review Priest of Bones 103

Peter McLean ✓ 3 summary

F food and hope and places to hide Tomas sets out to reclaim what was his with help from Anne his brother Jochan and his new gang the Pious Men Priest of MOBI #224 But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political I received an advance reading copy of Priest of Bones in exchange for an honest review I would like to thank Peter McLean and Ace for the opportunity The crime boss soldier and priest Tomas Piety has spent the last three years fighting a war he was conscripted into Although victorious it all seems hollow with the death destruction plague and famine that has ravished the land We join Tomas and his crew of trusted mercenaries as they are venturing home warworn and looking to return to their previous lives Upon reaching Ellingberg the city where Tomas and his gang the Pious Men once controlled the streets he soon realises that his businesses have been stolen whilst he has been away spilling blood and guts for his ueen With his crew of loyal military veterans at his side he decides it s time to reclaim what is rightfully his It is soon unravelled that there is going on in the city than meets the eye this time and the turf war skirmishes of his previous business regime are the least of his worries To uote the back of the advanced reading copy The war is not over It s only just beginningI can safely say that this will be the book dark fantasy and grimdark fans will be raving about at the end of this year It is reminiscent of McDonald s Blackwing for the mercenary crew camaraderie Puzo s The Godfather or Lee s Jade City for the crime family intricacies and Horowitz s House of Silk for a few very uncomfortable moments This narrative is presented in the first person perspective as if Tomas is dictating or writing his memories Within the first chapter I was gripped by the voice the flow and Tomas thoughts and opinions Essentially being inside the mind of a crime boss we are privy to all of his views ambitions agendas and secrets which none of the other characters in the dramatis personae are This cleverly ascertained instant empathy pulled me in and even though you d never call Tomas an unflawed person you will than likely be on his side throughout There is a pretty sizable cast of characters in Priest of Bones and for a relatively short book I intially thought there would be too many The way it s written as if we are following Tomas train of thought and views makes it easy to recognise differentiate between and feel for the wide range of many different individuals within the ensemble Many of the players including our narrator have hidden objectives motives and a secret past existence As the first of a proposed trilogy not all uestions regarding the characters are answered but enough nuggets and reveals are presented that it s truly enticing although often gritty and I m excited to find out going forwards Especially with reference to three of my favourite characters including Tomas second the scarred veteran Bloody Anne his brother the slightly disturbed but warrior berserker Jochan and his mysterious cunning and adopted 12 year old nephew Billy the Boy There is also a character called Cutter who is described as a professional murderer with a mysterious past who I can t wait to find out about in the rest of the series I ll point out that it is a coincidence that he shares a name with an assassin in Malazan Book of the Fallen McLean himself described the first entry in War for the Rose Throne as being influenced by a combination of Peaky Blinders and The Godfather but set in Tudor era Edinburgh crossed with Industrial Revolution London I can readily see all these influences however I also analysed it as having a sort of medieval Irish twang and in addition it features lots of fantasy greatness such as deadly magicians named personal weapons and secret assassin groups The world building is exuisite and it mostly takes place within Ellingberg as the Pious Men are trying to rebuild their business empire and find out about who their opposition is Who is this Bloodhands who is just described as a very very scary man I m sure a map of the city will be featured in the final edition but McLean painted perfect imagery with his lexical choices so that it felt that I was walking down the streets of the Stink or the Wheels and even feeling as if I was with the gang drinking in the local tavern before an inevitable ruckus occurred My only negative of this story is very minor I felt that occasionally there was slight in my opinion needless repetition of statements that had been said in chapters before yet that didn t take anything away from my enjoyment An extra point for me to mention is that this book is a complete standalone and all wraps up nicely That being said there are enough loose threads and intrigue that it sets up the next entry expertly and I will definitely be continuing this series There is a segment in the last chapter that hints at what may follow in book 2 and it s an exciting prospect I m pretty certain Priest of Bones will be one of the finest grimdark books of the year Dark fantasy alumni such as Mark Lawrence Ed McDonald and Anna Stephens have already posted glowing reviews regarding Priest of Bones and I believe it will be fans of the above mentioned who will find a lot to enjoy here Although McLean s released the Urban Fantasy series The Burned Man previously in Priest of Bones he has presented a brilliant debut grimdark outing that is fascinating gripping and has everything that I look for in a crime focused novel

