The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are two of the greatest thieves you could ever go against. Their duo goes by the name Riyria, that name being known throughout the land.
At the beginning of the novel, the two are heading to work on a job when they are stopped by some thieves. All they have to do is say who they and they scare the others off like rabbits.
They head off to try and rob Archie Ballentyne, the Earl of Chadwick, by breaking into his impenetrable tower.
Meanwhile, Archie Ballentyne has been waiting for Marquis Victor Lanaklin. Archie has unsuccessfully been trying to woo his daughter, Alenda, as he is after the Lanaklin lands. He has managed to intercept some of her private love letters to the rebel Degan Gault, and wants to use them as leverage with the father. In order to keep them safe he has locked then in his study in the crown tower, a gigantic tower with only one entrance, the only one who can open it being Archie.
But when he goes to show the letters, they are MISSING! They have been stolen, along with the Marquis’ carriage. Who could have done this? Riyria.
Riyria return back to their pub and deliver the goods to Alenda, receiving their payments. But just as one job is finished, there appears there is another who wishes their services.
Hadrian goes to meet with the man, Baron Delano DeWitt. He has a job that needs to be done tonight. Sadly, Baron DeWitt has committed the biggest mistake anyone in that region could, he looked upon the wife of the master swordsman, Colonel Pickering. Colonel Pickering will duel anyone who stares at his wife, and with his skill he is impossible to beat.
Colonel Pickering’s only weakness? His special rapier that he cannot fight without. Baron DeWitt has stolen the sword and hid it in the castle’s chapel and he wants Riyria to smuggle the sword out of the castle before they search and find it. Now Riyria has a rule about accepting rush jobs, they don’t. But Hadrian isn’t really a thief, he has a warrior’s heart. He likes things to be fair or to fight for something “right”, justice, etc.
He has felt a little disheartened at stealing things for royals, then notifying the party they stole from to get payment to steal it back. This is a job that will mean something. Plus the pay is really good.
Royce was raised on the streets and has been a thief as far back as he can remember. He has no qualms about what they do, and because of what he has been through he is also extremely suspicious. He does not want to take this job, but Hadrian convinces him it is worth it as they will get 200 gold tenets.
That night they sneak into the castle and into its chapel. They go to search for the sword but find the king, dead.
As their minds grasp the situation, a dwarf starts screaming out that they killed the king. Guards swarm on them and they end up locked up in the dungeon. Yes, someone murdered the king and framed them. But who? And why?
Alric Essendon wakes from a tumble with a maid to discover he is the new King. He is furious over the death and prepares a horrible punishment as his revenge.
Meanwhile, Hadrian and Royce await their fate in the dungeon; Hadrian wishing he hadn’t tried to take the job and Royce wishing he had talked Hadrian out of it. To their surprise they receive a royal visit from princess Arista Essendon.
Arista questions them, and Hardrian tells her the story, claiming they did not kill her father. And to their surprise, she believes them.
Arista is not like other women. Her father sent her to University and she studied the lost art of magic. She had been given a warning about the threat upon her father’s life but unfortunately didn’t heed it. Now she wants to hire the two to kidnap her brother.
Hadrian and Royce are surprised, but Arista explains that she thinks someone is after the Essendon line and wants to kill her brother as well. She wants them to smuggle him out of the castle and go to Gutaria Prison, the secret ecclesiastical jail. They they will meet the wizard, Esrahaddon, who will be able to guide her brother. They think it is odd, but faced with death, they take the job.
Arista has a complete plan in place. She will send two monks in to administer the last rites and have the two unchained to pray. They will knock the monks out, switch clothes and meet her in the kitchen where she will have Alric.
Everything goes off without a hitch as they head off to the prison to find Esrahaddon, the wizard. As they continue their quest they run into a monk with a photographic memory that survived a massacre; a hidden prison that not only is built into a rock wall but once you enter cannot leave; the great wizard Esrahaddon who has been alive for eons; and secret church and government plot to answer the legend of the god Novron’s son and unite all the kingdoms under one rule!
Meanwhile, Arista tries to rule in her brother’s place but finds treachery very close to home. They try to brand her a witch and kill her.
Will this ragtag group be able save the throne? Or will they be outwitted and destroyed by these agents of Novron?
Thoughts After Reading:
I started reading this book, and I could not put it down. It is that amazing!
Luckily, my book had one and two in it as I quickly consumed it, and then searched for the rest in the series.
It is an amazing book trhat I highlyt recommend for Lord of the Rings fans or anyone who likes fantasy with a little mystery thrown in.
For more fantasy-mystery, go to Gates of Thread and Stone
For more magic and sorcery, go to The Emperor’s Edge