The Viscount and the Witch - Michael J. Sullivan The Viscount and The Witch is a short story, which introduces readers to Hadrian and Royce: the heroes of the Riyria Revelations. It takes place several years before their adventures in Mr. Sullivan's other Riyria books, and while it is a standalone story, I believe you will find it much more enjoyable if you have read the novels before sampling this.

The tale itself revolves around Royce and Hadrian traveling and encountering obstacles along their path including a "witch." These "bumps" allow the author to highlight the differences in Hadrian's more optimistic, naive character and Royce's brooding, pessimistic outlook on life and people. It also gives Mr. Sullivan the chance to introduce a landless, pathetic noble named Viscount Albert, whom our heroes befriend and save from himself. (Albert, of course, goes on to play a role in the Riyria Revelations.) Through all this, a reader begins to see the making of Hadrian and Royce’s partnership, which is the central point upon which the Riyria Revelations balances.

I only have two complaints about The Viscount and The Witch. One, the story is very light on plot. There isn’t much that actually happens other than Royce proving to Hadrian that he is too trusting of others. Two, it is too short. Once you actually become engaged in the tale, it is over .

All in all, this story is a light and entertaining read. I believe it is best sampled after already having an emotional attachment to Royce and Hadrian; however that is not required to understand what is going on. So pick up The Viscount and The Witch and give it a try.