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Michael J. Sullivan’s road to publication is the dream of every self-published writer out there. After having released the first five books in his epic fantasy series the Riyria Revelations by his own means and seeing his books met with fulgurant enthusiasm (and sales figures), Orbit opted to pick up all six of the books in his series. Theft of Swords - the Orbit published omnibus version of the first two books - showcases Sullivan’s lean prose and fun, classically oriented storytelling style. Though overly simplistic in some regards, the first volume in Sullivan’s series is an enjoyable and well-crafted one.

Stephen Deas - most-famously author of the Memory of Flames series that began with The Adamantine Palace - came at us last year with a fresh offering set in his established world and geared towards a slightly younger audience. The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice was a fine beginning to a new series. Though the core investigation featured was largely less enticing than it could have been, the novel’s setting and well-wrought characters presented much possibility for the future. Making away with distracting side-plots, Deas in this second Thief-Taker novel, The Warlock’s Shadow, tightens the plot, focusing it on Berren and he continues to haphazardly seek his place in the intrigue-tinged and vibrant city of Deephaven.

Every once in a while there comes a book I feel absolutely unqualified to review. The latest of these is Christopher Priest’s (of The Prestige fame) newest book, The Islanders. Having not read anything from Priest in the past, I was both tentative and truly excited to dig in. What I was met with is a piece of fiction so vibrant, subtle, passionate and so damn clever it made me feel inadequate. But in a good way. The kind of way where I’m more than happy to reduced to a state of primal awe at an artist’s expression of his thoughts on themes and topics equally diverse and important, and do so intelligently, gracefully without sacrificing readability. For a first experience, Priest sure knows how to impress.