The Legends of the First Empire is an epic fantasy series whose original working titles were Rhune, Dherg, Rhist, Phyre, and Fhrey. The first book (Age of Myth) was released on June 28, 2016 from Del Rey (fantasy imprint of Penguin Random House). They released the second title (Age of Swords) in July 2017 and the third book (Age of War) on July 3, 2018. The remaining titles are Age of Legend, Age of Death, and Age of Empyre. Originally, I thought the series would be a trilogy, and now it’s essentially two closely related trilogies under the same banner.
At this point (and before the first book was released) all the books were written, although the fourth book required a significant revamping. This work (as well as subsequent changes to #5 and #6 are now done and we are working on a few minor adjustments and then all three books will go to beta reading.
As mentioned, the first three books of the series have been sold to Random House’s Del Rey Imprint. Contract negotiations with Kensington Publishing (to produce the print versions of the last three books as part of their Rebel Base Select Imprint) ended with no deal brokered, so these remaining books will be self-published. The audiobooks have been sold to Recorded Books (1 – 4) and Audible Studios (5 & 6). Tim Gerard Reynolds will once more be the narrator. Several foreign language deals have been signed including German and Russian.
So, what’s this series about? Well here is the “back of the book copy” that Del Rey wrote for the first novel.
What does it mean if the gods can be killed?
Michael J. Sullivan’s trailblazing career began with the breakout success of his Riyria series: full-bodied, spellbinding fantasy adventures whose imaginative scope and sympathetic characters won a devoted readership and comparisons to fantasy masters Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, and Tolkien himself. Now, Sullivan’s stunning hardcover debut, Age of Myth, inaugurates an original five-book series–and one of fantasy’s finest next-generation storytellers continues to break new ground.
Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer. Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom. And Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people.
The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.
For those familiar with my other books, here are some things that might answer questions about where The First Empire fits into my overarching lexicon.
- Yes, it is based in the same world as Riyria but many thousands of years in the past (3,000 give or take), so while the landforms are the same, you’ll not recognize much else. The cultures, technologies, races, and characters will be unlike anything you met in Elan previously.
- Unlike much of fantasy, the setting will not be a variation on a medieval world. In this series, there are no kings or knights. Humankind starts off in a pre-bronze age where 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 Riyria will have fun making connections between what they’ve been told about Elan’s history 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 its 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 be notified of release dates, or if you wish to receive some pre-release goodies, here is a link where you can sign up.
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.
Yeah I agree. I know Brent Weeks did that with his first series, the Night Angel Trilogy and it was great!
I agree Brent’s Night Angel is very well put together.
Will there be a sic pack one-volume ebook bundle eventualy?
Probably not. The ebooks for the first three books are under the control of Del Rey. The ebooks for the last three books will be controlled by us. So there will really be no way to have them all in one volume.
Pretty excited to know you are “finally” starting a new series. 😉 Now the long, long, long wait begins ……..
Yeah…but you should have plenty to keep you busy in the meantime I have 4 books that are “done” to hold the readers over until the new series comes out.
Oh man, oh man. I have no idea what this series will be about but I’m already excited about it.
Glad to hear it!
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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.
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.
Thanks Andrew. Doing it the way I am (writing them all first) does take more time – but I agree with you in the end it is worth it.
Thoroughly enjoyed your works thus far. Looking forward to more. Thanks for creating a great fantasy world.
Thank you Mike. I’m pretty happy with how it is going so far.
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.
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.
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.
You are very kind.
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 😉
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.
I am very excited for the new series to come out. I love Royce and Hadrian, and I can’t wait to see what the characters are like in this series. You’re my favorite author, keep them coming!!
Thanks! I’m honored.
Out of curiosity: Who did the cover concepts for this series. They look pretty awsome. Maybe you, Michael? I know you did the covers for the first publications of Riyria…
Those are just placeholders…to have something while we wait for the real covers. Yeah, I made them up really quickly.
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Hey Michael. I’m reading The Death of Dulgath right now. I was wondering why you decided to change the titles of the books in this new series? The working titles were so good for a fantasy series.
Hey Dash, I plan on writing an entire post on this…might take a few days as I’m trying to finish up the edits on book #2 of the series by month’s end, but I’ll write up the whole “skinny” shortly. Thanks for asking.
Oh. Alright then. By the way, I just sent you an email an hour ago where I asked the same question again. Just ignore that paragraph of the email then. I’ll wait for that post when you’ve written it. Wouldn’t want to disturb you in the middle of writing…
You just blew my mind.
This is the wish I didn’t even know to make.
I cannot wait!!!
