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Michael J Sullivan biography and books reviewed

Michael J. Sullivan is an American author of epic fantasy and widely regarded as one of the most successful self-published fantasy authors. He has written two series, The Riyria Revelations, a six book epic fantasy series, and The Riyria Chronicles, an ongoing series.

"Every author has different needs when it comes to story editing. I had written thirteen novels before The Riyria Revelations so I was already pretty seasoned on aspects such as pacing, limiting exposition, building characters, and the like. I had always had a talent for creating compelling plots, so I might not need as much developmental editing as some. Still, authors need an objective critic, and I’m fortunate that my wife is very good in this regard. She really puts my books through their paces, and I’d match her talent with anyone employed by the big-six. Copy editing is probably the area that we have the most problem with. We hire freelancers, and have used many, but it seems that there were always little mistakes that were missed, even though the same book may be gone over by as many as five people. Personally I think if you are self-published the copyediting of your book has to be three times better than the traditional published works, and will still get criticized twice as often. People expect editing to be poor in self-published books and they love pointing out any little mistake and hold it up as proof of poor quality. In comparison, the same number of mistakes in a book from a large press will not incite ire, as they know professionals are involved. The reality is, in 100,000 words there are going to be mistakes here and there. You just have to do the best you can."
Taken from a conversation with Fantasy Book Review's Ryan Lawler about editing self-published books

February 27th 2012 interview with Michael J Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan is a full time author whose self published series, The Riyria Revelations, hit the big time selling more than 70,000 copies in a very short time. Picked up by Orbit in the middle of last year just after the release of his fifth [...]

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Michael J Sullivan reviews

Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

"Age of Myth left me spellbound from the moment I got past the first chapter having actually read the bloody words on the page. (I’m not going to quickly forgive myself for that one.) I missed out on reading a great book for a couple of months while it sat on my shelf. Michael J. Sullivan satisfies my desire for intimate, character-driven stories, and regularly manages to keep me reading well into the wee-hours of the morning."

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Age of Swords by Michael J Sullivan

Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess renders them indistinguishable from gods?

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feel nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits, as fearsome as it is deadly.

"Age of Swords marks yet another entry into evidence detailing Michael J. Sullivan’s captivating storytelling. The characters are beautifully fleshed out, the story flows with a pace that never lets you stop, and yet never borders on frantic or slow. With every addition to this universe, Sullivan proves he is one of the most talented and captivating authors currently at work. It’d be a shame to miss out."

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Age of War by Michael J Sullivan

The alliance of humans and renegade Fhrey is fragile - and about to be tested as never before. Persephone keeps the human clans from turning on one another through her iron will and a compassionate heart. The arrogant Fhrey are barely held in check by their leader, Nyphron, who seeks to advance his own nefarious agenda through a loveless marriage that will result in the betrayal of the person Persephone loves most: Raithe, the God Killer. As the Fhrey overlords marshal their army and sorcerers to crush the rebellion, old loyalties will be challenged while fresh conspiracies will threaten to undo all that Persephone has accomplished. In the darkest hour, when hope is all but lost, new heroes will rise... but at what terrible cost?

"In the end, Age of War serves to exemplify why Michael J Sullivan is one of the greatest living fantasy authors, a master of his craft who has excelled at both character and plot, emotion and action, fantasy and fiction. For some, Age of War might represent the walking of a very fine line between failure, but for Sullivan it seems he walks a bridge a mile wide."

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Age of Legend by Michael J Sullivan

So while I may have minor qualms, they are just that – minor. And maybe, in the same way, that no author is able to maintain a perfect reputation, so too do I think that maybe neither does each new entry in a series have to yield the same heights and depth and intricacy. Stretched and thin, maybe, Age of Legend is nevertheless tremendously compelling, and a continued reminder of Michael J. Sullivan’s breathtaking imagination. 

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Age of Death by Michael J Sullivan

Age of Death, then, sees Sullivan continue to solidify himself as one of the greatest practitioners of fantasy literature currently writing, and further builds the foundation from which he will be measured as a champion of the genre in decades to come. Sullivan is not just an author who can wring emotion out of his readers through beautiful character work but is also a first-rate imagination up there with the best. Combined, Sullivan outshines most of his peers and sends a challenge to all.

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Age of Empyre by Michael J Sullivan

While Age of Empyre and the whole Legends series may struggle to top ‘The Riyria Revelations’ – for the simple sake that it does not have Royce and Hadrian – it is only by the barest of margins.

