I teach English, Creative Writing, and Debate, and coach the forensics and Scholastic Bowl teams at Turner Ashby High School.
Theft of Swords actually consists of two books, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, that originally came out separately a few years ago. That’s when I first came across them. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy epics, everything from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, to Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry. Sullivan’s works ranks right up there with those four.
The protagonists are Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two thieves who take on jobs for people willing to pay their price. Sullivan plunges the reader right into the middle of the action and does a deft job of letting the characters and their world unfold bit by bit. Even as the stakes rise and the world grows larger, the focus always stays on Royce and Hadrian, and it’s these two characters, their individual secrets, and their continually evolving relationship that kept me wanting to read more. Sullivan includes some wonderful bits of humor that arise naturally from this pair.
Unlike some contemporary sword-and-sorcery writers, Sullivan doesn’t plunge us into a dark and nihilistic world. That’s not what I want from this genre. Royce and Hadrian live in a world that’s not perfect by any means, and where death and danger are present, but where hope can still triumph. When I finished the series I felt satisfied and sad that my journey in this world had ended.