Great! Glad to hear it.
You just blew my mind.
This is a wish I didn’t even know to make.
I can not wait!
Glad you are excited. I am too.
Is Amazon the only place I can pre-order the books? Are there other options?
You should be able to pre-order the book from just about anywhere: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Books-A-Million, etc. I’m not sure how easy (or difficult) it’ll be to get it for people who are overseas. You can also buy the book directly from my website.
Hello, I’m from Canada and I started with Age of Myth, picked randomly at the new arrivals shelf at the local library, that I had to finish all your books in one months time. You are a genius and I can not wait until Age if Swords is out. Of all the series the Age series is my favourite so far (I really was hoping that Hadrian would be heir).
Hey, thanks so much for all the nice things you said. Glad you enjoyed the reads.
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Just finished Book 1 and enjoyed it very much. I have not read any of your other series, so I predict am in for a treat as I acquire those titles. Very enjoyable story. I liked the unsuspected “buddy film” of Raith and Malcolm. I could see the part of Suri played by the young actress who played Eleven in Stranger Things.
Hey Andrew, sorry I missed this until just now. Glad you enjoyed the read. That actress would be great for Sure!
Thanks for bringing joy into the world with your art. My life has been enhanced by reading and listening to your books. Hoping for more Ryeria too!
Hey Chuck, Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your very kind words. As for Riyria. Yes, I’m working on a 4th Chronicle now! I’m down to the last few chapters and I’m very pleased with how it is turning out. I’ll put you down on the early notification list when it is close to being ready.
Thanks for your books, they have re-invigorated my love for fantasy. But could you help me out with something? I’m a little confused on the timeline of the dwarf-elf war. So if Fenelyus was alive during the dwarf war and taught Arion wouldn’t that make her more than 6,000 years old? Trilos was released setting off the war, how could Fenelyus live that long if Frey only live 3,000 years max?
You are very welcome! I have a time line around somewhere that I’ll pull out. But no, Fenelyus did not live to 6,000 years (or anywhere close to that). Let me find the timeline and I’ll get back to you.
Hi Michael, Danish dude is a big fan!
Don’t know if you are still active in here, But I just wanted to let your books are the best! to me, they came in some sort of ‘dry spell’ in audiobooks, but these books I’ve now been listening to back to back on audible, started picking up ‘age of myth’ by flavour text on audible, after buying it I regretted my buy, (because at that time I figured out it was a trilogy+ and i couldn’t stand trilogies at that point) but started to hear it anyway, and wow it was awesome, just like you describe: funny, fast, full of twists… while waiting for Age of swords I started to hear The Riyria Revelations (on the final part now), bought the Chronicles… JUST CAN’T STOP! now Age of swords is out and is so excited!
I love Your explanations in the beginning of the series that everything is written beforehand so not to get in a GRRM situation + making the books more consistent throughout, I really really like this!
TLDR: You are one of my favourite 5 writers, the Voice acting is superb and well chosen, all of your books are really really great, and love your ‘write all books before releasing’ model
I could (allready have?) ramble on about these books and your superb writing skills for hours, sorry for this. Just keep up the great work, it helps me through my life at both good and bad days, you ARE the best, thought you should know!
Hey there Niels-Peter,
The site is definitley not as up to date as I want it to be. I need to combine the “Riyria” and the “First Empire” sites to one and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, there is a lot of books out (and more coming) glad you are enjoying them all. You honor me with your “5-favs” distinction…and yes, Tim Gerard Reynolds is amazing. Never apologize for rambling – it shows enthusiasm and that is always welcomed! Here’s hoping for more good and very few bad days ahead.
Loved the first two, like a faster paced yet in some ways more in-depth Tolkien. Excited for those to come! And idea of the time span you plan to release the rest of the books over, or just seeing how it goes?
Book #3 is due in April 2018…although that date may slip by a month or two. The plan for the last three books of the series is to put them out with just 6 months between each so the whole series will be finished by early 2020. That said, we are shifting publishers for the last half of the series (because Del Rey can’t make an offer on any book where the audio rights are already sold). We have decided on the publisher, and are working out the final release plan now.
Nooo…not delayed! I’m about halfway through the Age of Swords and have read, well, listened actually, to all the others. I was looking forward to the APR release date.
Oh well, I’ve loved all the books so much that it won’t be a hardship to listen to them again. I spend a lot of time at my spinning wheel and it’s nice to have the company of Hadrian, Royce and Co.
I also think I need to get the books in addition to the audio. Is it possible in Age of Swords I’ve just heard of movement that was a little idiosyncrasy of a character in The Death of Dulgath…
I need to check.
