Legends of the First Empire is to be a six-book series, set in Elan, 3,000 years prior to the events in Sullivan’s Riyria Chronicles and Revelations, themselves set only 10 years apart. You can find more information of the timeline on Michael’s blog here.
This was the first Michael J. Sullivan book I read, and I really enjoyed his writing style. It’s accessible. I have an above-average vocabulary, but there are some excellent authors out there whose books should come with a dictionary (thank you Kindle). It’s great to learn and expand your vocabulary but sometimes certain vocabulary seems to be used unnecessarily and can distract the flow of reading. This was never the case reading Age of Myth (I have now read all five books of this series and can say in full confidence the flow and accessibility of Sullivan’s writing is excellent). Additionally, the worldbuilding is not heavy or difficult to digest. I found the entire world very easy to imagine in my mind. It’s vivid and as I was reading and sometimes found myself pausing to admire what I’d pictured!
Besides the writing style and worldbuilding, I found the pacing of this book to be excellent, in fact, I read the first four books over five days (Age of Death was not yet released), which gives you an indication of how much I enjoyed the series. These books are also not lengthy—they are in the 400-500 page range… just in case you were wondering if I’d slept at all.
“That’s what a good wife does, keeps your dreams alive even when you don’t believe anymore”
Rhunes (humans) live in clans, some are not so friendly with others, but all clans view the Fhrey (elves) as Gods, believing them to be immortal. Fhrey believe Rhunes to be little more than mindless animals, incapable of higher thought or feeling, though few have encountered a Rhune—Rhunes are forbidden from travelling beyond a certain territory. The Fhrey as also made up of tribes, one of them, the Instarya, are tasked with securing the borders. Another of the tribes, the Miralyith, can use the Art (a form of magic in this series), which results in an air of superiority among some, particularly since the sitting Fane is a Miralyith. This creates for some interesting politics in the Fhrey capital of Estramnadon. Another source of information on Fhrey society is Arion, a powerful Fhrey, teach to the Fane’s heir, who is sent to detain a group of rogue Fhreys.
Besides Estramnadon, Age of Myth centres around Dahl Rhen, home of Clen Rhen. It is here much of the goings-on happen and where we meet most of the main characters. Malcolm, a slave to the Fhrey, and Raithe, a Dureyan (warrior Rhune clan), find themselves in Dahl Rhen and the company of Persephone, the wife of Reglan, Chief of Dahl Rhen. Malcolm, Raithe, and Persephone, along with a young mystic named Suri are the key Rhune characters in this book. I must confess, while I love Suri (and her wolf Minna), really enjoyed Persephone’s character development, and liked Malcolm, Raithe came across a little bland. I did warm to him later in the book though. Also, there are other characters I found very interesting in Dahl Rhen: Brin, Moya, Roan and Gifford.
I don’t want to give away any book spoilers, so I’ll end it here and let you enjoy the story yourself.