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Mystery Monday – The Killing Ways


The Killing Ways by Tony Hays


Review By Cheryl R.  (Spuddie)


First of a series set in Britain not long after the Romans left the decimated island to itself. Told by Malgwyn, a soldier in Arthur’s army who lost most of one arm in a battle and turned to drink to drown his sorrows for many years until Arthur, set to become ruler of Britain, charges him with solving the murder of a young serving woman–who also happens to be Malgwyn’s dead wife’s sister. The girl is found near Merlin’s cottage with her heart cut out and Arthur fears his political enemies, aware of his friendship with Merlin, are seeking to frame Merlin for the crime and blacken Arthur’s name by association before the election to diminish his chances of becoming the country’s leader.

Malgwyn, who has long harbored a grudge against Arthur for not allowing him to die an honorable warrior’s death in battle, also respects him greatly and knows that Arthur possesses something special that would make him the best leader for the now war-torn Britain, and so he pulls himself out of his cups to solve the dastardly crime against his own young sister-in-law.

There is plenty of political intrigue, historical detail and engaging characters, and I very much enjoyed this first entry in this new historical mystery series. It is well-researched and has an easy-to-read style that gives plenty of information without being dry and boring. Also, there were a couple of plot twists I didn’t see coming which added to the mystery later in the book.

Many of the legendary Arthurian characters are introduced, although this is written as historical fiction rather than fantasy, so there isn’t the magic and sorcery present in the fantasy-based Arthurian tales. I like the main character a lot–foibles and all– and look forward to continuing this intriguing and interesting series.

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