Thank you Michael for the hours and hours of pleasure, the smiles and the outright laughter I have got from your books. May you never run out of ideas and words.
Oh, and if you are responsible for choosing Tim Gerard Reynolds…big thumbs up! I am convinced I could listen to him read a phone book – even a technical manual!
I just heard from the publisher and the new date is July 3rd. So, yeah, another 2 1/2 months, but it’s not that long. You spin? That’s great. You are very welcome for the entertainment. No worries about me running out of ideas. I have more stories than I’ll ever be able to get out. You can thank Andy Paris at Recorded Books for picking Tim. Although, we’ve made sure that for all future books he’s involved. Glad you enjoy him as much as we do.
With Riyria you turned my nightmarish commute into a dream. There were so many days I was actually disappointed to get home. Reynolds is so good I don’t know if the books would be as entertaining reading them (probably but he IS really good). I blazed through every book in the two series and moved on to Age Of Myth, now at the end of Age Of Swords it appears the audio version of Age of War isn’t out yet. I love your story telling and characters… it’s almost time for me to get in my car for another fantastic hour and a half commute that will end to soon!!! Thank you!
I’m honored by your very kind words. And I agree, TGR is THE BEST! You are correct, Age of War is launching July 3rd, so not too much time left. You are very welcome for the stories. Thank you for taking the time to write.
Just finished Age Of War today and it was fantastic!! I may have started reading your books a little backwards as I started with Age Of Myth. I enjoyed so much I read all the Riyria books before Age Of Swords. This is now my favorite series and every single book has been fun and exciting! Whether I’m learning about Elan’s distant past or Hadrian and Royce’s it’s always a blast. Ever consider a book that takes place in Elan’s future??
Thanks for writing these books! :))
There is a possibility of something in Elan’s future but I have 6 more books “in the past” I have to finish first – books #4 – #6 of Legends and a trilogy (The Rise and the Fall) which is a “bridge” between Legends and Riyria.
So is the legends trilogy the prequel to Riyria? How they linked? I am now normally a book person, but I read all three of The Legends series without stopping. LOVED IT!!!! Wanted to know if I should wait to read the rest of the series as they are released or jump onto Ryria Chronicles.
@Paul…no Legends is not a prequel to Riyria. Yes, they do occur in the same world, and yes they come “before” Riyria, but the distance in time is so great that calling it a prequel wouldn’t make sense. It would kinda be like saying a book based in Ancient Egypt would be a prequel to a book about life in Egypt today.
Legends occurs 3,000 years in Elan’s past and the cultures, technology, use of magic, and many other factors are much different between the two series. Plus there is a whole different cast of characters. Now, for people who do read both series you’ll discover the truth about certain historical figures from Riyria that are only hinted at. In other words, you’ll “meet” Nyphron and Persephone and learn how the first empire was founded.
Hope that helps.
NOOOOOO, I don’t want to wait until April 2019
Haha – that’s 9 months rather than the usual 12, so it should be good news ;-). Still, I’m glad to hear you are excited for more.
After completing most of the books by Robin Hobb’s Farseer and Liveship traders series, there was a gaping hole in my reading world. I could not find another series of books and characters that appeal to me. Until I read Age of Myth! The characters are so unique and the story is engrossing. I especially like the potrayal of the women of Dhal as the true heros in the second book. And am hoping Minna will somehow come back!!
Hey thanks! I’m honored by your very kind words. As for what will happen in the future – I’ll have to remain mute.
Will you (or have you written) write books to continue on where you left off with the Riyria books?
That depends on which Riyria books you are talking about. Revelations is six books and they are all done and released so there is nothing to “continue” with. For Chronicles, I release a book, see if people want more, then release another if they do. I JUST released The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter (Oct 2). I need to wait a bit to see if people want more, and if they do, I’ll write Drumindor (which would be the next book in that series). I have 10 novels “mapped out” for Chronicles but whether it’ll stop with book #4 or continue through all of them will depend on whether people have tired of the pair or not.
Both series Riyria as well as The first empire have become my absolute favourite of book series up to this day. Unlike the works of Tolkien for example where the characters are sort of larger than life, the protagonists of Michael’s works are more realistic and you can relate to them in an instant. I was dragged into the world of Elan right away and i felt like being part of it from page one onwards till the end. I felt the joy, anger, hate, sorrow and hope of the characters like never before. And I’ve read lots of fantasy novels over the years. I can’t express my gratitude and thankfulness in words. Thank you Michael, thank you for so many hours of enjoyment.