The True Bastards

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Fetching was once the only female rider in the Lot Lands. Now she is the leader of her own hoof, a band of loyal half orcs sworn to her command. But in the year since she took power, the True Bastards have struggled to survive. Tested to the breaking point by the burdens of leadership, Fetching battles desperately to stave off famine, desertion, and the scorn of the other half-orc chieftains, even as orcs and humans alike threaten the Lots' very existence. Then an old enemy finds a way to strike at her from beyond the grave--and suddenly only one, faint hope for salvation remains.

Title: The True Bastards

Series: The Lot Lands #2

Author: Jonathan French

Paperback, 476 pages

Expected publication: October 8th 2019

Publishing House: Crown

Edition Language: English

ISBN: 978-0-525-57247-3

My Review

I just finished and YES!!! What a journey this was through the Lot Lands 😱
Character-driven and fueled with an engrossing plot, this novel was a meaty piece of Bastard pie! Loved. It.


The True Bastards does not disappoint and delivers an equally foul-mouthed, filthy plot in gritty prose filled with adventure and dare I say, surpasses even The Grey Bastards with its meaty, ambitious plot that renders addictively epic.

Fetch and her hoof find themselves left in the debris field and smolder of their former fortress now the ruins of the Kiln. With the hogs hauling stones to Winsome among the coals, the rebuild of their fortress is slow going and dangerous. Their fortification will need all the resources available to keep them safe. With most of the skilled tradesman gone after the fall of the Claymaster, wood has become one of the most precious commodities that Fetch luckily secured a lot of as the new Chief. But safety and provisions aren't the only things she has to worry about for her hoof. Her health is declining in a sudden and rapid, deadly way.

Keeping her illness a secret, Fetch embarks on a journey to seek a cure. What begins as a stroll through Un-wundulas, turns out to begin a sequence of events that will test Fetch's abilities and judgments as chief, discover truths about herself and her brothers and will challenge her rank.

With a semi-peaceful intro into the novel, it really starts to pick up once Jackal and Oats play their part and it turns into a goring thrill adventure. Uncovering a backhanded scheme to kill off all the half-orcs by frails, Fetch must try to unite the mongrel factions and outwit a masterminded plan that tests the loyalties of her brothers.

In her struggles, Fetch must sort out the truths of friends and foes. With elemental forces taking everything from the hoof, she is coerced to put not only herself but the entirety of the hoof in danger of existence. Facts about her ancestry will be the shocking ingredient as to why she has become the most important prong played that will trap her either in a losing or winning position if she can figure out how to use her knowledge wisely.

The creatures imagined and intrigue plotted in this novel have created hair singing and heart-racing moments edging the abyss like toiling taunts with the devil in an unputdownable, throat constricting fashion. Never striving of the path and true to French's filthy lingo used in The Grey Bastards, the entirety of the novel reads strongly gritty and is interspersed with clever, funny one-liners I loved.

"I am Fetching, leader of the half-orc hoof known as the True Bastards. I need to know who you cocksuckers are and what you are doing in the fucking lots."

A perfect balance to all the action of the plot has been given to detailing more character development and background/history/origination of places that lend an understanding to the deeper expansion of the heritage explored that will undoubtedly be important and the essential set-up to the next novel in the sequence.

Among the characters we already know from the first installment, this novel introduces a whole cast of new ones that radiate new colors into the mesh of the story, definitely interestingly imagined and a venue for new directions to explore.

The hogs are still awesome and continue to play an important role here. The motto: 'LIVE IN THE SADDLE. DIE ON THE HOG.' receives further meaning when the brothers come together and honor one of their own. A very touching moment among some others that allowed reverence here. It made the comradery merge palpable to the reader diluting the lines of pages in a book read with being lost immersively in the story among comrades.

Overall the story flowed really well and is loaded with adventure after adventure. The characters are afforded more humanity through flaws and doubts while the plot continues mesmerizingly mysterious. Packed with intrigue, twists, turns, imaginative creatures, menacing mayhem, and squalid filth, it's the perfect grungy fantasy with an added bonus of a strong female protagonist you don't want to mess with!


This was one of my most anticipated novels of the year! When I read The Grey Bastards novel last year, it had absolutely taken me by surprise. It was my first novel to read of the kind, so foulmouthed, kinky, brutal and fantastic. I was hooked and simply smitten. It took entirely too long of a wait to read The True Bastards this year.

I read/enjoy and review different genres on my blog which did not garner me exclusive access to an ARC of this highly anticipated novel automatically. Therefore, I am very grateful to have received one after all, THANK YOU!!!!!


I rate novels individually and love different books for different reasons. If I was smitten with The Grey Bastards last year, I am now fully fletched invested and convinced of French's ability to create a thoroughly immersive, epic fantasy with substance. The True Bastards is packed with so many turns of events and details developed, it garner's a reread and I am already eager to do so. The Lot Lands #1 and #2 hold their own due to the uniquely daring gritty voice and style that unapologetically do not let up. This, in turn, makes them compellingly addictive!

I'd highly recommend this meaty Bastard pie of a delightful, squalid fantasy!


I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you kindly. I also want to thank the publisher Crown Publishing for sending me the book.