Priest of Bones by Peter McLean

Priest of Bones

Peter McLean

Army priest Tomas Piety finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue. He must fight shadowy foreign infiltrators once again, and it becomes clear that war is just the beginning.

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"The first in an unmissable series, Priest of Bones is a fresh and compelling take on grimdark fantasy. Mashing together soldiers, gangsters, magic and war into a heady mix that is a hulking big brother to The Lies of Locke Lamora."--Anna Stephens, author of Godblind

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 of 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. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, everything gets more complicated.

As 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.

Advance Galley Reviews

I would have liked a little more character background but other than that a really really good start to a series. I will continue to read them all since it had me hooked pretty quickly. Definitely recommend it to those like fantasy a little on the dark side.

When Thomas Piety returns from war he brings eith him a crew of men and returns to find all that he had worked so hard to gain was gone. What follows is a story of his attempts to save himself and his fellow companions from a hard life in a war torn town

Unfortunately, I have been unable to download a readable copy of Priest of Bones. Thus, I am unable to review it at this time.

Unfortunately, due to unresponsiveness on behalf of both my ereader app and First to Read regarding the issues with the file for Priest of Bones I received that will not progress beyond the copyright page, I cannot provide a review for this title, though I had very much wanted to.

I love political intrigue and good world-building, and Priest of Bones definitely has it, but I can't get excited about this. War is hell and McLean does a great job of showing the aftermath, a topic few authors address. How many fantasy books end with, "We won the war and lived happily ever after"? People are broke, dirty, no longer taken care of by the government, just dismissed and told to go home. And home is not what it once was. Of course, when Tomas left, he left a power vacuum and it's not surprising that others moved in on his town. There are class differences, characters with strong moral codes, and a complicated plot that is going to explode in the next book, but the writing style doesn't fully pull me in.

I'm always a bit skeptic going into books that somehow revolve around the church, secret religious societies, etc.... But oh my God! I Loved this book!! The intrigue, the plot twists, the mystery and adventure.... fantastic! I cannot wait for the second book in this series to come out!

4.5 out of 5 stars The Priest of Bones is the first novel of a grim dark fantasy trilogy reminiscent of The Godfather smashed with Peaky Blinders. It is hard to put down and sometimes hard to read, but it’s dark fantasy at it’s best. The Priest of Bones is a story of a soldier returning from war to find his business gone and trying to deal with the emotional and economic ramifications of a prolonged and bloody conflict. It is told in stream of consciousness and very well done. It reminds me of the books which were published after WWI - stream of consciousness, war ravages, disconnect from society, PTSD, etc. Think of Ulysses and The Sound and the Fury. The book has extensive cast - but it somehow makes it work without overwhelming the reader. I will warn the readers- if you do not like violence, rape and murder - stay away from this book. If you however, enjoyed books by Mark Lawrence, Anna Stephens and Ed McDonald then this is a new series for you.

Very dark with minimal fantasy elements. This book reads like it should be a tv series - lots of jumps in time where there would be a visual montage of movement/a week before the next episode. I found it hard to keep track of all of the characters since there were so many and they had minimal detail about them. It's reminiscent of the Locke Lamora series in that the criminals are clever and are heroes because the other people are worse. However, the world was less clearly built and I didn't care as much for the characters.

Priest of Bones was a dark fantasy with lots of action. If you like your swords and sorcery with mostly swords, this might be the book for you. The lead character, Tomas Piety, was not someone I particularly cared for, but the book made it clear that his sort of "mob rule" was marginally better than the alternatives in a corrupt and gang-run feudal town. There were several characters, some of which I liked, though the main ones were all pretty damaged and hard to really connect with. There were a few strong female characters, and I suspect there is more story to them, and in the end it was clear that one of them was really the main player in the book.There was action from beginning to end, and it did set you up nicely for a next book, which is a plus if you like series. Overall, it was worth reading. It was not an enjoyable escape fantasy, but if you don't mind your fantasy gritty and with a high body count, this will keep your attention.

