I like stories about crime families. I’ve stopped trying to figure out why. So, you can take it as read that I’d be interested in a Grimdark tale about a soldier returning home from war to reclaim his underworld empire.
In an early-Renaissance-esque world, Tomas Piety and his band of soldiers head towards home at the end of a brutal war. Battle-worn yet still conditioned to follow the chain of command (so long as that commander can enforce his will) Piety’s crew is mostly intact – if also still itching for action – as they make the trek towards. home.
The question isn’t what will become of soldiers now that the fighting stopped and the pay has ended. The real question is, what won’t Tomas Piety, his volatile brother Jochan, and the soldiers ready to join his underworld crew, the Pious Men, do when he gets home and discovers that someone’s pushed his aunt out and moved in on his territory. And that’s when things get really interesting and…messy.
Think post-war medieval upheaval meets gangland take over with a dash of the mystical thrown in to keep things from feeling well, ordinary and you’ve got Peter McLean’s first, in a new series, Priest of Bones. This only story has a touch of the supernatural (I’d have loved to see more and hope series builds on these elements), but fully delivers on cynicism, pragmatism, and good old fashion mayhem. The writing is well thought out and engaging, the characters unique and intrigue, and the plot one that’s definitely begging to be expanded. You’ll swiftly be all-in to learn about this twisted underworld and its inhabitants.
If you like your heroes rough around the edges, prone to violence, and more than a little morally conflicted (but with absolution at the ready) living a life ever-complicated with conspiracies, old debts, and family feuds this grimdark fantasy is one you won’t want to miss.
*I received a review copy of this book. But that doesn’t mean my opinion can be bought. This review is based on the story and only the story.