The Divine Sacrifice [NOOK Book]

Overview


The Divine Sacrifice continues the story of King Arthur's conselor, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, a solider who lost his arm in battle but was saved by his king. Malgwyn hated Arthur for this gift, but he has come to grudgingly acknowledge that he yet may have some purpose in life. 

Arthur and Malgwyn are called to the abbey of Glastonbury to settle a matter of great political importance—tin is being mined for export to the Empire.  While there, Malgwyn and Arthur ...

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The Divine Sacrifice

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Overview


The Divine Sacrifice continues the story of King Arthur's conselor, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, a solider who lost his arm in battle but was saved by his king. Malgwyn hated Arthur for this gift, but he has come to grudgingly acknowledge that he yet may have some purpose in life. 

Arthur and Malgwyn are called to the abbey of Glastonbury to settle a matter of great political importance—tin is being mined for export to the Empire.  While there, Malgwyn and Arthur meet St. Patrick, a legend in the Church who is there on a mission of his own, to root out the heresy of Pelagius.

When an aged monk is found cruelly murdered in his cell, Malgwyn is set with a problem that will test his skills as an investigator.  His search for the truth may uncover a conspiracy that could endanger the kingdom.

Gritty and powerful with a true ring of historical perspective, and a character who sees more than those around him, The Divine Sacrifice is a historical mystery that will hook mystery readers and historical fans alike.        


At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hays's brilliant second mystery set in fifth-century Britain delivers on the promise of its predecessor, The Killing Way (2009). Much of the novel's strength derives from its complex lead, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, a soldier who lost a limb in combat and is now a trusted counselor to Arthur, “the High King of all Britannia.” When a monk, Brother Elafius, dies in mysterious circumstances, the abbot calls for Malgwyn, who has previously displayed a talent for detection, to investigate. Malgwyn can't immediately identify the cause of death, but eventually finds evidence that Elafius's neck was broken. A theological struggle centered on the Pelagian heresy (i.e., that man can achieve eternal life through good works alone) as well as threats to Arthur's rule cloud the inquiry. Hays does a superb job of making the legendary king a convincing historical figure. Already, this series rivals the work of such proven masters of the subgenre as Steven Saylor and Laura Joh Rowland. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Asked to investigate the death of an elderly monk, counselor Malgwyn ap Cuneglas and King Arthur journey to Glastonbury abbey where they find not only a murderer but the famous St. Patrick, who has come looking for heresy. Malgwyn is a memorable sleuth: a warrior (even though he lost a hand in battle), a thinker, and a tactician. VERDICT Hays's follow-up to The Killing Ways serves up fifth-century church politics, warring philosophies regarding the celibacy issue, and a portrait of Arthur as an intelligent man caught between the growing dogma of the Church and his desire to bring all his subjects under the rule of the crown. Medieval mystery fans and readers who enjoy Peter Tremayne, Cora Harrison, and Bernard Cornwell will love this.
Kirkus Reviews
Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, in the service of High King Arthur, uncovers murder and heresy in a second investigation in Dark Ages Britain. After a long-winded recap of his previous adventure (The Killing Way, 2009), Malgwyn sets off to accompany Arthur on a visit to the monastery at Ynys-witrin, where the king will negotiate with the abbot Coroticus and make certain of the loyalty of his vassal Lauhiir. On the road, they meet Brother Ider, who urges them to make all speed to the abbey. Elafius, a learned old monk, has been found dead in his ransacked cell, poisoned and wrung by the neck. Is the motive for the crime buried deep in Church teachings? Elafius had been a staunch opponent of women in the Church, arguing with the beautiful abbess Rhiannon. And there are whispers of more insidious heresies in the monastery, heresies so threatening that the saintly missionary Patrick has come from Hibernia to root them out. Or is the motive more venal? Lauhiir has become suspiciously rich from mining tin, and Elafius knew much of metallurgy. Confronted by a mystery so deeply entwined in the Church, Malgwyn joins forces with Patrick to investigate. But even their combined wits cannot stave off more killing, as Malgwyn scours the West to discover a dark conspiracy. The complicated plot and bravura ending are sure to appeal to fans of medieval intrigues and stirring battles.
From the Publisher
“Medieval mystery fans and readers who enjoy Peter Tremayne, Cora Harrison, and Bernard Cornwell will love this.”—Library Journal, starred review

