About the Series

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.

26 thoughts on “About the Series

  1. Pretty damn excited!! Huge fan of Royce and Hadrian. Excited to see what interesting characters come out of this series. Also props to you on writing the full series out first and then publishing, makes it more exiting for the reader. Sucks being a fan of ASOIAF by GRRM and having to wait half my life to get the full series! Nice to see you sticking to this writing style.

    • Thanks – I’m glad you are excited. I do have some really good characters planned for this – it’ a good sign that I’m already hearing their dialog – because I had that same thing with Royce and Hadrian. Writing the full series is the way to go. I worked so well with Riyria and the series wouldn’t have been half as good if I could’t have adjusted the early books as later once got fleshed out. Also thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Pingback: ASM Blog Horde Interview with Michael J. Sullivan - Amazing Stories

  3. Pingback: The First Empire – a nova série do autor das Revelações de Riyria | D R A G O N M O U N T B O O K S

  4. Great work Mr. Sullivan on The Riyria Revelations. Picked it up at the library, and after the first book couldn’t stop reading. I read the full 6 books last year and re-reading them again right now so i can jump into The Chronicles. I bought the chronicles already and excited for The crown Tower to come in mail. The first Empire is something I’m really excited for I was hoping you would write about those times. Glad you are writing more and more on the series. Hope I’ll get to meet you one day to give you praise in person.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you found the series entertaining. This series will be quite a bit different than Riyria stories, but I think I have something worth writing about. We’ll see what you and others think once it’s all wrapped up.

  5. Can’t wait for this series to come out. Massive fan of Royce and Hadrain, The world of Elan is an amazing place full of incredible characters, interested in seeing what character’s come out of this series. I am completely fine waiting for you to have finished the entire series until you release it, take your time and create another masterpiece like the Riyria Chronicles&Revelation’s.

  6. I’m finishing up Revelations right now (as in I’m just taking a quick break to see what else is on the way and write a comment here) before diving into Chronicles, and then Hollow World. I’m so happy to see that much more is coming and already being worked on. I love your writing style (and the way you write them all in one go, as others have mentioned), love the characters and world you’ve created, and I don’t think much could pry me away from your works for long. You’re a new discovery, recommended on a forum I visit, and already at the top of my list alongside a handful of others. Keep up the great work and thanks for the wonderful reading!

    • What an incredibly nice thing to say…thanks for that. I’m really excited about what’s coming up in the near future. The beta readers have been great and I think the released books will be enjoyed. I’ll keep writing, and hopefully you and others will keep reading.

  7. Just finished reading The Crown Tower – read it in three days! I am an absolute fan of yours. Its very rare for me to find a book that really sticks with me after reading it and this was one of them. I love Hadrian and Royce and was taken from the first sentence. We went on holiday and your book was shared around and loved by everyone who read it. I ordered the next book the minute I finished the first and the wait for it is agony!! I love how you write and you have inspired me to write some books that I have had in my mind for years. I’m only 16 and I have no idea where to start! Your characters are so well developed and even my dad (Hugely fussy when it comes to books) loved every moment of it. I’ll definitely read and buy all the books you write and recommend them to friends and family. Thank you for writing such a great series, can’t wait for the new books!!

    • That’s wonderful to hear. Thanks for taking the time to say so. Always love seeing people getting inspired to write. Especially when young, as it takes a long time (and many words) to hon your skills. Don’t get frustrated if early attempts are less than stellar. We all start out there. But just like you can’t be concert pianist the first time you sit down…if you keep practicing and working toward constant improvement you’ll be on the right track.

  8. There are some authors that I don’t really need to consider whether or not I will like a book they write, because the doubt is completely absent. Michael J. Sullivan is a phenomenal engineer of tales. The his stories have several parts each complete and fully independent but then he puts them together a creates this wonderful “machine” that is greater than the sum of its parts. I was really sad that the Riyria Chronicles ended (It ended about 3X, thinking of doing it again). I am so glad this of this new series and I can’t wait for it on audible. I can’t wait for my girls to be old enough for me to share these books with them.

  9. So excited to see that these books are available! I’m checking next to see if they are on Audible yet!! I’ll be passing the titles on to both of the Marine Spouse Book clubs I run! I miss Royce and Hadrian and can’t wait to see what these books have in store!

    • The books aren’t available…yet. The publisher says the first one should be coming out in the summer of 2016…and the audio version will be available at the same time. I’m also going to be doing a Royce and Hadrian story. Hoping to get it out this year so I don’t have a calendar year without a release ;-)

  10. Nice surprise to see a new series on the way. Riyria is one of my all time favorite series it will be a treat to see the past in that world. I do have one question. Has your wife fell in love with any of the characters in this series yet? Your intro to “The Crown Tower” or was it “the Rose and Thorn” where you mentioned the affair she was having with Hadrian was a little to close to home. Since I introduced my wife to the series I know the feeling of having to compete with one of your creations. I’m curious if you have managed to do this again with another character from this series. If so I may have to keep my wife from listening this time. Just kidding, can’t wait for the release. One more quick question what is the schedule between books going to look like? Every 6 months, one book a year?

    • Robin’s heart remains with Hadrian…Her “love” for people in this book fall into a different category. Most are people she “worries” about – will they be okay? The new series is much more an “essemble” cast. And some of her favorites are: Suri, Arion, Gifford, Roan, Moya, Malcolm, Persephone and Raithe.

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