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Priest of Bones

(War for the Rose Throne #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,097 ratings  ·  638 reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Ace Books
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Simon Ellberger It's a four book series as confirmed by the author on Facebook.…moreIt's a four book series as confirmed by the author on Facebook.(less)

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  3,097 ratings  ·  638 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Priest of Bones is a very more-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 itself.

Basically Priest of Bones is a story of organised crime with shades of the Godfather here and there. Our protagonist returns from a horrific war with old friends, family, and new friends formally under his command. I say friends, but Tomas Peity is a leader, sometimes a pr
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin


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 fucking question without interrupting me again or I’ll nail you to your door with your fucking rat, you understand me?"

Old Kurt stared at her for a moment, then laughed his t
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grimdark & gangster fantasy
4.5/5 stars

Peeky fookin bloindah with a powerful one more chapter syndrome.

A 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 with no fighting no fooking fighting meme. Hearing that Priest of Bones is inspired by the TV series was honestly the main reason why I haven’t given this bo
Emily May
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, arc, 2018
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 did.

I'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
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
Gritty, violent and highly addictive.

Priest of Bones kept me glued to the pages until the bitter end.

The story begins when our badass protagonist, Tomas Piety, returns to his hometown after fighting in a long, brutal war.

Bringing with him a hodgepodge group of men, including his right-hand 'man', Bloody Anne, and the mysterious child, Billy the Boy.

Not far behind returns his younger brother, Jochan, with some of his men.

The two groups band together and set out to reclaim the territory, and b
James Tivendale
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freecopy, fantasy
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 t
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The war at Abingon is over, but the scars remain. Thomas Piety and his small band of war brutalised ex-soldiers have no more use to the Crown now the conflict has been won- they have been set adrift, one group among many let loose in a land already devastated by famine and plague. However, these may just be luckier than most, for Thomas Piety, leader of the feared Pious Men, had certain criminal interests before the war, and once again there’s hard cash to be made in Ellinburg for those with the ...more
William Gwynne
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, audible, reviewed
“When people have run out of food and hope and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy”

Priest of Bones is the first instalment to War for the Rose Throne, which has been constantly recommended to me over the last year by my brother, Ed, and Papa Gwynne himself, as well as many others. It seems that they know me well, because I adored this read, burning through it on Audible in just two days. This is a story that takes on the family focus and similar story to that o
Petros Triantafyllou
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely sensational - What Low Fantasy should be.

Tomas 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 Queen, 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
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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 Queen's War in Abingon for years since being conscripted
Priest of Bones is a fantasy novel, a beginning of a new fantasy series, that is a cross between Conan the Barbarian's world, Nicolo Machiavelli, and the Godfather. It involves battle-hardened men (and women- there is no forgetting Bloody Anne) returning home to what is left of the city back home. Tormented by battlefield nightmares and wounds that will never heal, the Pious Men have returned to reclaim their part of the city- the part they taxed and gave protection to- the businesses they ran. ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
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 expectations!

The thing that I really enjoyed was the writing, the McLean has a very solid writing and if the
Nils | nilsreviewsit
‘We fell upon them like the wrath of Our Lady.
A glorious charge, in the light of the rising sun.
It sounds so grand.
It sounds like the stuff of legends, the act of heroes. Well, we were no heroes, and we were outnumbered, and exhausted and hurt, and it was a fucking disaster.’
Priest of Bones by Peter McLean is the first book in The War for the Rose Throne series, and my god, am I kicking myself for not reading this sooner. This was a sensational read from start to finish, which solidifies my lov
Nicholas Eames
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook and I loved it. A great, gritty story with a ton of complex characters. It's written with air-tight assuredness and perfect pacing, so that every chapter flows into the next. The climax, especially, was brilliant, and the narration was unbelievably good. Who knew there were so many varieties of 'swarthy Brit'?

The beginning of something truly great, I can tell.
It’s grim, it’s dark, and it had me from page one! Adult fantasy with a charismatic anti-hero with-a-heart, PRIEST OF BONES by Peter McLean is an action-packed tale of a crime lord taking back his town, one villain at a time.

Meet bad guys with a heart, a keen sense of loyalty and a very unique sense of justice as Tomas Piety and his gang finally head home when the war is over. All is not well in the streets he once “owned” and he is determined to take it back, one inch at a time, but he had not
Ed McDonald
TLDR: An enjoyable read for lovers of small-scale fantasy, with a diverse cast of crooks.

Priest of Bones can be effectively summarised as “gangsters in fantasyville.” The story follows Tomas Piety as he attempts to reclaim his underworld kingdom following a significant war.
I finished this book after just six days, and for a reader who only manages about 15 books per year, that’s saying something on its own. PoB is an easy read. There’s always something going on, and Mclean manages to combine two
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I absolutely loved this book. This was one of those books that I was able to lose myself in for just a little while. This book first fell on my radar when it was listed on First to Read. I signed up for a copy but let it expire before I got around to reading it. As luck would have it, my local library had a copy and I was able to give it a try. Let me tell you, I should have read this book as soon as I had a chance because it was fab
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Hmm, my thoughts are complicated for this one. Priest of Bones by Peter McLean is garnering all kinds of praise and I’m happy it’s getting the attention it deserves, but I’m just not feeling as enthusiastic about it as I ought to be. It’s as if on some level, I know I should like this—everything about the story screams “me” and the premise sounds exactly like the kind of dark fantasy designed to push all my right buttons.
4.5 stars.

