Gangster, soldier, priest. Queen’s Man. Governor.
Tomas Piety has everything he ever wanted. In public he’s a wealthy, highly respected businessman, happily married to a beautiful woman and Governor of his home city of Ellinburg. In private, he’s no longer a gang lord but one of the Queen’s Men, invisible and officially non-existent, working in secret to protect his country.
But when the queen’s sudden death sees him summoned back to the capital, he discovers his boss, Dieter Vogel, Provost Marshal of the Queen’s Men, is busy tightening his stranglehold on the country.
Just as he once fought for his Pious Men, he must now bend all his wit and hard-won wisdom to protect his queen – but now he can’t always tell if he’s on the right side.
Tomas has started to ask himself, what is the price of power? And more importantly, is it one he is willing to pay?
Author: Peter McLean
Narrator: David Morley Hale
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Series: War for the Rose Throne #3
Audio Release Date: 27/05/2021
Running Time: 13hrs 18mins
My Rating of ‘Priest of Gallows’: 5 out of 5
It’s been a month since I reviewed anything and gave it more than three stars. I was starting to feel like I was stuck in a mediocre rut … then in walked Priest of Gallows to show me the way back to the right side of the tracks.
Priest of Gallows follows on from the first two books in the series incredibly well. McLean doesn’t simply rest on his laurels with all the stuff he has set up thus far, he expands upon it. Book three gives us a far deeper look into the inner workings of the Queen’s Men, the special service type organisation that Thomas Piety found himself drafted into previously.
As a Queen’s Man, Thomas has carte blanche to go where he pleases and to do as he pleases. With the freedom of the kingdom at his fingertips, Thomas discovers he’s no great fan of the dastardly things he’s expected to do now risen to the ranks of the Queen’s Men proper. And this coming from a hardened gangster, no less.
Characters new and old are built and expanded upon in expert ways, even those that don’t appear in this book for more than a short period feel as though they have grown immensely. Concepts already laid out are built upon; such as the cunning (McLean’s magic system), the political set-up of the kingdom and the history that led to the world being as Thomas Piety currently knows it.
For those of you reading this review and wondering what on earth this series is about, a good way of describing it is as a fantasy gang-based series. Its dark, bloody, gritty and full of such painful situations that it makes you wince at the thought of them. If you’ve seen the show ‘Peaky Blinders’, and enjoyed it, chances are you’ll love this series and all that goes into it. If not, and you just love a bit of dark fantasy, pick book one up and see if it takes your fancy.
As far as book three’s go, I think McLean has nailed this one to the point of perfection. It would have been incredibly easy to write a filler novel just to rake in those ££s, but the author has obviously gone above and beyond with this and it has me seriously excited for book four. So many big things happened throughout the course of this novel that I just know book four will pack some serious wallop to it.
David Morley Hale’s narration was wonderful. His northern accent suits Thomas Piety down to a tee. Zero complaints as far as the performance goes from me. I can really visualise things when Morley Hale talks of them, so top marks for that. The emotion he puts into the conversation parts is something that other narrators could learn from. So many just read the words put in front of them, narrators like Morley Hale bring said words to life.
I’m not certain, but I think book four might be the final book. If so, I’d be curious to see where McLean goes next. Regardless of wherever that may be, he’s certainly an author that’s going to be on my ‘must buy’ list going forward.