantasy, and due to me reading so much, I have begotten myself an aquired taste. I am constantly on the lookout for books like the Riyria Revelation series. I blundered onto these series by scrolling through the iBooks app, and I am pleased to say that i could not for the life of me stop reading. It took me 6 days, but I regret NOTHING (excluding that we will probably not read more about Royce, Hadrian, modina or Arista.)! *insert sadface*

    As tochoosing my favorite character through book one and two... I choose Magnus the dwarf. His cold calculation, detatchment, murderer of kings, backstabbing his "allies" (mostly the riyria) and being the undisputed master of rock and earth makes me laugh and frown.

    And to mr. Sullivan, if you ever read this... Thank you for gifting us, and your daughter with such a thrilling yet dark humored book! (my opinion)

  12. Coming into a series waaaay late has to be one of the great joys in life. I saw the book at the library (looking for a Terry Pratchett book I hadn't read yet). Read it in 2 days because I couldn't put it down and just bought the other 2 on ebay. I've never been so happy to be late to the party. I'm shocked that these are out of print. Anybody who read about Fafrd and the Grey Mouser needs to know about this series. The dialogue is "just right", if you know way I mean. Totally fresh and it hits you with the right timing as you read it. You get the joke right when it's told. Every word spoken hits you just as if the character was right there with you.

  13. How funny, the authors comment was made on my birthday june 12, I got the book on my birthday, but I didn't start reading until yesterday. I was worried the book was maybe written for children at a glance, but then the liberal reference to whores and prostitutes quickly eased my worries. I'm not far in, maybe 100 pages, but the entertainment is increasing at a brisk pace.

  14. I read all three books published by Orbit consecutively. I just could not put them down. I would highly recommend these books to any fans for great fantasy writing and characters that you will fall in love with and thoroughly understand their motivations.

  15. I am about two chapters away from finishing Avempartha, the second book in volume one. I haven't had as much time as I would like to dedicate to this book. The story is intriguing. I love the well constructed world and the relationship between Royce and Hadrian. The author's style reminds me of my own writing and I like that.

    The only things that have gotten me as possible "negatives" (but are more like my personal preferences) is that the author loves the slap you in the face with an obvious hint and then follow up very quickly. It's like teasing with a mystery and unable to resist dragging it out and blurting it out. I could figure everything out by the hints that nothing was a surprise. But the characters kept me going anyway. The second thing is how the characters are just shown and not developed. You see how Royce and Hadrian have such a great friendship but not it developing very much. (Which is kind of a personal taste again.)

    All in all, despite that, I would recommend this book to anyone seeking an epic fantasy. I often am at work wondering about Royce and Hadrian. Trying to puzzle out the plot and motives of everyone. Good read. I was 64 pages into volume one and made a special trip to buy volume two and three.

  16. I'll admit that I stumbled onto Theft of Swords quite by surprise in January. I was strolling around the bookstore and had some extra money and wandered in to the fantasy section. I am a great lover of medieval fantasy and an aspiring writer in the same field, so I like to have an idea of the lay of the land. I looked along the bookshelves with nothing in particular in mind, and Theft of Swords jumped out at me, probably for its size and bright yellow color. I picked it up, read the back cover and the first page, and was hooked.

    The writing is marvelous, and flows really well, not getting bogged down with unnecessary detail. Having read the entire series, I am also very much admiring of the brilliant foreshadowing, which is something I love to see in books but hardly ever happens.

    Each character is very real, each with their own agenda. The interwoven plot is fantastic, and no character is ever forgotten or ignored.

    Theft of Swords is now my #1 favorite book ever (which I am busy persuading my fellows to read), and my favorite character is Hadrian.

  17. I have been reading genre fiction for almost 50 years. Some books are forgotten as soon as you've read them but a few, really stick with you and you get a real sense of affection for them. The Riryia books are like that. A great central story at the heart of it and really engaging characters make them linger in the memory. I love the Hadrian and Royce of course, but much to my surprise, Arista has really charmed me as a character. A strong and independent woman, she constantly rises above the huge obstacles and dangers that come her way and I wondered if Michael had a female role model in mind when he developed her character?

