Having really liked Priest of Bones last year, when this one popped up on NetGalley, I immediately put a request in for it.
So thanks to the author as well as Berkley via NetGalley for the review copy.
People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.
When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.
Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.
In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies.
Once you learn the levers that move a person, you can make them do anything.
I called Priest of Bones ‘Peaky Blinders but fantasy’ and this one very much runs with that vibe as well, and that is not at all a criticism. Tomas Piety is such an interesting and fun character to read about, and I love that his exploits are in the first person so we get his snarky opinion on everything as the story progresses.
In this volume, Tomas and the Pious Men nearly rule the streets of Ellinburg, but he gets called to Dannburg, the capital of the realm and the home of the Queen and headquarters to her Queen’s Men. Dannsburg is quite a different animal to Ellinsburg, and nothing happens on its streets without the queen knowing about it. Even the local gangs are really working for the queen.
But shenanigans are happening in Ellinburg while he is gone, and soon enough it is time to head back to his home and find out who is causing them to get worse and worse.
This was once again a really well written and well paced book! We do see the story in first person, as I’ve written, and as such we see things exactly as he sees them. He seems like a reliable narrator, but he also doesn’t always have all the information. In this volume, he is not much different than he was in the first, aside from that his territory in Ellinburg is much, much bigger. He still has rivals though, and he meets them with the same cold, business-like demeanor as he always has.
Side characters are really awesome in this one as they were in the first. I especially like Billy the Boy. He has always been a rather mysterious character, with his ‘cunning’ powers. He is extraordinarily powerful, even compared to other high ranking magicians. It’s made me quite curious about his backstory. We also got some info on Ailsa’s past, including meeting her parents (and her dad is awesome). But, I think my favorite ‘side character backstory’ moment was getting the skinny on Cutter. Oh, Cutter. He is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery with a whole bunch of knives.
The ending wrapped everything up while still leaving me wanting book 3 right now! Twists and turns, and the unexpected feels that I’m never really expecting from a book more gory in parts than many Game of Thrones episodes.
All told, I thought this was a great addition to the War for the Rose Throne series, and I am very excited to see what else is in store for Tomas, Billy, Jochan, Bloody Anne and the rest of the Pious Men. 4.5/5 stars!~