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Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan is one of the most talked about authors around the fantasy community at the moment. His independently published six book series, The Riyria Revelations, has sold a bucket load of ebooks, and these big sales lead to a lucrative offer from Orbit. The first two volumes, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, have been combined into an omnibus edition called Theft of Swords that introduces us to the world of Melengar and two thieves who somehow manage to become entangled in every wrong place at all the wrong times. Theft of Swords is a excellent addition to the fantasy genre, one that tells a fun and modern story with a traditional Tolkien styled setting, and one that you should not hesitate in adding to your library

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Rise of Empire by Michael J Sullivan

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists in the south. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce's suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own grab for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian's past--what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.

"While Rise of Empire isn’t as tightly knit as the previous book, the excellence of the second story makes up for it. Michael J Sullivan is an author I would recommend to just about any reader of fantasy, containing well-written tropes and a bountiful supply of fantasy goodies to keep anyone happy."

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Heir of Novron by Michael J Sullivan

The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide, they plan to execute two traitors (Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar) as well as force the Empress into a marriage of their own design. But they didn’t account for Royce and Hadrian finally locating the Heir of Novron—or the pair’s desire to wreak havoc on the New Empire’s carefully crafted scheme.

"Fun, action packed, and for me – someone who doesn’t inherently attempt to solve the book by the end of the first chapter – surprising right up until the final page (literally). If you’re looking for a fun and easy read this new year break, make sure to check out The Riyria Revelations – I’m sure you’ll love it."

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The Crown Tower by Michael J Sullivan

Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making. Hadrian, a warrior with nothing to fight for, is paired with Royce, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that their employer is after, and if he can only keep them from killing each other, they might just get him his prize.

"It’s fast-paced, at times funny, at times violent, and the two lead characters (as well as a few supporting ones) are so immediately fascinating that it’s somewhat hard to believe this is fiction. Add to that Sullivan’s absolute mastery of the writing craft (there are some lines which are so brilliantly phrased that it leaves me at once astonished and laughing out loud) and volume one of the Riyria Chonicles is an absolute must for anyone who reads fantasy."

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The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J Sullivan

A dear friend is brutally beaten. Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born. One year earlier, two thieves were saved from certain death by the compassion of a stranger. Unable to forget the woman who saved their lives, Royce and Hadrian now return to Gwen DeLancy and are shocked when she refuses to speak to them. Baffled, the two thieves discover Gwen has been brutally beaten by a powerful noble - beaten so badly she can't face them. But Gwen doesn't know about Royce's past, doesn't understand how much he cares for her, and doesn't realize what he is capable of - but she's about to find out.

"The Rose and the Thorn is another brilliant prequel, shedding lights on important events that really open up the wider world of these stories, and explain much of some of its most important characters. While maybe not as good as The Crown Tower on its own, together the two books make up an absolute killer-combination."

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The Death of Dulgath by Michael J Sullivan

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria. When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

"I’m tempted to jump straight back into The Riyria Revelations – I just want more Royce and Hadrian. Being back in their world is at once wonderful, and fraught with agony as I know I’ll soon have to leave. The Death of Dulgath was not only a fine addition to Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria world, but a great book all on its own. This would serve as a great starting point for anyone wanting to find out about Riyria, and will open the door to other great books."

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The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter by Michael J Sullivan

A daughter vanishes. Two rogues are paid a fortune to find her. It isn't enough. When Gabriel Winter's daughter mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, the wealthy whiskey baron seeks revenge. Having lived in Colnora during the infamous Year of Fear, he hires the one man he knows can deliver a bloody retribution - the notorious Duster. Ride with Royce and Hadrian as the cynical ex-assassin and idealistic ex-mercenary travel to a mysterious old-world city filled with nobles claiming descent from imperial aristocracy. Riyria's job appears easy: discover what happened to the missing duchess and, if she lives, bring her home . . . if not, punish those responsible. But nothing is simple in the crowded, narrow, mist-filled streets of Rochelle, where more than one ancient legend lurks.

"The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter may not be as tight as The Death of Dulgath but it is nevertheless in good and close company. I can’t help but simply want more of Royce and Hadrian, and the world that Sullivan has painted leaves me ever intrigued by the various factions and intrigues. For Sullivan readers new and old, Winter’s Daughter is a fantastic tale told with the trademark class that only Michael J Sullivan brings to the table."

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