Okay, so yes, there are a lot of similarities to Peaky Blinders.

Yes, some of the characters have similar names.

Yes, the plot is incredibly close to that of season 1 of the show.

But you know what? I don't really care, because I still enjoyed the hell out of this novel.

Around the time I picked up the book, it'd been a while since I watched the show, and so I can't remember how much of it was identical. I know this might annoy some people, but it wasn't a problem for me. After all, imit
👏 absolutely fantastic! Can’t wait for the book 2. Will follow up with more notes asap. This is a gorgeous new entry into low-magic grimdark genre!

5 ⭐️ all the way
Nick Borrelli
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Click here for my full review:

Army priest Tomas Piety has come home after three years of fighting in a war that he didn't sign up for. Before being shipped off to the bloody battlefield, Tomas was a very important man in the city of Ellinburg. Some might say he was the only man that really mattered. He is the de facto leader of a powerful crime syndicate that once controlled every aspect of Ellinburg society. Nothing happened in Ellinburg that didn't first
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2010s, reviewed
Tomas Piety, a former businessman and now priest to the Lady, returns home from his time at war. He comes back with his crew, promising them jobs and a place to settle down, only to discover that plague and famine of taken root since they left. Not only that, but all of his businesses have been taken over by outsiders. This will not stand, for you see Mr. Piety used to be a gangster, and he’ll just have to show these newcomers what happens when people try to take what’s his.

Alright, let’s get t
Michael Fletcher
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of Peter McLean's greatest strengths is his ability to write characters. No good-guys versus bad-guys bullshit. What we get here is complex people trying to function under the strain of massive post-war trauma, and their own brutal past. There are some fantastic gut-punch moments, and I absolutely loved the ending. Definitely going to be looking for book two. Highly recommended! ...more
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
4.5 stars.

As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

After three years away, fighting a war in Abingon for Queen and country Tomas Piety returns home to the city of Ellinburg.

Before the war conscripted everyone of an age to fight Tomas with his brother Johan were ‘The Pious Men‘ and led by Tomas they were one of the gangs that ruled Ellinburg. Each gang has a specific area of Ellinburg that they rule with borders dividing th
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A great read, brutal and gritty. RTC.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine The Godfather with swords instead of guns, organized crime with a touch of magic, replace normal nicknames with more descriptive nicknames like......Bloody Anne, Billy the Boy, and Simple Sam. Imagine coming back from a war and your criminal enterprise has been stolen from you, like any good career criminal you'd be pissed off right? Welcome to the Priest of Bones.

The characters and their enterprise are the driving factor of this story, they're all morally grey and there isn't any good v
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-own
What a wonderfully fun book to read! It reminded me in many ways of The Burned Man books, Drake and Thomas have some similarities.
Thomas and Bloody Anne are amazing characters. Thomas is quite the crimeboss, Godfather-style but has his heart in the right place.
In other reviews I read about comparisons to Peaky Blinders and The Godfather and I totally get that! Loved it and will definitly read Priest Of Lies!
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Sometimes, you read a synopsis, and it’s like you just can’t get your hands on that book fast enough, right? That was Priest of Bones for me. I initially heard it marketed as “Peaky Blinders with swords”, and given how badly I’ve been meaning to find the time to watch Peaky Blinders, that felt like a sign that I should snatch this one right up! Antiheroes, gangsters, crime lords, and a general moral greyness on top of it all? It should’ve been a recipe for perfection!

There was a devil i
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Those were the times we lived in.

Tomas Piety - soldier, priest, crime boss - returns home after three long years at war, only to find all of his once-thriving businesses stripped from him by an unknown foe. With his brother and fellow soldiers at his back, he means to take back what is rightfully his, no matter the cost. But there's more to this battle than meets the eye and the future of the whole of Ellinberg rests in Tomas' hands. With powerful and influential allies working from the shadows,
Anna Spark
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? Superb. And that most over-used, often entirely inaccurate, term, 'fresh'. This is epic fantasy as historical fiction. It could be historical fiction - the language and the setting are convincingly Tudor; issues such as magic arise very naturally, part of these characters' world-view; there's an interiority, a convincing sense of real people in a real, messy world, that's rare in fantasy. And the language is superb, also - a strong, clear voice, very real and with a real poetry t ...more
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Peter McLean was born near London in 1972, the son of a bank manager and an English teacher. He went to school in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral where he spent most of his time making up stories.

He has since grown up a bit, if not a lot, and spent 25 years working in corporate IT. He is married to Diane and is still making up stories.

He is the author of the War for the Rose Throne series, beginni

Other books in the series

War for the Rose Throne (4 books)
  • Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)
  • Priest of Gallows (War for the Rose Throne, #3)
  • Priest of Crowns (War for the Rose Throne, #4)

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