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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Book review: Priest of Crowns by Peter McLean

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

PRIEST OF BONES -FBC REVIEW

PRIEST OF LIES - FBC REVIEW

PRIEST OF GALLOWS- FBC REVIEW

AUTHOR INFO: 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, beginning with Priest of Bones, the Burned Man series, and numerous short stories for Warhammer.

Publisher: Quercus Books (July 19, 2022) Page count: 425 Cover: 

REVIEW: War for the Rose Throne is one of my favorite series of recent years. Considering how much I enjoyed the first three books, my expectations for Priest of Crowns were certainly high. Fortunately, it more than met them.

The series started as a brutal gangster family drama but evolved into a complex political thriller as the plot unfolded. After the events depicted in Prince of Gallows, Thomas returns to Ellinburg to sort things out and perhaps find proof of something he suspects.

Fans of the series know Thomas. He's a complete bastard, BUT McLean makes you root for him and his companions. He is also the archetypal gangster, the abused child, and the traumatized war veteran who has risen in society through violence. Archetypal gangsters usually die or go into politics. Thomas chose politics. 

He fits in well with other politicians. In McLean's world, government and organized crime aren't so different. Perhaps ambitious politicians who seek ever more power are even more despicable. For them, people aren't even pawns, but mere cannon fodder and means to an end.

Thomas likes to understand people and the levers that move them. In Priest of Gallows, he admits that his levers are respect, power, and authority. Sure, he's gained some power, but not all. And there's a chance to get more. All it takes is a bloody rebellion. No spoilers but if you know Thomas Piety, you know what to expect. 

The thing is, the price for more power may be too high in this case. I loved Thomas' distinct voice and his way of describing events.  His voice remains rough and brutally honest. Thomas knows he's not quite right in the head and makes no secret of it. He knows who he cares about, though, and the moments he spends with his friends and adopted son add some lightness to the otherwise dark story. Well, at least until it becomes an even darker story.

Priest of Crowns provides a fitting (if brutal) ending to the series. It offers an excellent conclusion to Thomas Piety's story but leaves plenty of room to explore the world of the Rose Throne. If you love classic gangster movies, dark fantasy, amoral politics, and sympathetic anti-heroes you sometimes despise, you can't miss it. It ranks right up there with the best the genre has to offer.


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