Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

I'm a real sucker for a good thief book. I was really hoping this book would be a romp--and it is, to some extent--with the main characters, Royce the thief and Hadrian the mercenary, swashbuckling through adventure after adventure. Instead the book turned high fantasy on me and the emphasis turned out to be saving the kingdom from a usurper, with the attendant battles, planning sessions, and meetings. I don't care about all that. Gimme thieving.

Actually, I'm being a little bit harsh. Royce and Hadrian do a lot of swashbuckling. The battles and so forth are important, but the main action focuses on a difficult rescue. Royce picks locks and things like that. Hadrian holds his own against master swordsmen. It's a lot of fun.

I never felt close to any of the characters, though. I liked them, and I was interested to see what they would do next, but if one of them had died I would have been "wait, what?" instead of "OMG NO!" I think that's why it was so easy for me to put the book down partway through after I started it a few months ago. I didn't have much emotional investment in the characters.

It's definitely a plot-driven work. Royce and Hadrian take what they think will be an easy job--steal a special sword on the eve of a duel--for high pay. Instead, they're framed for the king's murder. I would go on and give more details of the plot, but anything I write might give away some of the fun plot twists. I never knew what would happen next, which was awesome.

The Crown Conspiracy was published in 2008 from Aspirations Media, a small press. Like most small press works, this book desperately needed a final editing pass to fix awkward phrasing, misplaced commas, and homophone errors. It wasn't as bad as some, however--nothing that threw me out of the story too much. I'm picky about things like that anyway. [Edit: as you can see if you read the comments, a re-edited second edition of the book is available--or will be available soon--from Ridan Publishing.]

B&N link


Susan Parker said...

I'm from Ridan Publishing. AMI (Aspirations Media, Inc) did not become Ridan. AMI did the first printing of the book which sold out. Ridan is the publisher for the second edition and there is a re-editing underway.

Thanks for blogging!

K.C. Shaw said...

Thanks for clearing my confusion up! I'll edit the post to reflect that.