First things first, go and order it.
No, you haven’t read the review yet, but go and order it now to save you the trouble after you read the review, because, odds are, you will want to order it. At the end of The Lord of the Rings, the hobbits come home and cleanse the shire of the taint that’s taken over there.
Imagine if Frodo was a vicious bastard, a mobster, a murderer, a business man, soldier and priest. Now imagine that he left the shire in good standing, went away to war, and came home to find out that all his whore houses, gambling dens, and drinking bars have been taken over by those goddamned Sackville-Bagginses.
Thomas Piety isn’t a good man, but he doesn’t have to be, because the city where Thomas lives is built on the bones of good men. Thomas is a business man first and foremost, and when he comes home to find his neighborhood gone to rot, his Aunt in the nunnery, and all his businesses taken, he proceeds to wage a war for the homefront that’s every bit as vicious as the one he’s just escaped.
Priest of Bones is built on the voice of Thomas Piety, and from the very get-go you know the kind of man he is. Profane and violent, measured and careful, lawless criminal and man of his word, king of the underworld, and queen’s-pocket man all in one, all in turns.
The book barrels along as Thomas goes from simple gruntery to the work of actually rebuilding, and that’s where the supporting characters shine. Some of them are only there to get killed, but some of them shine in ways that make you want to see how they’ll react to each situation as much as Thomas himself. In particular, if you don’t like Bloody Anne and Billy…you’ve probably got a decent survival instinct. Thomas is a businessman, but he’s caught up in business that’s not his own, and therein come another set of supporting characters able to hold their own and keep Thomas from settling for just a slice of his town back.
If violence and planning, honor among thieves and treachery among lawmen, blood and profanity and spies and explosions are your thing, Priest of Bones is the book for you.
Get it. Read it. Wait impatiently for the sequel, because I have it on good authority there will be a sequel. Unlike Thomas I don’t have a pair of swords or a gang of Pious Men or a What-The-Hell-is-Billy, but I wouldn’t be adverse to a little skullduggery to get me a copy of it.
I suspect Thomas would approve.