I'm so glad I took a chance on this one because it was a fast paced and exciting read. PRIEST OF BONES follows Tomas Piety and his gang of Pious Men as they work to reclaim what was stolen from him when he was off fighting the Queen's war. He calls himself a "businessman", but he and his gang are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their businesses and the people of his hometown, Ellingberg. I have never seen Peaky Blinders which it has gotten some comparison towards, but I am a big fan of more modern gangster dramas like The Godfather and The Sopranos. I flew through this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Tomas Piety is an excellent main character. We get to see and experience everything through his eyes and while he may be a violent criminal, he only wants the best for his people. Tomas Piety cares about protecting the innocent and values the opinion of women, which is rare in those days. The fight scenes are riveting. Sword fights, explosions, and sneak attacks kept me hooked. Piety is incredibly loyal and hardworking and doesn't just sit back while others fight his fights. Religion is also explored as Tomas Piety is an army priest. There are a ton of secondary characters, but they are all so distinctive it doesn't take too long to tell them apart. Still, since the story is through Piety's eyes we only know what he sees and hears, so many of the characters are still a bit mysterious. I especially liked the character of Bloody Anne, his second. Bloody Anne is one of the few other characters who has a fairly well developed back story and after reading about what she has been through, it made me admire her even more. Character development is so important and McLean does a great job of really drawing the reader in to Piety's head. In that sense, we are able to witness everything as he does. And he certainly witnesses some dark things. PRIEST OF BONES is not light on the violence and the Pious Men are constantly fighting to protect what is theirs. One of my favorite aspects of this book was the inclusion of magic. It was very subtle, but magicians do play a role and I only wish there was more time in this book to delve into that even deeper. Hopefully the rest of the series will explore this further. There is so much to this world that I am curious about. As a whole this was an incredibly well written and engaging read. I highly recommend it!

This book is wonderful. I loved it so much more than I thought I would. It was dark and suspenseful. With so much intrigue, I couldn’t put it down. I definitely look forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out!

Apparently I didn't catch the "grimdark" descriptor in the blurb (I see it now, and after starting to read, COMPLETELY understand what it means in this context). I was highly intrigued by the concept, but the dark was a little too grim for me and I couldn't get past that enough to get into the story... This one was not for me.

I am sorry, but due to problems with my e-reader, I was unable to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity.

Great read; I couldn't put it down, and I'd pre-order the sequel right this moment if I could. If you enjoyed the Locke Lamora series or the Shadow Campaigns series as much as I did, this one will be right up your alley. It's got action, intrigue, and steadily escalating stakes, and it's got a believable cast of rough-around-the-edges cast of characters (I can't say that Tomas Piety is likable, exactly, but it's hard not to sympathize with him and root for him). McLean has written an excellent depiction of the bond among a group of soldiers, their individual and collective struggles with the trauma of their experiences, and their response to finding the world they left behind in an even bigger mess than it had been before. As a word of warning, the book contains potentially traumatic themes relating to child abuse, particularly toward the final quarter of the story, but McLean avoids graphic detail and handles the topic with surprising compassion for a world as dark as the one he's built in Ellinburg.

The one thing I'll say about this book is I want the second book in the series NOW!

I tend to enjoy dark fantasy books, so I'm a little surprised that I didn't like this one more. The characters in this book, particularly the narrator Tomas Piety, return from war to find their home stolen from them and the city of Ellinburg on the verge of disaster. There is a lot to like in this book: the characters are interesting, the setting is well developed, the narration has a strong voice, and it gives a good portrayal of the aftereffects of war. Piety's struggle with his place in the city after the war progresses over the course of the book. Bits of his past, and those around him, come out as the story goes on as well. While I like what McLean did with the character of Piety, I didn't find the character himself especially likeable. It's not just the harshness that seems to have come from his experiences at war. There are moments presented that are meant to soften that to a degree. He seemed to be lacking some of the charisma and compassion that characters in similar book seem to possess. This might just be a personal preference. It is nice to have a change of pace with this character, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I would definitely read the second book to see how the story continues and give Piety a second chance.

I really enjoyed this book. I have never read anything by this author previously but this book may cause me to go back and read his other books. The characters were really well written here, and as you read the book you get to understand that Tomas is really a caring person even though he used to, and may once again run a crime empire. I really didn't want to put this book down and was really disappointed when I came to the end. The only light to that is that with the way the book ended there should be a sequel coming. I highly recommend this book!

Unfortunately, I couldn't get this book to open on my Kindle. The title and copyright pages would open, but the file would close when I tried to progress. I tried restarting my Kindle with no luck. Next time, I guess.


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