The Crown Conspiracy

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The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan
            Reviewed by Rocky Reichman

      A whirlwind of twists, earth-shattering surprises and deadly betrayal.

      The Crown Conspiracy, Book One of the Riyria Revelations, is a hybrid sword and sorcery and medieval fantasy novel, encapsulasting the best traits from both genres. Author Sullivan portrays what life was like in the Middle Ages. How commoners were treated like filth. How prejudice was the norm, not something to be shunned. The novel tells a story of a pair of brave medieval thieves, of nobility and of soldiers in a fantasy world setting.

      After beginning with a stunning and surprise first chapter, Sullivan introduces us to the book's main characters, two thieves named Hadrian and Royce. The novel follows them as they unwittingly enter into the worst situation of their lives, but end up not only saving their lives but much more.

      The Crown Conspiracy is saturated with visual description, bring the world of Elan to reader's homes. The accuracies about medieval concepts such as social life, government and warfare attest to the fact that Sullivan has done his homework on the Middle Ages.

      And, just as important as his research standards is the makeup of his fantasy world, Elan. The Crown Conspiracy opens even avid Fantasy readers into a world with new ideas. For example, two concepts that Sullivan discusses is freezing time and gemlocks. What happens in a place where time stands still. And gemlocks? A gemlock is a special kind of lock, whose key is a gem—usually a rare jewel—that has been cut to only fit the shape of that door's lock. Ingenious! Reading about the rules and culture in Sullivan's world of Elan will pique readers' curiosity, and prepare their apetite for the rest of the story.

      Background information and the history of imagined Fantasy worlds are always enjoyable to fans. But one drawback of having an extensive history behind a fantasy world is the issue of clogging the pages with it. Unfortunately, The Crown Conspiracy gives readers too much information too soon. Instead of spending several paragraphs describing the different kinds of thieves, it would have pleased readers more to be taken into the action of the story first. First get the plot on its way and let readers engage and become enthralled in your Fantasyt world. Then it is safe to delve into specific histories and culture traits.

      The book seems to move too fast and smoothly near the end, but the story manages to tie up all loose ends hile still leaving mysterious questions for future books.

      Sullivan manages transport readers deep into the cultures of his world, and show them not only what life is in medieval society in general, but how life is like in his own world, Elan. Sprinkled with bits of clever humor and riddled with surprise disasters and turns of plot, The Crown Conspiracy is sure to entertain and excite all kinds of Fantasy readers.



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