  18. The Theft of Swords is a classic in the making. I found these two books, Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, to be the introduction to one of the most enjoyable stories I have read in a long time. I have now read all six books 3 times and I have recommended them to many friends who are finding them as much fun as I did.

    Hi Silent Rogue. The main thing I'ld like to say is keep reading.

    I loved the first two story lines. They are a tease to what is yet to come. The plot grows and the characters grow. You can not yet expect them to evolve with only 2/6th of the story told. There are hints you need to know and figure out during the first reading and then there are Easter eggs that are so subtle you will have no idea they are there until you read the story a 2nd time. These Easter eggs are not necessary to the plot. But they actually make the second reading more complete than the first time through.
    I'll admit I am taken with Royce and Hadrian, Arista and Thrace. I hope everyone who picks up the first book continues through the full 6 story lines to the final destination. It is well worth the time.

  19. This was a novel I could hardly put down. It seemed that the excitement never stopped throughout the entire journey. Hadrian and Royce are wonderfully crafted characters to whom you take an instant liking. The novel flowed without any weird or annoying breaks or "hiccups". I knew almost immediately when they mentioned the heir and it would be Hadrian and Royce in the middle of it all. I took a liking to Thrace as well and was not disappointed. A little reckless and naive for sure, but otherwise an enjoyable character.

  20. Definitely one of my favorite books! I read the whole series in two weeks on my cell phone, since I was having a hard time finding the paper books in Brazil. Absolutely great!
    My favorite character is Royce. Seriously, I was in love with him! really wish I could see more of his past.

    The_Silent_Rogue, keep reading. I think you will find some stuff quite surprising!

  21. Love these books! I've gotten so sick of more recent, "gritty" fantasy that's filled with foul language, over-the-top violence, and sex. Riyria keeps your attention without having to resort to all of that by having an interesting storyline and characters that you can really come to love. Like The_Silent_Rogue said, there are definitely a few places where you can tell that this is MJS' first series, but his ability to really flesh out a world is amazing. I can't wait for more!

    Michael, earlier in the comments you mentioned a something that you "have recently finished." While you can't give us an estimate for a release date, any info on what it'll be about? I love your world building, and want to salivate over the future possibility of more :)

  22. Kim, you pick Magnus? I admit Michael wrote a great villain in Magnus, but he's your favorite? Wait... now that I think about it, you made a very wise choice. Please don't hunt me down in an effort to copycat your hero ;)

    Btw, I pick Myron. Never have I fallen in love with a character as fast and strongly as I did when we met him and learned about his Squirrel Tree. I love that guy.

  23. I devoured this whole series .... as one of the other commenters mentioned they take you back to the High Fantasy of my youth. All three books.
    I thought the two main characters, Royce and Hadrian were well constructed and there was no distinct good and evil in them like you would find in most other books of this genre, each character was a mix of both ... depending upon the situation.
    There were a lot of strong women characters who didn't need swords or fluttering eyelashes to get their way or point across. In fact i believe the only female to use a sword was only Ms Pickering, a very minor character, in the third book ... and boy did that dude deserve it!!! (not going to spoil it for you read it ;-) )
    My favourite characters, apart from the obvious two, are Arista and Myron. i mean who could not like Myron his enthusiasm and joy for life was soooo infectious!

  24. This book really is very well written. In other books I have read with multiple characters and story lines, often the work tends to be disjointed and not very cohesive, but this is not the case with Theft of Swords. One can tell that Mr. Sullivan spent much time weaving together a cohesive work, not just a hack novel that took a couple months to write. Plus he writes without language and sex, which is very admirable in the day we live in. Furthermore, the character development is absolutely amazing. I am very excited about even the possibility of having novels about Royce and Hadrian's pasts.
    My favorite character has to be Hadrian. I got goosebumps when he fought in Calis in the arena and can't wait to read more about him in (hopefully) a future novel.
    Great read!

