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Age of Empyre by Michael J. Sullivan – Cover Reveal

Hello, my name is Michael J. Sullivan, and I want to thank Fantasy-Faction for hosting the cover reveal for my upcoming novel, Age of Empyre (release date May 2020). This marks the last book in the Legends of the First Empire series, and it’ll be my 17th published novel.

Age of Empyre (cover)

Isn’t it amazing? That was created by the famed artist, Marc Simonetti, who has produced many covers for my books, including all of the novels in this series and the most recent two novels in the Riyria Chronicles (The Death of Dulgath and The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter). Marc has also illustrated for some of the biggest names in the industry including George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Pratchett, and dozens more. Here are the other fantastic covers that Marc has created for the Legends series.

Age of Empyre (banner)

Looking at all the books lined up like that, I’m filled with joy. I’m so honored to have Marc’s incredible talent gracing my books.

As I mentioned, this will be my 17th published novel, and wow, how times have changed since 2008 when my first novel was released by a small publisher (Aspirations Media Inc.). Since then, I’ve pretty much run the gamut when it comes to publishing.

  • 2008: Small press publication of The Crown Conspiracy.
  • 2009 2010: Self-publishing 5 of the 6 books of the Riyria Revelations.
  • 2011 2013: Orbit re-releases the Riyria Revelations as three two-book omnibus editions (Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron)and the first two books of the Riyria Chronicles (The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn).
  • 2014: Hybrid-publishing of my time-traveling sci-fi thriller Hollow World in conjunction with a small press (Tachyon Publications).
  • 2015: Self-publication of the third book of the Riyria Chronicles (The Death of Dulgath)
  • 2016 2018: Del Rey releases the first three books of Legend of the First Empire (Age of Myth, Age of Swords, and Age of War)
  • 2018: Self-publication of the fourth book of the Riyria Chronicles (The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter)
  • 2019 2020: Self-publication of the last three books of Legend of the First Empire (Age of Legend, Age of Death, and Age of Empyre)

Like many fantasy authors, creation often begins by making a world, and my stories are no exception. Before starting my first book, I had 8,000 years of history mapped out for Elan, but very little of that “background information” ever made it to the page. I’m a big proponent of the iceberg method when it comes to worldbuilding, so most of what I dreamed up remained below the waterline. Still, I thought it was interesting and in particular I’m fascinated by how events of the past are seen differently by others in the future. Details get construed, powerful people usurp the deeds of others, and some events are lost forever simply because no one bothered to write them down.

When penning the Riyria novels, I lied—particularly when talking about powerful people from the past such as Novron, who is believed to be a savior of humankind and the demigod son of Maribor (god of humans). I hoped that someday I would be able to make use of some of that 8,000 years of history, which only I knew.

If the Riyria books had been a flop, I likely wouldn’t have been able to reveal the truth about Elan and its history. But luckily, that wasn’t the case. It’s been almost eight years since the first book was released, and the series continues to sell well. In fact, Orbit is about to release a boxset of the series (coming out the 29th of this month) and the books are into their 17th, 15th, and 13th printings.

I started writing the Legends of the First Empire in February of 2014, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having trepidations. Royce and Hadrian were wildly popular, and I think that stemmed from (a) their bonds of friendship (b) their witty banter and (c) the fact that they were men with “a particular set of skills.” In other words, they are badasses. It would have been easy to go back to the same well and write something similar. But from a creative perspective, that had absolutely no interest to me. Instead, I went a completely different way. Legends of the First Empire has an ensemble cast, and one filled with misfits—the type of people you would never expect to change the course of a world, and yet they did.

In the time of Riyria, humans dominate the world of Elan and other races live in the margins, struggling to survive. In Legends (which occurs 3,000 years in the past), we see a world where humans are primitive and on the verge of being destroyed by cultures with sophisticated technology and magic. Given that, the obvious question is how did the tables turn? Well, that’s a big part of what the series addresses. It exposes the truth of legends, and shows that what people believe to be their history is little more than myths.

As it turned out, my trepidation about writing something other than Riyria was unjustified. The series has sold amazingly well. Two of the four released books have hit The New York Times Bestsellers List, three have made the USA Today Bestseller List, and the books have been on The Washington Post’s Hardcover Bestseller List on multiple occasions. Both Age of Legend and Age of Death were launched with Kickstarters and they became the 2nd and 3rd most-backed fiction projects of all time, and 4th and 6th when ranking projects based on those that raised the most amount of money. The Kickstarter for Age of Empyre will launch in January and backers will get ebooks in February (three months before its official release date).

It’s an exciting time at the Sullivan household. Age of Death (releasing Feb 2020) is with the copyeditors. I’ve reworked the opening chapters of Age of Empyre (releasing May 2020) and I hope to have the rest of the polishing done by the end of October. Age of Legend (released July 2019), has sold about 45,000 copies and people seem excited for the next installment.

Well, that’s about all the news for now. Again, I want to thank Fantasy-Faction for debuting Marc’s amazing cover. I hope this gets some people excited about the conclusion to this series. I know I am.

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar Tommye says:

    Wow! That cover is incredible 🙂 The release date is in my diary now!

  2. Avatar Peter Nierenberger says:

    Nicely done!!!

  3. Avatar Adam Weller says:

    It seemed like just yesterday that you were telling us about Age of Myth, and now the final one already has a cover and release date.. wow. Congratulations! I’ve been reading your entire catalog of books over time and they’ve all been such fun reads. Thanks!

  4. Avatar Lee Tatum says:

    Beautiful, astounding cover and my favorite since Marc Simonetti’s cover for ‘The Death in Dulgath.’ And I can’t believe your “new” Age of- series is almost complete! Can’t wait for for the last two novels. Congratulations, Michael!

  5. As Tom Petty said….”Waiting is the hardest part….”

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