characters Priest of Bones

Priest of Bones

The war is over and army priest Tomas Piety heads home with Sergeant Bloody Anne at his side But things have changed while he was away his crime empire has been stolen and the people of Ellinburg his people have run out o Priest of Bones has been on my radar ever since I attended a book talk at SDCC 2018 It sounded so good a heavy dose of grimdark with all the usual nastiness and morally grey characters But I could not connect with a single character or event in this book no matter what I didI m sure the right sort of reader will eat this up and add it to their favourites list It does seem to be garnering a lot of positive attention But honestly Tomas Piety war priest and crime lord just bored me He was not a narrator I cared for or could become invested in The only character of interest to me was Bloody Anne but she alone was not enough to hold up the narrativeThe dark themes didn t bother me on that further down but I do think I took a particular and early dislike to the dick swinging beer guzzling woman raping BROS in this book Dark books should make me shudder make me think make me gasp they shouldn t make me frown and mutter morons under my breathTrue to the genre this is a dark read I expected and welcomed the darkness though I think some additions were gratuitous such as the pedophilia If you have any triggers or deep dislikes they are probably in this book This is not an exhaustive list but warnings for sexual assault pedophilia alcohol and substance abuse all kinds of abuse graphic violence and torture and child prostitutionTomas Piety is a crime lord who returns to the place of his birth after fighting in a devastating war Under his command are a group of loyal soldiers who fought beside him and will now help him reclaim the streets he once ruled over It s a fairly generic tale of gangs fighting over the streets and torturing a few people along the way There s some magic thrown in too though it seems like this will be developed in the seuelsI think my problem was that there were several elements that make up this book and I found none of them compelling The story of gang warfare for one was uninteresting and unoriginal to me Tomas felt like any old crime boss with a little humanity towards women and children amid his ruthlessness I couldn t tell you anything about him that makes him different The world building though suitably dark and dreary was vague I like a bit detail painted into my fantasy worldsPerhaps Priest of Bones would have also benefited from a third person perspective We are stuck inside Tomas s mind for the whole book and everyone else feels like little than a name colourful as those names may be Bloody Anne Black Billy Kant the Cunt Will the Wencher Billy the Boy and Not the gripping read I was hoping for but there s some strong writing here Curious grimdark fans should give it a shotBlog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube

