In 2012, I picked up The Theft of Swords – Volume 1 of The Riyria Revelations, which contains the first two books of the series, The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan. I found the books to be quite good and continued on with the series. By the end of the series I had become an avid fan along with a ton of other people and Michael J. Sullivan’s books continue to rank in my favorites. Michael started out writing stories for his children and he now has a huge fan following. He is very involved with his fan base and his books are continually at the top of the Best Sellers in Fantasy. Let me tell you, it’s well-deserved.
Age of Myth is book 1 of The Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan. The book starts off with an Author’s Note for those who have read the Riyria books, noting that this series is set three thousand years before the events in those novels. But let me clarify that you don’t have to have read those series prior to reading this one, although I highly recommend you read them some time very soon.
For Herkimer and his son Raithe, life on their side of the river in Dureya is not fruitful. Dureya is a barren land and their clan is hungry. So one day Herkimer and Raithe dare to cross the river to hunt and they end up getting caught slaughtering one of the deities’ deer. The deities are those who are called the Fhrey, the most powerful in the land and known throughout as immortal beings.
In Dureya, Herkimer is the only man to wield a sword—a metal blade. Herkimer is known as Coppersword and he is a feared and respected man. Because Herkimer fought on the side of the Fhrey for over 30 years against the GulaRhunes, he thinks his indiscretion of being caught with weapons on their side of the river may be excused. But that’s not the case, and in the ensuing fallout, Raithe’s father Herkimer is killed by one of the Fhrey, Shegon. Raithe then grabs his father’s blade and in turn strikes Shegon. Raithe is shocked to learn that although the Fhrey are very long-lived, they are not immortal, as myth would have it. Shegon now lies dead at his hand and Raithe’s life, along with everyone else’s, will forever be changed when the world learns that the gods can indeed be killed.
It’s the end of one era and the beginning of another as Raithe finds himself on the run in a strange land with one of the deity’s servants, Malcolm, by his side. As they venture into the Crescent Forest, Raithe realizes that although Malcolm professes to think of his life with the Fhrey as if he were a slave, rather than a servant, he has really led a pampered life compared to Raithe. The two make very off-kilter traveling companions, with the self-effacing Raithe now becoming a legend, accompanied by his hilarious sidekick, Malcolm who takes delight in embellishing Raithe’s feats in order to further his fame as Raithe of Dureya, “The God Killer.”
Raithe and Malcolm make their way into the village of the Mystic Dahl Rhen, where the chieftain, Reglan of the House of Mont, currently rules Clan Rhen. They are brought before Reglan’s wife, Persephone, the Lady of the Lodge. Persephone has lost her first son at birth, the second to sickness, and recently the only one who had grown to adulthood was killed by Grin the Brown. Now, as these two newcomers arrive in Dhal Rhen, Persephone learns that Reglan has also fallen to the bear known as Grin the Brown while seeking revenge for their son’s death. But Persephone will need to put aside her grief to become a leader to her people.
There is also another recent arrival to Dahl Rhen, a girl named Suri, who is accompanied by a white wolf named Minna. Legend has it that Suri was stolen as a baby by the crimbals, creatures of the forest. In Suri’s case, she somehow got away during her first year of life, and was found and raised by Tura. A child fortunate enough to get away from the crimbals is known as a malkin because they are never quite right again. Suri is indeed an unusual girl, one of those naïve and mysterious characters that I find utterly captivating. She has mystical abilities and talks to the trees. Her latest visions have led her to seek Raglan in Dahl Rhen to let the chieftain know that “we’re going to die.”
These are just some of the great characters we are introduced to in Age of Myth, which is the start of an epic six book series. No one builds unforgettable characters, both male and female, like Mr. Sullivan and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Which leads us to the other great thing about Michael J. Sullivan, and that is, as with the Riyria series, the entire series is already written. What that means for us as readers is that we won’t have to wait years for the next book in the series. They already have scheduled release dates. Yippee! I can’t tell you what this means to me! I’m sure a few of you fantasy readers know who I am referring to when I say “oh come on already” whilst I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of the next book in the series. I know I can name two series that fit this scenario right off the bat! (Note: Not included in the two, but one author who can be excused for this is Robert Jordan, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness while writing his series and did sadly pass away.) Oh but, I got off on a soapbox rant, didn’t I? Back to the subject at hand-->as I said in the beginning of my review, I am always so happy to pick up a book by Michael J. Sullivan, and this book was certainly no exception to that rule. Sullivan is an extraordinary talent in the world of writing and I am confident that if you read his books you will absolutely agree. I didn’t stop with getting the ARC of this book. I actually purchased an autographed copy from the author’s website. Not something I usually do but I have become that much of a fan. I want to read these books over and over and over again Read Age of Myth, you’ll love it!
I want to thank the publisher (Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.