Riyria Revelations

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Riyria Revelations
Theft of Swords
Rise of Empire
Heir of Novron

Author Michael J. Sullivan
Language English
Genre Epic fantasy
Publisher Orbit Books
Published 2011 - 2012
Media type Print (Paperback)
Followed by Riyria Chronicles

The Riyria Revelations is a series of six high fantasy novels (published in three volumes) written by Michael J. Sullivan and published by Orbit Books in 2011 and 2012. The series consists of three original titles, Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, and Heir of Novron. The books were previously self-published[1] as a six-volume series selling 90,000 copies[2]


Part 1 The Crown Conspiracy

After a successful job, Royce and Hadrian (together known as Riyria) are approached by a man offering much gold to steal a sword owned by Count Pickering, from the royal palace in Medford, the capital of the kingdom of Melengar. While searching for the sword they discover the dead body of the King, and are accused of his murder. Arista, Princess of Melengar, saves them from execution. In return, they kidnap her brother, Alric because she thinks he will also be killed. Following Arista's instructions, Riyria and Alric make their way to the prison where Esrahaddon the wizard is being held. On the way, they are ambushed on a river and come across a burned monastery, whose only survivor, Myron, joins the group. While the group travels to the prison, Arista grows suspicious of her uncle Percy Braga. She uses magic taught to her by Esrahaddon to confirm that Braga had a hand in her father’s death. Braga accuses her of witch craft and has her imprisoned for murdering her father. At the prison, Alric frees Esrahaddon, who reveals that he was falsely imprisoned for murdering the emperor and destroying the empire nearly a thousand years ago. After giving the group some advice on what to do next, Esrahaddon leaves to pursue something he started before he was imprisoned.While eating and planning their next move at a local inn a group of soldiers arrive and make trouble for the owner and patrons. Alric steps in to intervene and proves his identity as the prince and future king. The group decides to go their separate ways now that Alric is with his soldiers and Riyria has completed their job. After Alric leaves Royce and Hadrian deduce that Alric is with a group of mercenaries, most likely employed by whoever murdered his father. After killing the mercenaries ( who Myron recognize as the men who burned down the abbey), the group then attempts to return to Medford, but soon realize that Braga, has seized power there. Braga discusses with his co-conspirator, who is revealed to be Bishop Saldur. Saldur explains that since the fall of the old empire, a thousand years ago, the church has been working to place their agents in positions of power in every kingdom in order to establish a new empire. With Alric’s presumed death and Arista scheduled for execution, Braga is poised to become king and potentially emperor. Alric goes to Drondil Fields, where he enlists the Pickerings ( loyal family friends) to help to raise an army to defeat Percy. There the group meet Count Pickering and his sons Fanen and Mauvin, who were unaware of the king’s death. When Hadrian and Mauvin spar its revealed that Hadrian knows the ancient and forgotten Teshlor fighting style that made knights of the old empire unstoppable. Riryia infiltrates the city and asks Royce’s lover, Gwen DeLancy to incite a riot to distract the guards from the army marches toward Medford. While Royce saves Arista from her tower that was rigged to collapse, Hadrian holds Braga at bay. When Alric sees his troops begin to die for him he charges ahead and demands to be let him. The commoners who have taken the gate open it to let the army through. Count Pickering duels Braga and decapitates him. Although the coup is stopped no one is aware of Saldur’s involvement and he crowns Alric king. Myron is given the materials to rebuild the abbey, which will be an exact replica due to his photographic memory. Some time later Riryia places Braga’s head on the lap of a sleeping conspirator as a warning to the enemies of Melengar.

Part 2 Avempartha

Almost a year after the events of the previous book Royce and Hadrian have tracked down the man who enlisted their help to steal Count Pickering’s sword and framed them for the king’s murder. Confronting him in the merchant city of Colnora, they discover that he is a simple sailor who, named Wyatt, who took the job as a way to care for his adopted daughter, Allie. Royce decides to spare Wyatt after seeing Allie (who is half elf). Riryia starts to head out of the city but is stopped by a old associate of Royce. It’s revealed that Royce was once a member of a feared criminal guild called the Black Diamond and was betrayed into assasinating his best friends lover, who in turned had him sent to Manzant prison. Riryia is informed that a young girl named Thrace is looking to hire them. After tracking her down and saving her from being raped she explains that a dragon like creature is terrorizing her village, Dhalgren. Although she is unable to pay their standered fee, Royce agrees when she mentions a man who matches Esrahaddon’s description. Meanwhile King Alric has Arista appointed as an ambassador. While traveling to meet with the king of a nearby kingdom of Rhenyyd, her coach stops at Ervanon to meat with Archbishop Galien and Bishop Saldur. The Bishops question her about her relationship with Esrahaddon and reveal that he might have had a hand in her father’s death. Though she doges most of their questions, she begins to have doubts about Esrahaddon. Saldur joins her on her way to Rhenyyd. Arista meets with the king of Rhenyyd, who does not treat her seriously, because she is a woman and a rumor that she is a witch. During the meeting Arista notices elven slaves being treated poorly by the king. Riryia and Thrace arive at Dhalgren to find that more of the villagers have been killed since Thrace left. They meet Thrace’s father Theron, who preparing to hunt the monster. While he is dismissive of Thrace, Theron is determined to kill the beast who killed the rest of his family. Hadrian deduces that hunting the beast is Theron’s suicide attempt. The monster attacks that night killing another villager, but Royce catches a glimpse of it. Esrahaddon reveals himself and explains the monster is actually a ancient elven magical construct, that the elves used in a war against humans thousands of years ago, called a Gilarabrywn. He explains that only a sword with the creatures name carved into the blade can kill it, which is located in a elven tower at the edge of a waterfall.


There are two related series The Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles which can be read in chronological order or order of publication. The author has recommended reading in publication order.

Order of publication[edit]

  1. Theft of Swords (contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha)
  2. Rise of Empire (contains Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm)
  3. Heir of Novron (contains Wintertide and Percepliquis)
  4. The Crown Tower
  5. The Rose and the Thorn
  6. The Death of Dulgath
  7. The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter

Chronological order[edit]

  1. The Crown Tower
  2. The Rose and the Thorn
  3. The Death of Dulgath
  4. The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter
  5. Theft of Swords (contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha)
  6. Rise of Empire (contains Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm)
  7. Heir of Novron (contains Wintertide and Percepliquis)


Sullivan has written a series of novels entitled The Riyria Chronicles that will take place before the events in Riyria Revelations, following the early adventures of the two main protagonists. The first novel, The Crown Tower, was released August 6, 2013, while the second book in the series, The Rose and Thorn, came out on September 17, 2013.[3]


Critical reception for the series has been positive,[4] with the Library Journal giving Theft of Swords praise and making it one of their 2011 "Best Books for Fantasy/Sci-Fi".[5][6] SFFWorld also extended praise for the series, writing that Rise of Empire was "very appealing" while stating that the book did have some plot holes.[7] In contrast, a negative review from Strange Horizons described the book as almost 'the absolute worst book I've ever read'.[8]


  1. ^ Bestseller Success Stories that Started Out as Self-Published Books. Ronald H. Balsom. 8 October 2013.
  2. ^ "The Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors". io9. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "THE CROWN TOWER by Michael J. Sullivan". Orbit Books. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Review: Theft of Swords". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Best Books 2011: SF/FantasyBest". Library Journal. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  6. ^ "Science Fiction/Fantasy, September 2011". Library Journal. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  7. ^ Bedford, Rob H. "Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan (Official book review)". SFFWorld. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Bourke, Liz. "Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan". Strange Horizons. Retrieved 7 December 2012.