Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Rate: 3.5/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers):

Theft of Swords is a sneaky read that on the surface appears to assume a classic adventure mold with characters who feel quite familiar. That said, by the end of this novel you can’t help but be drawn in by the deceptively complex world and nuanced characters who work hard to hide their golden hearts. 

Royce Melborn is the ultimate thief who, along with his partner Hadrian Blackwater, a swordsman of remarkable skill, make up Riyria, a duo skilled at completing unusual jobs. When one particularly suspicious mission results in them being framed for murder, Royce and Hadrian find themselves set on a path that quickly evolves beyond their control and grows increasingly outrageous with each new situation they are forced to navigate. Conveniently, a solution always seems to present itself, regardless of how trapped the two might seem to be. Surprisingly, this predictive pattern grew to be rather amusing and helped to emotionally attach the reader to the pair. Despite being lauded as a thief and a mercenary, they would deliberately choose the path that aligns with the ‘right thing to do’, even when the consequences are rife with danger. 

Theft of Swords is a book that is made up of of two different acts. We have the initial scramble after Riyria is framed for murder, but after that fiasco is resolved, the last quarter of the book follows Hadrian and Royce on a new job where they encounter a terror out of legend that intersects with the scheming Church. Soon though, pieces from the two parts of Theft of Swords merge to reveal a larger and more dangerous game afoot. 

Overall, Sullivan crafts genuinely enjoyable characters and an easy story that has yet to yield all of its secrets, while effortlessly establishing a vibrant literary world. 

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Theft of Swords starts to emerge as something new when the group enters the hidden prison to meet Esrahaddon.
  • That whole scene where Hadrian, Royce, Myron, and Alric help Esrahaddon escape makes no sense. Why would the guards have left them unmonitored for so long? Would they have really left the King alone and trapped in the prison?
  • Is Hadrian the Heir of Novron? Or perhaps Royce, and Hadrian is the warrior protector? If not, how did Hadrian or his father learn to fight using Teshlor? What is the necklace he always wears?
  • I loved when Hadrian manipulates the village of Dahlgren into helping them defend or protect themselves. 
  • Since the Church of Nyphron has been foiled on several fronts, what will they do now? Will they keep Thrace as an Empress? I feel like she will not be as easy of a pawn as they anticipate. What will they do now that Royce’s elven background is known?
  • The Pickerings were positively delightful! I loved them, especially as they interacted with Arista and Royce/Hadrian. It was heartbreaking that Mauvin was killed. How will Fanen recover?
  • Will Arista or her brother ever discover Bishop Saldur’s deceit? 
  • It should be no surprise though that Myron was my favorite. Isn’t every bookish, awkward side character?
  • How many other Percy Bragas does the Church of Nyphron have waiting in the wings?
  • Will Esrahaddon find the Heir? Can he recover more of his powers? 

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