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Book Review: Priest of Gallows

Table of Contents

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 him 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?”

Title: Priest of Gallows

Series: War for the Rose Throne #3

Author: Peter McLean

Page Count: 400

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Date Read: December 10th, 2022

I started this series earlier this year. I decided to dive into Priest of Gallows here in December as all of these so far have been on the shorter side and very easy and entertaining reads. Compared to some of my more recent reads allowing me to see this in a different light, I’ve noticed these are a bit darker than a lot of those reads. It lines up with with another series I have going on though (The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence). Though our protagonist in the War for the Rose Throne is considerably more likable than Jorg in the other mentioned series. This just allows me to keep the stories separate in my mind as I’ve been enjoying both!

There political intrigue continues to fascinate me with the third book in this series. There is still plenty of action such as fighting but I feel this one did drift a bit more into the shadows more where our secret society is starting to show us more of the workings behind things we’ve seen in the previous two books. And that is saying something if you’ve read the first two. The Priest of Gallows were the first of the three books so far to give me a couple of moments where I literally said out loud to nobody specific, WHAT!? We definitely had some really good reveals of pieces falling into place and perhaps not even slightly expected on my part!

On the other hand I also found myself muttering numerous times toward poor Tomas… “Fool!” even when he wasn’t doing it himself! Honestly, I feel Peter McLean has gotten stronger as I’ve progressed through each of these books in the series so far! I’m anxious to get onto the fourth book but I have several other obligations over the next few weeks, but we shall see!

The world building is on par with the first two books. In fact we haven’t really opened up too much more of the world we have already experienced at this point. At least on a geographical level. Now the various layers of politics and such is a different story. I’m not sure if I should include that side in the character development or not. I suppose it could be a mix of both. Because we definitely learn a lot more history of things that happened even before book one in this one. I’m so intrigued to see what further connections we uncover in the fourth book!

The character development is still steadily improving as we learn more and more what makes so many of these characters tick. And that goes well beyond just Tomas but so many of those around him. We learn so much more about those who are part of the Queen’s Men and their actions but also the relationships with Tomas and so many of the characters already introduced in previous books and a few new ones. The princess is certainly going to be someone to keep an eye on going forward. She just may be the wildcard the world needs or the destruction of it. I could literally see it going either way. Another great scene or moment was the reconnection with Tomas and his aunt possibly healing a very old wound for both of them. And at this point, we have to wonder, is Vogel the smartest man alive!?

The pacing of book three was on par with the previous to. No really change or surprise here. They’ve all been well written to be easy to read, not very long and very entertaining in my eyes.

I’d certainly recommend this book along with the rest of the series so far for any fans of epic fantasy to like things a bit more on the darker side. It’s definitely not a series to go into if you’re looking for positive vibes and a fuzzy feeling. But if you like the darker side of fantasy, heavy on political intrigue and secret societies, this might be right up your alley!

World Building 5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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