Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs-the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.
Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world-a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis
Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear-the doom written for him, and the entire world.
The author drops us boots first into a slightly skewed West where the more you see the more you realize that something just isn't right. A Book of Tongues is not a fantastic tale of wizards in the old west. Oh no, this book is a tale of blood and horror.
Every single character is unlikeable. That's not to say the characterizations are bad, because no - they are brilliant. All of them are very believable hexslingers, whores, soldiers, outlaws, lawmen, preachers, gods, the people on the street; to a one they ring true. They're all just horrible.
Brilliant and compelling, but leaving me at a loss for words. I'm still not sure how I feel about this story, but I do know I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the trilogy A Rope of Thorns.
A few quick bullet points, warnings for some. Intense sexual relationship between male characters, blood soaked and violent, with multiple gods - could be considered blasphemous. Basically do not pick this book if you do not wish to be challenged.