Synopsis:As the first book in a larger series, I was expecting The Crown Conspiracy to be a bit sluggish, packed full of lengthy exposition and tedious descriptions of the physical appearance of the characters. (Maybe I've been reading a little too much Robert Jordon.) However, this book was anything but sluggish.
There's 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 unwitting scapegoats in a plot to murder the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out…and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.
Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn are two unlikely heroes, whose day to day method of business is doing dirty work for the nobles of Melengar, and occasionally ripping them off in the process. They are thrown into the wrong situation at the worst of possible times, and end up on a journey with the prince of Melengar, a monk with an excellent memory, and the task of staying alive. Most of the characters are easy to like (or to loathe), and the reader is swiftly invested in the fate of Hadrian and Royce, making the ingenious plot twists seem very suspenseful.
The story begins with a wonderful first line, something I love a book to have.
Archibald Ballentyne held the world in his hands, convieniently contained within fifteen stolen letters.It continues to develop at a good pace, and the plot is layered and intriguing, really engaging the reader to put the pieces together and figure out what's really going on. Sullivan's real talents lie in character development and dialogue, the latter of which was really delightful. Royce and Hadrian have a great repartee, and the monk, Myron, has some memorable lines of his own. On seeing a woman for only the second time in his life and just recovering from the discovery that horses come in more than one color:
"Oh my, I don't even think of horses when I look at her!"I often chuckled at Myron's reactions to the everyday world he was never a part of, having lived in single monastery his whole life.
The author holds back a bit regarding the backgrounds of some of the other characters - namely Royce and Hadrian. We know Royce is a thief, and quite mysterious most of the time, when he isn't teasing Hadrian or performing a great feat of thievery. We know Hadrian is a mercenary who follows a certain code of honor, which is important, because Royce sometimes needs someone to remind him to be honorable. There are hints throughout the book that there is a lot more to these two characters than we have seen, and I'm excited to see how they develop in the books to come.
Overall this book is a great start to a series, and certainly a wonderful piece of writing. There is an element of fantasy, but it manages to stay grounded very much in reality, even with the occasional presence of a dwarf, elf, or wizard. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a bit of medieval fantasy, mystery, and action. I will certainly be itching to read the next installment!
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Published: October 2008
ISBN #: 9780979621135
The Riyiria Revelations Series: