Priest of Bones by Peter McLean
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 himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, and is forced to work in secret for the sinister Queen’s Men, everything gets more complicated.
When loyalties stretch to the breaking point and violence only leads to violence, 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. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the backstreet taverns and gambling dens of Tomas’s old life it becomes clear; the war is not over.
It is only just beginning.
I love low fantasy. Give me a gritty story with swords and sewage. I want wars and mud and crime and just a hint of magic. McLean has given us a dark, bitter brew of a fantasy. Tomas Piety and his men are back from war with mental and physical scars aplenty. Of course, for some the war never ends. McLean’s characters are interesting and broken, each uniquely dealing with the horrors of their past and present.
This story deals with the repercussions of war, and what happens when the battle follows you home. Nonetheless, the story has a pitch-black humor that keeps it from becoming a slog. As the start of a planned series, I would certainly call this a win. You end the book wanting more about Tomas and his Pious Men.
An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.