Priest of Bones by Peter McLean

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Tomas, a priest and leader of his bedraggled army are returning home after a long war. They find an Inn full of beer and dregs of food but it all goes sour and Kant is killed by Tomas. All appear immune to death and leave him dead on the floor.  Jochan, who happens to be Tomas’s younger brother, then, gate-crashes with his army. The two crews march off to Ellinburgh, a place where Tomas and Jochan used to live and where they left a thriving business, but would there be anything left to go back to?

Ellinburgh, is a stinky mire of filth and plague when the men arrive in the town. No children running down the narrow streets and many doors have white painted signs of the plague.

Tomas finds The Tankers Arms, his tavern in a dishevelled state and deserted, he quickly takes back what is his and begins to claw back control in his part of Ellinburgh, but all is not as it seems. Higher forces  want to manipulate Tomas, does he follow or go with his better judgement?

Narrated by Tomas, the leader of an army returning from a bloody war, but whom also is a Priest taking confession. He is a hard unpleasant man but is a fair leader and tries hard to protect his properties and the allegiance of the people who work for him.

I had trouble getting into this book initially; from the start it is very violent, crude and explicit. As the novel progressed and the reader is given more about what drives the protagonist Thomas, I did found myself becoming immersed in the lives and story that unfolded.

I thought the characters, Tomas, Bloody Mary,  Jochen and Young Billy excellently described in particular, and the intricate detail of each personality is inventive and shows the good, bad and the ugly side of battle worn men & women.

The writing is exceptional and McLean’s description of both the stinking towns and the relationships between the characters really is brought to life in graphic detail.

The narrative was original and kept my interest, it was a very imaginative tale and not at all predictable. Perfect for anyone who enjoys a dark intense thrilling novel.

Priest of Bone is published by Jo Fletcher and is available here.

Peter McLean

Peter McLean was born near London and grew up in the Norwich alternative scene, alternating dingy nightclubs with studying martial arts and practical magic before settling to a career in corporate IT. His first novels, the Burned Man series, are noir urban fantasy.

Reviewed by Amanda Brightman


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