Priest of Lies by Peter McLean

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

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.


The best books are those which feel alive. Those with a vivid voice, an engrossing story, and characters who feel so real that they jump off the page. Books that go beyond being just words on a page, and become an experience.

For me, Peter McLean’s Priest of Bones was one such book. If The Lies of Locke Lamora embodied the spirit of classic heist movies in a fantasy novel, then Priest of Bones did the same for the spirit of “gangster media” such as Peaky Blinders.

But for any sequel of a fantastic book, the question is always gonna be: “Does it live up to the first book?”. For Priest of Lies, the answer is yes. Emphatically, yes.

Tomas Piety picks up where he left off at the end of Priest of Bones. The city is pretty much aflame with the war on the streets, and the much more secret war going on behind closed doors. We see a little bit more of the latter this time around, but Piety still manages to get his hands dirty enough for us to roll around in the muck of the former.

There is a tonne of violence here, including the kind that is fun to read about and the kind which is… not so fun to read about. There are a few mentions of sexual assault and child assault, but these are thankfully painted as despicable acts by the characters and the narrative. Despite being a horrible man in some respects, Tomas Piety has a conscience and a strong sense of right and wrong.

It’s contrasts like this which fascinate me as a reader, and Piety is no exception. He has surprising depths for a character who can seem a little simplistic on the surface, and this complexity helps make these books a more rewarding read.

If you’re a fan of low fantasy, gangster-like stories, and haven’t read Priest of Bones yet… go and do that now. If you have read it and you’re waiting for the sequel, I can tell you that it’s well worth the wait.


Thank you to Jo Fletcher Books for providing a copy of this title via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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