The Bones Fields by C F Barrington

August 3, 2023

Please note, The Bone Fields is the fourth book in The Pantheon series. With that in mind, it is highly likely the book-related waffling that follows will contain some minor spoilers. Dont say I didn’t warn you!


From the beginning, The Pantheon has been a secret society of bloodshed and order. Modern-day gladiators abandon their lives, fall into rank and battle to the death – cheered on and funded by online watchers.


Tyler Maitland was recruited to fight in the Games, but his real ambition is finding his missing sister-even if it means bringing down The Pantheon for good.


The start of the Twentieth Season delivers never-before-matched teams to the fields of eastern Europe, where a hidden force will blow the truth of the Games wide open, once and for all…


It seems like only yesterday we were first introduced to Tyler Maitland. Directionless and downbeat, his life was a matter of just existing on a day-to-day basis. Then he discovered the world of The Pantheon, a secret game backed by the world’s great and good. A world-spanning league of the most ferocious warriors pitted against one another for sport, each team designed to be a historically accurate representation of their forebears. Odin’s Vikings* rub shoulders with the armies of Greek Titans. Attila’s Huns battle The Sultanate while the Mongol Kheshig faces off against China’s Warring States. Above them all the seemingly untouchable legions of Rome. Each of these palatinates (territories) is ruled by a supreme leader, a self-styled modern god.

Suddenly Tyler was part of something far bigger than himself. Something where he had a purpose and perhaps even something worth fighting for. Over the course of his journey, Tyler’s rise has been quite meteoric. He’s come from the lowest of the low to achieve the greatest heights of the Pantheon. Tyler has evolved into a leader, a warrior in his own right. I found myself cheering him on every step of the way. Was I a little jealous? Perhaps. Would I die almost immediately after picking up a sword? Absolutely. I’d probably stab myself.

The Bone Fields pick up straight after the events in book three, The Hastening Storm. Forces continue to conspire against Tyler and there is a definite sense events are hurtling towards a bloody conclusion. The Horde has been vanquished so the big question becomes who will the victorious Titans face next? 

I think the thing that fascinates me most about the concept of the Pantheon is the way it plays into our most primal self. Get a crowd together and eventually, they’ll start baying for blood. The Pantheon will always appeal to the masses. It’s the ultimate escapism from modern life. It all boils down to kill or be killed, and that idea of glory through violent conflict. The members of the various teams aren’t immune to this most basic instinct either. There are moments on the battlefield where characters achieve an almost zen-like state of existence, living only for the next second. It’s hardly surprising that Tyler has become more and more invested in it all. 

If I had any criticism about this book it would be a minor one. This grand finale feels just a little rushed to me. I suppose thinking about it, I might just be being greedy. I can’t help it, I wanted more. It saddens me that we’ve hit the end of the proverbial road. I could quite happily read another four books about the Pantheon armies and the mythology that surrounds them. I have so many questions and it feels like there is still much left to learn. Right from the beginning of book one I have been struck by the consideration and depth of world-building in these novels. They really do help to create a perfect backdrop to events.  Perhaps one day my questions will be answered, that would be all kinds of awesome.

When all things are said and done, I’ve had a blast with The Pantheon series**. C’mon, what’s not to love?  One moment we’ve found ourselves knee-deep in blood-soaked battlefields howling like crazed berserkers and the next we’re eavesdropping on global conspiracies driven by unscrupulous billionaires and oligarchs. I loved every second. The four books have been hugely entertaining. I love stories that suggest secret societies that exist on the cusp of our own. For me, great action thrillers live or die by their hook. There has to be something that will draw a reader in. The premise of the Pantheon series is exactly the sort of adrenalin-fuelled fiction I live for. I couldn’t help but find myself in its thrall. 

The Bone Fields is published by Head of Zeus and is available now. Highly recommended but ensure that you read the first three novels in the series before you dive straight in. The journey is well worth it. 

My recommendation to accompany this novel is the soundtrack to the 2017 game For Honor by Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi. It has just the right vibe that perfectly captures the tone of the novel. With track names like Jarl, The Great Raid Begins and I Am War it really could not be a better fit. Trust me, listen to the album while reading the book and you’ll discover a whole new layer of enjoyment.  

*I’ve tried not the play favourite when it comes to the various Pantheon forces but I can’t deny it any longer. I am now, and will always be, for the Horde!

**To be brutally honest, for almost the entirety of July, my book-reviewing mojo has been all but gone. I was seriously considering knocking it on the head. Shutting up shop of The Eloquent Page and moving on to pastures new. This book brought me back. I want to talk to everyone who will listen about it. Thanks C F Barrington, you’ve reinvigorated this tired old soul’s love of reading. 

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