Michael J Sullivan

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

Michael J Sullivan books reviewed


  • Theft of Swords (Orbit Books, Nov 2011) Riyria Revelations #1 & #2
    They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly. There’s no ancient evil to defeat, no destined orphan, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time…Team Riyria make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in a plot to murder the king. 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 in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know.
  • Rise of Empire (Orbit Books, Dec 2011) Riyria Revelations #3 & #4
    They killed the King. They pinned it on two men. They made a bad decision... Royce Melborn is a superb thief, his partner, Hadrian Blackwater is a skilled mercenary. Together they make a profitable living as agents-for-hire to wealthy nobles until someone sets them up to take the blame for the murder of the king. Captured and sentenced to death the two are saved by an unlikely woman with a simple demand that will change the lives of the thieves, the course of a kingdom, and the foundation of an empire.
  • Heir of Novron (Orbit Books, Jan 2012) Riyria Revelations #5 & #6
    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, the empress will be married, and Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar will be publically executed. Once the empress suffers a fatal accident, everything will be perfect. There is only one problem-Royce and Hadrian have finally found the Heir of Novron.
  • The Crown Tower (Orbit Books, Aug 2013) Riyria Chronicles #1
    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.
  • The Rose and the Thorn (Orbit Books, Sep 2013) Riyria Chronicles #2
    Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born. For more than a year, Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater when all other doors were closed against them. Unable to stay away any longer, they return to Medford to a very different reception - she refuses to see them. Once more she is shielding them, this time from the powerful noble who abused her. She was right to suspect Royce wouldn't care about rank and privilege or fear any repercussions from reprisal. What she didn't realize is what he was capable of - until now.
  • The Death of Dulgath (Riyria Enterprises, Oct 2015) Riyria Chronicles #3
    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.