Priest of Crowns by Peter McLean
Well, I have got to the end of the War For The Rose Throne by Peter McLean as today I talk about Priest of Crowns. I have enjoyed this series so much, and if you haven't read it, I thoroughly recommend it. I had hear so much about this series and when I actually read it I can definitely see why this book gets so much praise. Every book in this series has been a five star read, from begining to end.
'Praise be to Our Lady of Eternal Sorrows, and blessed be the Ascended Martyr.' Those were the words on lips of the faithful: Blessed be the Ascended Martyr, and woe betide you if you thought otherwise. The word Unbeliever had become a death sentence on the streets in those days.
Gangster, soldier, priest. Governor, knight, and above all, Queen's Man.
Once, Tomas Piety looked after his men, body and soul, as best he could. Then those who ran his country decided his dark talents would better serve in the corridors of power.
Crushed by the power of the Queen's Men and with the Skanian menace rising once more on the streets of Ellinburg, Tomas Piety is forced to turn to old friends, old debts and untrustworthy alliances.
Meanwhile in the capital city of Dannsburg, Dieter Vogel is beginning to wonder if the horror he has unleashed in the Martyr's Disciples might be getting out of control.
With revolution brewing and tragedy and terrorism running rife in the cities, Piety and Vogel must each weigh the cost of a crown.
This is the end (dum dum dum), my only friend …. The end!
Yep here we are at the end of the road guys. The War for the Rose Throne has reached its epic conclusion with Priest of Crowns, and I am here to tell you that the final installment of Tomas Piety's journey has ended in fulffy bunnies, unicorns and the unexpected twist that Tomas is now a bonie fide businessman and that he has a soft marshmallow centre and he has opened a rescue centre for alley cats and stray puppies!
Why ever not?
Well, whilst we do know that Tomas does have a more amenable side to him, I think we have come to the conclusion that Tomas is in this world entirely for his own ends, and I don't think fluffy bunnies is on the menu for the end of this story! No way!
I have to say, I didn't know how Peter McLean was going to top the end of Priest of Gallows in all honesty, but he certainly did with Priest of Crowns.
The book starts with the fallout from Priest of Gallows and the events following this. We see the social explosion the events have caused and we see Tomas navigate his way through this to use the uphevel for his own ends. Say one thing about Tomas Piety, say that he knows how to use a situation for his own ends, and with religious fanaticism running rife on the streets he manoeuvres himself to use his clergyman title for his own ends.
In amongst this, he is trying to uncover the true depths of Vogel's plans and lies and when the situation in Ellinsberg with the Northern Sons demands his attention, he finally cracks that walnut and we get to see just how much of a political and social engineer Vogel is and how long these plans have been constructed. We get to learn that Vogel is a true artist in his endeavours but the way Tomas sees it, he's a lying bastard and a tyrant and it is up to Tomas to bring the tyrant down.
Peter McLean does a stellar job of moving priest of Crowns to its explosive conclusion. It is full of simmering tension and when the kettle finally blows its lid, the ending is truly spectacular, and let me tell you the streets do run with a river of blood.
However, there are casualties and I did not expect them to be who they were. Yes, we always knew that there was going to be a body count, but these are not the main casualties of Tomas's fight against tyranny. It is the relationships that he has built all the way through the story. And as Tomas drives towards his goal, these relationships become the true casualties of his ambition.
As usual, Peter McLean's writing is brilliant, putting in pointers to give an indication of how the story will end but totally without giving the game away. Am I one of those people that stand there and say that the ending didn't surprise me and I knew it was coming all the way through? Nope! I am not, but looking back on it, there are some markers to follow. However, I was totally surprised by how Tomas's story ends.
In my opinion, The War for the Rose Throne is a classic of the genre. Yes it doesn't have loads of wizards flying about on Dragons, or little people taking rings to some fiery crack of doom but what it does show is the genre can be pushed and that it can show the human side of the genre whilst incorporating fantastical elements.