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691 pages, Paperback
First published November 23, 2011
“The abbot once told me that lying was a betrayal to one’s self. It’s evidence of self-loathing. When you are so ashamed of your actions, thoughts, or intentions, you lie rather than accepting yourself for who you really are— or, in this case, pretend something happened when it didn’t. The idea of how others see you becomes more important than the reality of you. It’s like when a man would rather die than be thought of as a coward. His life is not as important to him as his reputation. In the end, who is braver? The man who dies rather than be thought of as a coward or the man who lives willing to face who he really is?”
“The real struggle is in your own mind. You must know you are going to win before you start the fight. You have to see it, smell it, and believe it utterly. It is a form of confidence, but you must guard against overconfidence. You have to be flexible—able to adapt in an instant and never allow yourself to give up. Without this, nothing else is possible. Unless you believe you’ll win, fear and hesitation will hold you down while your opponent kills you.”
“Your best ally in any discussion is silence. Learn to develop that skill. Learn to listen instead of speaking and you’ll weather many storms.”
“Hadrian shook his head and sighed. “Why do you have to make everything so difficult? They’re probably not bad people—just poor. You know, taking what they need to buy a loaf of bread to feed their family. Can you begrudge them that? Winter is coming and times are hard.” He nodded his head in the direction of the thieves. “Right?”
“I ain’t got no family,” flat-nose replied. “I spend most of my coin on drink.”
“You’re not helping,” Hadrian said.”
“Actually,” Royce said, “I don’t have any political leanings. They get in the way of my job. Noble or commoner, people all lie, cheat, and pay me to do their dirty work. Regardless of who rules, the sun still shines, the seasons still change, and people still conspire. If you must place labels on attitudes, I prefer to think of myself as an individualist.”
“Theron, that weapon of yours may be mighty sharp, but what good is a sharp weapon when you can’t hit anything or, worse, hit the wrong target? You don’t win battles with hate. Anger and hate can make you brave, make you strong, but they also make you stupid. You end up tripping over your own two feet.”
“As with everything, fighting takes practice. Anything can look easy if you’re watching someone who’s mastered whatever it is they are doing, but what you don’t see is the hours and years of effort that go into perfecting their craft. I am sure you can plow a field in a fraction of the time it would take me for this very reason. Sword fighting is no different. Practice will allow you to react without thought to events, and even to anticipate those events. It becomes a form of foresight, the ability to look into the future and know exactly what your opponent will do even before he does. Without practice, you’ll need to think too much. When fighting a more skilled opponent, even a split second of hesitation can get you killed.”
It's elvish for two.”
“So you want us to escape from this prison,kidnap the king,cross the countryside with him in tow while dodging soldiers who I assume might not accept our side of the story,and go to another secret prison so that he can visit an inmate?”
“Royce stared out at the tower in the middle of the river and considered why jobs involving stealing swords were never simple.”
This was such a fun, fast read.
Theft of Swords has everything a fantasy reader wants: engaging characters, good plot, appropriate world building... what lets it down is that I was never quite invested in the lives of our 2 male leads, Royce and Hadrian.
If that wasn't disappointing enough, Sullivan ensured that the male characters were relevant while the women were depicted as either evil or prostitutes. This pulled me out of the story completely.
Further, the scope of the world building was slightly simplistic, falling far short of my ultimate fantasy world flag bearer- Grishaverse (Created by Leigh Bardugo).
On the plus side, there's magic, lol moments with our protagonists, and enough suspense to keep you engaged from start to finish.
The king was assassinated, someone set up Hadrian and Royce, our "mercenaries for hire" as fall guys. Will they survive the treachery?
”I don’t have any political leanings. They get in the way of my job. Noble or commoner, people all lie, cheat, and pay me to do their dirty work. Regardless of who rules, the sun still shines, the seasons still change, and people still conspire. If you must place labels on attitudes, I prefer to think of myself as an individualist.”
“So,” Royce said, “you want us to escape from this prison, kidnap the king, cross the countryside with him in tow while dodging soldiers who I assume might not accept our side of the story, and go to another secret prison so that he can visit an inmate?”
Arista did not appear amused. “Either that, or you can be tortured to death in four hours.”
“Sounds like a really good plan to me,” Hadrian declared.“Royce?”
“I like any plan where I don’t die a horrible death.”
“There,” Hadrian told Royce, “we’ve got Maribor on our side. Now you can relax.” “Actually,” Myron said sheepishly, “I was praying for the horses. But I will pray for you as well,” he added hastily.