Welcome to another fantasy world. Here, two different characters are forced to work together. One is Hadrian Blackwater, teenage killing prodigy of the martial kind. The other is sneaky and selfish assassin, Royce Melborn. Their “manager” is Professor Arcadius, to whom Melborn owes a debt of gratitude. So, off they go on their mission. Why? Aha…
This is action packed fantasy of the free flowing kind, with a focus on entertainment. The dialogue is sparse, the observational insights even sparser, and the world building is a wee bit on the thin side as well. However, the story rattles along – with a fair measure of surprises and twists – and the characters have their moments. In other words, this is not high literature, but it is high entertainment. It’s enjoyable and delivers what it sets out to. I am not so keen as to join in the rush to describe the author as a master storyteller, but he is a good storyteller. Maybe, one day, he will reach the dizzy heights some claim for him.
Note: chronologically, this is the first of the Riyria fantasy books by Michael J Sullivan, from his Riyria Chronicles series. However, the series that was first published was the Riyria Revelations (Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, and Heir of Novron). Interestingly, the author says that each stands alone, and there are advantages and disadvantages in reading the Revelations before the Chronicles, and the other way round.