  25. Great book choice for June, Jean. It's a fun read that still has plenty of depth, character development, and twists and turns to get keep most readers flipping pages with delight. I'm about 20% into Heir of Novron and I can't wait to see how it ends!

    Favorite character, besides Hadrian, is definitely Myron. Very unique to use an ignorant-to-life character to help explain some back story!

  26. I have just begun reading Theft of Swords. I am enjoying the relationship between Hadrian and Royce the most. I have never read a more convincing portrayal of the friend/brother bond. They are very comfortable with each other and 'knowing' toward each other. It makes them very likable and intriguing and I'm very eager to continue to read to find out more about them, their past and future. So far, I like Royce the most. He seems a bit dark, brooding, and, well, tortured is too strong a word, but he has got something going on, yet he also seems to be decent deep down and is loyal to his friends and is feeling. There is always something very compelling about such a character. Maybe it shows that he has a lot going on inside. He is not a shallow person. I wonder if women are drawn to 'bad boys' because they sometimes sense a greater depth and passion, something raw that can't be found in perfect, plastic, flower-giving men. Royce is not a bad boy, but does seem to have a lot of depth and, I think, some passion prowls around down there. Thank you, Mr. Sullivan, for providing me with some great summer reading. When I start teaching again in September, I'll recommend your series to my students.

  27. Hi Jennifer, I think you describe Royce with perfect accuracy. I see the allure for the bad boy; dark, passionate, greater depth, and faultless loyalty to his chosen few. I would add skilled and wisely experience. Not sure if "tortured" is too strong a word- as you read on you will see how that is not inaccurate. Though my personal preference is for Hadrian (I like the good guy; capable, trusting, mostly honest type). It is truly the two, as partners, playing off each others attributes and through each others faults that make them such a perfect team. There are so many moments within the series where you can not help but love them both. Mr Sullivan did a perfect job of giving us two strong men able to get the job done.

  28. I just came across this author and his books today. Wow, they sound REALLY good! I have GOT to put these on my wish-list and get them the next time I have some spending cash. They look like the type of books I LOVE :-D

  29. I found these books last fall - I don't even remember how I stumbled upon "Theft of Swords". These are way up on my short-list of "Books to buy Friends 'cause they are too good not to share".

    What I truly appreciated in this series was the continuity. Six books and nary a single "wait..that contradicts what happened before" moment in the whole. Great writing, attention to detail, and editing made this a joy to read.

    I wish all writers were such craftsman...

  30. I had read the first eighty or so pages of the book this past December just at random; for whatever reason I didn't get much further (I think the holidays were interfering), so I returned the book to the library. But I didn't forget about it; I'd periodically check the shelves to see if it was back (it was almost constantly checked out) but then about a week ago it was there again, so I picked it up. I was going to just skip to where I'd left off, but I enjoyed reading the beginning enough to start from scratch again.

    A couple days later I was done with it, and wanted to read the next volume in the series, so I went online and did a search, and happened upon a very caustic review for it, that I will neither name nor link to, as I'm annoyed that it is already as high a search result as it is; anyway, despite the review questioning my taste for enjoying the book, I logged onto my library's website and put a hold on the next book, which they got for me from a neighboring library the next day. I read that one until last Friday evening, and the next morning got up, went to the library, dropped off the second one, and picked up the third (which happened to be in; I checked in advance, otherwise I'd have put a hold on it, too). I'm now partway through the "sixth" book, and am anxious to see how it all resolves. (I know this forum is just about the first book, but I just wanted to say that the subsequent installments in the series are just as worth reading, if not moreso. But I won't say why, so as not to spoil anything. =)

  31. Oh, I almost forgot to add, even though I've been checking these out from the library, I will definitely be purchasing them at some point (assuming the final book doesn't turn me off the series, which I highly doubt will be the case, but stranger things have happened), though I haven't decided whether I want hardcopy or Kindle...

