Literature: The Riyria Revelations

"There's no orphan destined to save the world, nor ultimate evil to be slain... just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to survive."

The Riyria Revelations is a six-book High Fantasy series by Michael J. Sullivan.

Five e-books were been published:
  • The Crown Conspiracy
  • Avempartha
  • Nyphron Rising
  • The Emerald Storm
  • Wintertide

The final book—Percepliquis—was originally scheduled for an April 2011 release. However, publishing rights were acquired by Orbit Books in early 2011. The entire series was re-edited and re-published as three two-book volumes; a standalone version of Percepliquis was released simultaneously with the final volume. The Orbit editions' titles are:

  • Theft of Swords (November 2011)
  • Rise of Empire (December 2011)
  • Heir of Novron (January 2011)

Two prequel books were published in 2013:

  • The Crown Tower (August 2013)
  • The Rose and the Thorn (September 2013)

This series provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Saldur is polite, cultured, and fatherly- as long as you do what he wants. Interfere with his plans, though, and he will show his temper.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Goblins are considered to be this; their showing in the novels largely bears it out (though admittedly, we only see them at war or raiding, never at home).
  • Ancestral Weapon
  • Ancient Conspiracy : the Nyphron church's nine hundred year plot to take over the human kingdoms and found the New Empire
  • The Atoner: Per legend, the god Erebus/Kile/Nimbus.
  • Bad Ass: Hadrian definitely counts, along with Breckton and, to a lesser degree, the Pickerings.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ever hurt or insult Gwen when Royce is around. If you kill her, Maribor help you.
  • Big Bad: The Patriarch aka Mawyndule
  • BFS: Hadrian's longsword. It's by no means the largest of BFSes, but when it gets drawn, things are gonna get messy.
  • The Chess Master: There's a pretty stiff competition between Mawyndule and Esrahaddon, but all competitors fall absolutely short in front of the incredible magnificentbastardness of Arcadius.
  • Church Militant: The Seret knights are the Nyphron Church's (and eventually, New Empire's) enforcers-cum-inquisition, beholden only to the Patriarch and Sentinels.
  • Corrupt Church: The Church of Nyphron. Of course, it's led by- and was largely created in its present form by- the Big Bad.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Percy Braga.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Saldur and Ethelred, Co-Dragons to the Patriarch, are primarily concerned with reduilding the Nyphron Empire. The Patriarch himself just wants the human kingdoms weakened so he can take them over after seizing the elven throne.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Luis Guy, Knight Templar, major villain, and all-around evil Badass, gets offed unceremoniously in the first chapter of the last book.
  • Dual Wielding: When Hadrian's not using his longsword.
  • Enslaved Elves: Elves (or at least, those with Elf-blood) are at the bottom of the ladder in most human kingdoms. Dwarves have it a bit better, but not by much. About the only nonhuman race that humans haven't tried to enslave are goblins, who are honestly just too mean for that to work in the first place.
  • Evil Counterpart: Luis Guy to Hadrian, Merrick to Royce, Mawyndule to Esrahaddon.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Mawyndule, as well as any of the oberdaza, the goblins' mystical/shamanic caste.
  • Fantasy World Map: Fairly bog standard
  • God of Evil: Uberlin is considered one of these, though he never actually shows up to do anything particularly evil.
  • God Was My Copilot: Nimbus is incredibly heavily implied at the end to be Kile.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Practically all "elves" living in human lands are actually hybrids, including Royce. The Tenkin are thought by some to be Human-Ba Ran Ghazel hybrids, but are actually fully human Calisians who adopted much of their invaders' culture- cross-breeding between human and goblins is explicitly stated as biologically impossible.
  • Heroic BSOD: Thrace/Modina falls into one after her father dies and her village is essentially destroyed. Amilia helps pull her out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Royce tries to pull one of these on the Emperors' Tomb, but in the end it becomes unnecessary
  • Hired Sword: Hadrian.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Ghazel will eat just about anyone and anything, but have a special fondness for sentient beings.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Teshlor. The Pickering and Killdare families each uncovered a Teshlor discipline, which made them the foremost swordsmen in Elan. Hadrian, who was trained in the full range of Teshlor skills and techniques, is simply undefeatable in single combat, barring tricks.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Deliberately invoked with Thrace/Modina- the church capitalizes on the idea of the beautiful peasant girl who killed a terrible monster and saved the land in order to get a biddable Empress they think.
  • Knight of Cerebus: In-universe; the stories involving goblins are explicitly said to always be very dark and never end happily.
  • Knight Templar: Sentinels, as well as most seret knights.
  • Master Swordsman: As a fully-trained Teshlor, Hadrian definitely counts.
  • Meaningful Rename: Thrace Wood to Empress Modina.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Theft of Swords opens on bandits trying to mug Royce and Hadrian. They wind up giving them pointers on the proper way to mug someone instead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Rose and the Thorn tells the story of how Royce and Hadrian inadvertently helped a conspiracy to murder the royal family. They end up killing the people who could have stopped the assassination attempt and it's only through sheer luck and the heroism of another character that the king and his children survived. In addition, Royce's poorly thought out actions almost get Gwen and her girls executed. Things work out in the short term but in the long run the bad guys escape punishment and are thus able to try again in The Crown Conspiracy.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Yep; though only one dwarf, Magnus, is a main character, he and his people fit the standard pretty well.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Full-blooded elves are nigh-immortal, masters of magic, and incredibly Badass- but they're also xenophobic and want little to do with humans until they invade in the last book. When most people in this world think of elves, they think of mir, mixes of human and elf blood who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: The Ba Ran Ghazel.
  • Puppet King: Modina is a Puppet Empress; this works fine when she's essentially catatonic after her battle with the Gilarabrywn, but when she comes back to herself, she takes the Empire in her own right. Awesomely.
  • Rebellious Princess: Arista.
  • Rags to Riches: Amilia goes directly from scullery maid to Empress Modina's personal tutor, secretary, and confidant.
    • Also, Modina herself, who started out as being peasant girl Thrace Wood until she killed an invincible monster and got hailed as the Heir of Novron. Rather cruelly deconstructed, as initially she's little better than a prisoner and puppet for Saldur and Ethelred. Amilia helps her find herself again.
  • Rags to Royalty: Thanks to Deacon Tomas spreading word of Thrace's little stunt, the Church didn't have much choice but to recognize her as Empress. That she was all but comatose and the Church was expressly looking for a puppet definitely helped.
  • Regent for Life: Saldur from Nyphron Rising through Wintertide.
  • Royal Brat: Around the beginning of The Crown Conspiracy, nineteen-year old Alric is... not exactly the picture of maturity.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Merrick is rather fond of the game and uses it at various points to explain his actions and/or make veiled threats.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: There's no obvious Dark Lord or other evil threat, but otherwise a pretty straightforward one.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Of all people, Myron gives one to Mawyndule in the last book, basically telling him that his grand plan 900 years in the making was wasted time, given that, since he's already very old, even for an elf, he's not going to live long enough to enjoy his victory.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Esrahaddon is in one.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The first book's tagline is "There's no orphan destined to save the world, nor ultimate evil to be slain... just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to survive." Turns out one of those two guys actually IS an orphan destined to save the world.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: How Saldur rationalizes his actions.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe
  • Zerg Rush: How humans eventually defeated the elves in the first war. For all their awesome powers, the elves' low birthrate proved their undoing. As one of the heroes puts it, "The elves were drowning in a floodtide of humanity."