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Priest of Bones

(War for the Rose Throne #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  562 ratings  ·  195 reviews
It's a dangerous thing, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety finally heads home with Lieutenant Bloody Anne at his side. When he arrives in the Stink, Tomas finds that his empire of crime has been stolen from him while at war. With his gang of Pious Men, Tomas will do whatever it takes to reclaim his businesses. But when he finds h
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Ace Books
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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
James Lafayette  Tivendale
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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
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
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
Priest of Bones by Peter McLean is the start to a new adult grimdark fantasy series. Gritty, violent and highly addictive this book kept me glued to the pages until the very end. The story begins with our badass MC, Tomas Piety, returning to his hometown after fighting in a long, brutal war. He brings with him a hodgepodge group of men, including his righthand 'man' Bloody Anne, and the mysterious child, Billy the Boy. Not far behind comes his younger brother, Jochan, with some of his men, retur ...more
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
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
4.5 stars.




👏 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
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
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.
Nick T. 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
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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 in me,
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!
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Priest Of Bones is Peter McLean’s fantasy debut and one that will certainly mark his name in the annals of grimdark fantasy. Priest Of Bones is a book that focuses on Tomas Piety and his soldiers who wish to return to their home town of Ellingburg from a war that even though their nation has won, it was a pyrrhic victory through and through. The story begins with Tomas and his men who find themselves homesick and home bound as Tomas' yo
Feb 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: adult, owned
It’s Peaky Binders With Swords: Revealing the Cover of Peter McLean’s Priest of Bones

You don't say ...
(I just binged all of Peaky Blinders last month so this post couldn't be more timely.)

But now I must wait until October for this book ...
Bob Milne
Sep 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy-grimdark, dnf
Wow. Apparently, it's been over a year since I last did a catch-up post, and almost eight months since my last DNF review. I'm not sure if that's more a reflection of what's been landing on my shelf, or simply me being more selective on what I choose to read, but it's encouraging.

First up is Priest of Bones, the low, grimdark fantasy from Peter McLean that everybody seems to be raving about, and which is being favorably compared to the likes of The Lies of Locke Lamora. You know what? For the ri
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
Damn that was one hell of a story! It is, without a doubt, my most favorite book of 2018.

McLean wrote you got to have "the right man, for the right job, always" well McLean was the right man to write The Pious Men's story! He fucking nailed it!

*I received this ARC from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Adah Udechukwu
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Priest of Bones was spectacular. There was no dull moment.
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
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Sixty-five thousand battle-shocked, trained killers came home to no jobs, no food, and the plague. What the fuck did Her Majesty think was going to happen?

Can you guess? If you have any doubts, McLean will give you a violent and profane answer on pages of Priest of Bones. After being away at war for many years, Tomas Piety, a nefarious crime lord turned priest, comes back to his native city, Ellinburg. Someone has taken over his illegal businesses. His people have lost their wealth, and the city
Richard Nell
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall 8.2/10
A stylish, rather unique book that felt like the literary version of an action/mobster flick. The protagonist is likable, we're brought into the story deftly, you don't need to do a lot of thinking, and it's not hard to get involved and stay involved. Easy recommend for pretty much any fantasy fan looking for something on the 'light' side of darker fantasy.

A sort of lowish magic, industrial-revolution era setting. There's explosives and in theory guns and cann
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
"Ellinburg is corrupt to the core," she said. "From Governor Hauer on down, the city all but stands on the shoulders of its underworld."
Priest of Bones is the first installment of the new grimdark fantasy series War for the Rose Throne. If you are like me and love morally grey characters and anti-heroes, then you will love Priest of Bones!

Tomas Piety is an army priest who prior to being conscripted to fight in the war was the boss of the Pious Men, a gang that ruled the streets of Ellinburg
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, october-2018
3.75 stars

This is what happens, I thought, when you cross me.

Tomas Piety once ran a gang, known as the Pious Men, out of the streets of Ellinburg, an industrial town, along with his younger, more volatile brother, Jochan. Conscripted into the army, both brothers went off to fight in the Queen's war. Now, three years later, they've returned to their old neighborhood to find that their business interests have been usurped. It's not a simple case of rival gangs fighting for their patch though as To
Cameron Johnston
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing

What a tremendous book! Fast paced, great and flawed characters, dark and dangerous and very more-ish. I also greatly appreciate a book 1 of a series that works as a standalone novel with a self-contained satisfying ending.

I like big and sprawling adventuresome fantasy as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's refreshing to read something on a smaller scale, taking place on the mean streets of a single city. It's more personal. It's like Lies of Locke Lamora, Low Town, and The Godfather all ro
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Being a soldier in a war is going to leave a mark on anyone. Tomas Piety has returned home a changed man. He has had his fill of blood and violence. The only problem is the city where he lives is corrupt to the core. Ellinburgh, Old Reekie to the locals, is run by gangs and before he left for the war, Tomas was one of the biggest bosses. His gang, the Pious Men, controlled an area called The Stink with ruthless efficiency. Now, Tomas and his men are back, and much as he might wish to walk away f ...more
Anna Stephens
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review is here, on my blog!~

Wow this book was really engaging and hard to put down!

This is the story (mostly) of Tomas Piety, who is the leader of the Pious Men, a sort of crime syndicate or gang. He, his brother and their men were conscripted into a war three years earlier and now that the war is over, and won, they’ve come back to their city to find that all their businesses are gone, the brothel is burned down, the prized racehorse killed, and the aunt that they left in charge a nun.

So T
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Goodreads Librari...: Duplicate entry of same edition 3 18 Feb 07, 2018 06:48AM  
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.

By the time he left school this was probably the thing he was best at, alongside the Taoist kung fu he had been studying since the age of 13. He grew up in the Norwich alternative scene, alternating dingy

Other books in the series

War for the Rose Throne (2 books)
  • Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne #2)
“When sappers fear a man, that man is to be feared indeed.” 1 likes
“I nodded, understanding. I didn’t know this Stone Father, but a god who had nothing better to worry about than who you might choose to fuck didn’t sound like he was worth much, to my mind.” 1 likes
More quotes…