  32. Sorry, last comment, I just realized I'd forgotten to weigh in on the poll about favorite character. It's hard for me to choose, as some of my favorite characters at this stage were not necessarily my favorites in the first book. But I will say Myron, due to his amazing memory, perpetual fascination with the world, and humble heart.

  33. I bought the first book a week and a half ago, maybe 2 weeks ago actually. I read the first few chapters and I had already been sold. I ended up buying the rest of the series with no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy it. I just finished the last book, Percepliquis, and I was pretty much dumbstruck. I am actually annoyed that there is no more to read (atleast not in that story arc). So I thought that I would share this with anyone who would like to know

  34. It seems I forgot my favorite character too, and it would have to be Hadrian. I also felt Esra is worth mentioning as well. However, to be fair, I liked every character almost equally Myron, Royce, especially the character Nimbus --- I liked how the name meant Mist and he was practically a mystery from the start. I thought it was a very fitting end for the series, especially the amount of times Michael went back to re explain the lore (as if teasing).

  35. Just wanted to take a minute to drop by and thank everyone one for participating. There is no joy greater than hearing people talk about your books and characters so thank you for making me smile.

    The Riyria Revelations is indeed over but I'm watching feedback to see if people want more books in the future. If you are interested you can vote here:

  36. @Noel, Arista is very much patterned off of my beautiful wife, Robin. Strong, intelligent, sometimes insecure, and completely clueless when someone nearby is deeply in love her.

  37. @Chad - can't make an announcement just quite yet. Both my agent and editor are on vacation - but movement has been made and when I can announce I'll come back here and do so.

  38. @MikeWS - the "original" versions are indeed "out of print" but they all exist just in a new format. Orbit took the six individual books and re-released them as a trilogy so it breaks down like this:

    * Theft of Swords - The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha
    * Rise of Empire - Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm
    * Heir of Novron - Wintertide & Percepliquis

    So no worries - they are not REALLY out of print just morphed into something else.

  39. Just finished reading the whole series two days ago, and i'm in LOVE. Gonna quote Lucinda here and say 'These are way up on my short-list of "Books to buy Friends 'cause they are too good not to share".' Amazing story, I'm in awe.

    And favorite character, Royce, hands down. Hadrian's a close second, but I've been in love with Royce and his personality since the first book. Michael J. Sullivan, i'm honestly very glad you wrote these.

  40. Thans Anum - glad to hear you enjoyed the series so much.

    If you are going to buy books for your friends consider getting them from my website as they can be signed. Here is the URL:

  41. I am a late-comer to this post after just having been introduced to the series about two weeks ago. I have just finished all three books. What a great series!! It seems to me that there is so much left here to develop . . . . Arista and her powers, Royce and his daughter and their work between the races, Modina (Thrace) and her rule, etc., etc., etc. I just visited Michael's blog and saw the link to this site and wanted to add my two cents. I will definitely be watching for more from Michael!

  42. Hi TMJ, great to have you join the Riyria team. No such thing as a late-comer when it comes to loving Royce and Hadrian. Glad to hear you read all three books. Hope the others on this board got a chance to finish the series too. The party moved over to Goodreads so contact Micheal and ask for an invite.

  43. Figured I'd add my post as well. I admit I didn't read them, but rather listened to them from Audible. If you're like me and don't have must time to sit and read, but spend hours in the car I highly recommend the audio versions as well. Set up as the three books the narrator did an excellent job. Just finished the third Orbit book last night, and have to say the ending to the story was quite satisfying. I have to say Hadrian get's the nod as my favorite character, with Royce right behind him. As I've finished all three, I have to also state that I love what Sullivan did with the dwarf, Magnus. He turns out to be a very interesting character who has great importance to the overall story.