Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne #2) by Peter McLean #PriestOfLies

Today I’m really pleased to be taking part in the blog blast organised by Jo Fletcher Books which coincides with the release of Priest of Lies.  The second book in a series that I highly recommend.  See details about the other blogs taking part in the banner below and give them a visit if you have the chance.


Before I start this review I would just give a warning that it might contain spoilers for the first in series, Priest of Bones (my review is here).

I am loving this series.  It’s everything good that I hope for when I pick up a book.  The storyline has clearly been well plotted.  The strong foundations established in the first book are really well utilised and built upon here.  The characters are really coming to life and I find myself absolutely fascinated about what will come next.  On top of that we get to explore more of this world and that, coupled with wonderful pacing, made this a totally gripping read.

Once again the Prince of the People, Tomas Piety, priest, soldier, gangster, liar?, narrates his tale.  Piety has a very compelling way of telling his story.  He’s not a charmer precisely but he has enough self confidence to allow him to be refreshingly frank and this openness makes him a flawed but much more likable, or understandable character.  He certainly manages to get himself in a fix but it all feels really plausible – like his hands are tied and his choices limited.

Tomas has rebuilt his empire, he’s doing well, in fact if the measure of a man was judged by the weight of gold in their coffers then Tomas could be standing ten feet tall.  Of course, there is a but.  His marriage is a sham.  A cover for the intrigue carried out by Tomas’s wife, Ailsa, in the name of the Queen’s Men and in fact Tomas finds it difficult himself to forgive his wife for the carnage wrought by her plotting at the end of the first book. On top of this the scheming continues.  Tomas has achieved his goals, he’s won back his turf, and so the Pious Men can’t help but wonder why they’re trying to expand into other territory when this involves increased risk to the remaining gang members.  Basically, the Queen’s Men – in the form of Tomas’s wife are not yet finished.  War is looming and the only way to keep the fighting and carnage at bay is to stop the infiltration of the enemy at the door and this time around that involves a detour to the capital.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little jaunt.  It added an extra layer.  In Dannsburg Tomas is very much out of his depth.  His reputation doesn’t extend this far and he finds himself, instead of a big fish in a little pond he’s a little fish in a big pond where political sharks are circling and getting ready for the kill.  This was such a great change of tack.  The capital is very different to Ellinburg and the nobles’ disdain and casual indifference towards Tomas, his provincial accent and the small threat he poses to them is like a wake up call.  Tomas finds himself very much in need of Ailsa’s calm head and careful counsel although he does occasionally resort to brute force.  Even so, Tomas has to be careful, just like everyone else in the capital.  Speak out too loudly and you will simply disappear overnight.  The trip certainly gives Tomas a new found respect for his wife.

In terms of the characters the author really takes the opportunity to beef them up.  Of course, some characters have more page time than others – particularly once Tomas leaves Ellinburg for the capital but, even with the change in place I still felt like I had the opportunity to know everyone a little better.  I can’t deny that my favourites are Billy the Boy and Bloody Anne and I confess that the attachment I feel towards them is a little worrying – you just never know these days whether your favourite characters will survive or do something hideously treacherous and turn everything on its head .

The world building.  I get a great sense of place with this series.  I think when I reviewed Priest of Bones I mentioned that the place feels almost Dickensian.  The twisty streets, dark alleys and abject poverty of The Stink sharply contrasting with the wealth and opulence of the nobles, especially in Dannsburg.  Small surprise that some of the action has a French Revolution type feel when the poorest members of society finally snap.  I love the easy way that the place simply springs into the mind’s eye.

Overall I had a really good time with this in fact I think it exceeded my expectations by surpassing the first.  It still has that raw brutality and doesn’t shy away from bad language and violence but it is by no means as dark as some of the grimdark books I’ve read.

Incredibly entertaining, a great narrative voice and an ending that makes me anxious to pick up the next book in series.   This is a tale of an ambitious character, a slightly jaded world weary guy who’s successes only help to push him in a direction that doesn’t seem to make him happy.  The more wealth, power and respect that Tomas achieves the further away it pushes him from those he really cares about.  Be careful what you wish for I suppose.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 5 of 5 stars

Blog Blast - 2nd July

12 Responses to “Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne #2) by Peter McLean #PriestOfLies”

  1. Theresa Everton Pulyer, writer

    It’s not my normal type of series but you have piqued my interest with your review. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s slightly different from the normal epic fantasy with its focus on Gangsters
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    Awesome review, Lynn. I’m really looking forward to starting it soon😁

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Okay, I’ve been seeing reviews for this and I’m convinced now that the second book sounds better than the first. I wasn’t crazy about Priest of Bones but I think I should give the series another try with this one.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really liked the direction this one took – Tomas’s story arc is very interesting and I’m fascinated to see what comes next
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I was intrigued by the reviews for the first book in this series, so learning that the second vulume gets even better makes starting this series a priority 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I thought this was even better than the first. I loved the way the main character’s arc is developing and the third book should be really interesting.
      Lynn 😀

  5. bkfrgr

    Oooo, gangsters. Colour me intrigued! This sounds pretty cool. 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m enjoying it – has a flavour of the Godfather so far so the third will be intriguing.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Best of the Best list : 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Priest of Lies by Peter McLean […]

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