characters ✓ eBook or Kindle ePUB ✓ Peter McLean

Intrigue once again everything gets complicatedAs the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the back street taverns brothels and gambling dens of Tomas's old life it becomes clear The war is only just beginning Absolutely sensational What Low Fantasy should beTomas Piety returns from war to see everything he has worked so hard for in his life taken from him While he was fighting for his country and his ueen foreigners invaded his city and took all of his businesses and therefore his throne as one of the city s most powerful crime lords But while he once used to lead gangsters he now leads soldiers forged and hardened in the fires of Abington Soldiers that he won t hesitate to use in order to bring the Pious Men back in power and harsh justice to those who dare stand in his way I looked down for a moment and gave thanks to Our Lady of Eternal Sorrows for my victory She hadn t guided my hand I knew that much Our Lady doesn t help Not ever She doesn t answer prayers or grant boons or give a man anything at all however hard he might pray for it The best you can hope for from her is that she doesn t take your life today Maybe tomorrow aye but not today That s as good as it gets and the rest is up to you She was a goddess for soldiers and no mistakeBefore I tell you what I think of this book I ll first delve into its nature I ve seen Priest of Bones described as Grimdark and although several of its aspects are usually seen in that sub genre I find its main thematic elements closer to Low Fantasy a morally ambiguous gritty and realistic world a complex and flawed social order with consecutive power struggles a limited use of magic and a lack of heroism or interest in itPriest of Bones is beautifully written and well thought out While you meet a big portion of the rather numerous characters from the very first chapter you re still able to set them apart from their distinctive personalities and traits The purpose of such a large cast is clear in the same chapter when a seemingly important character is promptly killed and disposed in a surprising and shocking manner While the story is told by a single POV in a character driven way the rest of the cast gets enough spotlight throughout the story making the reader care for their fate which is rather unsettling at places due to the aforementioned purpose of their large number The plot is kept tight from beginning to end and while a couple of sub plots naturally emerge to introduce fresh purposes and motives they don t steal much of the spotlight The rather small portion of the world introduced in the story is beautifully portrayed and well fleshed out but most importantly aptly suited to the story The magic although scarcely used is still there playing a role rather than serving a purpose which is what sets apart Priest of Bones from a number of other fantasy debuts of the past few years The prose is smooth and easy to follow and that combined with a flowing story an even pace and a rising tempo result in one of those books that you could easily read in one go All in all Priest of Bones is Low Fantasy at its finest and I wouldn t hesitate to call it Debut of the Year


10 thoughts on “Priest of Bones

  1. says:

    Priest of Bones is a very ish book very readable The prose is solid the single first person character who delivers the story has a strong voice It’s a very satisfying book to read the plot never gets away from itselfBasically Priest of Bones is a story of organised crime with shades of the Godfather here and there Our protagoni

  2. says:

    MY BLOG MY Woot This one went right into my favorites list Happy Freaking Day I loved almost every character in the book My favorite being Bloody Anne I don’t want a fucking love spell Bloody Anne snarled at him I’ve paid you silver for wisdom so you’ll have the good grace to shut up and listen to the fuck

  3. says:

    Priest of Bones has been on my radar ever since I attended a book talk at SDCC 2018 It sounded so good a heavy dose of grimdark with all the usual nastiness and morally grey characters But I could not connect with a single character or event in this book no matter what I didI'm sure the right sort of reader will eat this up and add it to thei

  4. says:

    455 starsPeeky fookin bloindah with a powerful one chapter syndromeA confession first I’m not a fan of the TV show Peaky Blinders Despite the well acted performance of the casts I gave up watching the TV series in the midst of season 2 because I was insanely bored with the snail pacing Yes yes heresy right Feel free to mock me wi

  5. says:

    Gritty violent and highly addictive Priest of Bones kept me glued to the pages until the very endThe story begins when ou

  6. says:

    I received an advance reading copy of Priest of Bones in exchange for an honest review I would like to thank Peter McLean and Ace for the opportunity The crime boss soldier and priest Tomas Piety has spent the last three years fighting a war he was conscripted into Although victorious it all seems hollow with the

  7. says:

    The war at Abingon is over but the scars remain Thomas Piety and his small band of war brutalised ex soldiers have no use to the Crown now the

  8. says:

    Absolutely sensational What Low Fantasy should beTomas Piety returns from war to see everything he has worked so hard for

  9. says:

    This was a pretty good grimdark fantasy tale It was basically a gangster story set in a fantasy world so was not your typical epic fantasy tale in terms of scope but that worked well enough as the story was interesting and the fantasy world McLean created might have been an intimate one but for all that it was well crafted and intriguing The premise was good Tomas Piety like most other males of his generation has been fighting in the uee

  10. says:

    This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 “One thing I have noticed in life is that the men who speak the most of honor are usually those who have the least of it” I have seen a lot of rave reviews for this book and it being a dark fantasy book meant that I needed to read it at some point After finishing the book I felt a bit disappointed and maybe that is because I had high expectationsThe thing that I really enjoyed wa

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