The First Empire is my new epic fantasy series. Working titles for the books are: Rhune, Dherg, Rhist, Phyre, and Fhrey. Yes, I know they look like gibberish, but there is a method to the madness. Notice that each title is five letters long and the second one is always an h, which is silent by the way. Originally I thought it would be three books, then I realized it would need another, then it expanded to five. There is a possibility that it will shrink back down to four (combining book #4 and book #5 into one volume), but I’ll save that decision until I get the fifth book completed.
At this point the first four books are written, and I’m about 80% through the fifth book. Currently, I’m planning on having the final book done by April or May 2015. For those that don’t know, I write the entire series before publishing the first book. This means it takes a while, but once done there is no long wait between titles and no questions about if and how the series will end. This technique has worked well for me for both The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles so I’m sticking with it. One of the big advantages is that I can make adjustments in earlier volumes as something new and interesting is discovered in the later ones.
From a publishing perspective, the series has been sold to Random House’s Del Rey Imprint for North American sales. The audio books have been sold to Recorded Books (who released the Riyria stories), and Tim Gerard Reynolds will once more be the narrator. The publisher for the United Kingdom is still being determined, but as soon as I know more, I’ll update this page.
So, what’s this series about? Well here is the a kind of “working copy” for the “back of the book copy” for the first book:
What does it mean if the gods can be killed?
In the land of the Rhune, trees can tell the future; raow can’t sleep before adding more human bones to their beds; crimbals steal children through secret doors in the forest, and the gods are beyond reproach. But Raithe does the unthinkable when his father is slain…he fights back. From this act of aggression rises the legend of the God Killer, the seeds of rebellion, and the question of whether the Fhrey are truly gods, after all.
Before the Dark Ages, there was the age of Myth and Legend. Before kings and castles, there were mystics and heroes. Before Riyria, mankind lived in the shadow of the Fhrey, but that is about to change. Discover a new world by Michael J. Sullivan, the best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles.
The First Empire is a standalone series, and all five books were written before the first one was published. While set in the same world as the Riyria books, it takes place thousands of years in the past. As such, no prior knowledge is required to enjoy the book to its fullest. For those who have read Riyria, you’ll discover certain details about Elan’s past weren’t entirely accurate—the difference between myth and reality. Now you can learn the true story of how Novron/Nyphron saved mankind from extinction and founded the First Empire alongside Persephone, the love of his life.
For those familiar with my other books, here are some things that might answer some of your questions as to where The First Empire fits into my lexicon.
- Yes, it is based in the same world as Riyria but many thousands of years in the past, so while the land forms are the same, you’ll not recognize much. The cultures, technologies, races, and characters will be unlike anything you met in Elan previously.
- Like much of fantasy, the setting will not be a variation on a medieval world, as it takes place 3,000 years in the past. In this world, there are no kings, knights, and people fight with spears rather than swords.
- These books can be read completely independent of the Riyria books (both Revelations and Chronicles) but those that have read the full series will have some fun making connections between what they’ve been told and what actually happened.
- My standard techniques will be employed: fast-paced, humor, interesting characters, and a good number of twists and turns. Also, like my other books, each will be a complete tale with it’s own conflict and resolution, but there will also be plot points that span the entire series.
- Unlike Riyria (which focuses primarily on two main protagonists), this is more of an “ensemble” piece where the efforts of a small group of people will each have their own parts to play.
I hope some of this sounds interesting to you. And if you want to sign-up for notification of releases, or to get some of the pre-release goodies and giveaways, here is a link where you can sign up.