“Another edgy performance in the second installment of this superb Arthurian-inspired mystery series...This heady concoction of suspense and legend will appeal to a broad cross-section of historical-fiction and whodunit fans.”—Booklist

“Sure to appeal to fans of medieval intrigues and stirring battles.”—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429934787
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Series: Arthurian Mysteries , #2
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,297,464
  • File size: 630 KB

Meet the Author

Tony Hays

As a journalist, Tony Hays has covered topics as varied as narcotics trafficking (earning his newspaper the Tennessee Press Association award for Public Service in 2000), political corruption, Civil War history, and the war on terror. His short fiction has appeared both in the United States and Japan, and he is the author of three novels. He resides in Texas.  Visit him on the web at: www.tonyhays.com and www.chroniclesofmalgwyn.com.
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Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE Malgwyn!” The voice came from the other side of that nether­world whence come our dreams. I ignored its call and rolled over, pulling my fur blanket tighter against me.
“Malgwyn!”
I resisted it still.
“Malgwyn ap Cuneglas!”
I pried one of my eyes open and squinted at Merlin, old and wrinkled, standing there with one of my .nest tunics, dyed crimson, in hand. Owain, a little orphan boy who helped us with our tasks, stood next to him, holding my braccae and my caligae. A smile grew across my face though I wished only to frown. They looked like father and son.
“He is awake!” Owain cried. “Shall I get the water jug again, Master Merlin?” he asked with a smile that betrayed how much he would enjoy dousing me.
“Certainly you should, boy. He used to be a farmer, and farmers are renowned for rising early. I have a theory that ris­ing early allows us to breathe the freshest air of the day. It is time that he went back to his old habits.”
Sensing the inevitable, I threw the fur back with my good arm and swung my feet around. “Which old habits are those, Master Merlin? Draining wineskins or killing Saxons?” In truth, I had done more than my share of both. After Saxons had killed my wife, Gwyneth, I turned from farmer to soldier, and at Arthur’s side, I reveled in the Saxon blood I spilled. Until I lost an arm at Tribuit. “What will you teach this scamp while I am away, Merlin?”
The old man, whose face resembled a dried grape, wrin­kled it further in concentration. “He must learn more about herbs and how to use them to heal, Malgwyn. His education is wholly lacking. Now, come! Don your tunic and breeches. Arthur will be waiting.”
I wiped my stump of an arm across my eyes, hoping to clear away the cobwebs of sleep. “Arthur can wait. ’Tis only a two-hour ride to the abbey, and we are not expected before mid­day.”
“Aye, but I think the Rigotamos has a stop to make on the way,” Merlin said with a wink.
Pulling myself to my feet, I took the braccae and struggled to put them on. “Not on a formal trip,” I answered, with enough of an edge to let Merlin know that he was plowing in salted earth.
But Merlin had spoken the truth, I acknowledged to myself as I donned my linen camisia. Once, many moons ago, I was a farmer. But the war against the Saxons stole my young wife from me and made me a soldier in the command of Arthur ap Uther, now the Rigotamos, the High King of all Britannia; he was then but the Dux Bellorum, the leader of battles, for the consilium of lords that held our fragmented island together. My zeal for killing Saxons raised me in Arthur’s esteem, and I quickly became one of his lesser lieutenants. But a Saxon sword cleaved my arm along the River Tribuit and took my bloodlust away.
Arthur stanched the .ow of my life’s blood and saved me, when I wanted nothing more than to die. He took me to Ynys­witrin, where the monachi bound my wounds, healed me, and taught me to write with my left hand, gave me something of a trade since farming and warring were lost to me. Death still seemed preferable to all, and I bore Arthur a grudge for my salvation, a grudge that blighted my days and sent my nights reeling into a waterfall of drink.
Ambrosius Aurelianus was then the Rigotamos, having taken of.ce in the wake of Vortigern’s disgrace. It was Vor­tigern who had been betrayed by the Saxons. He had .rst hired them to counter the threat of the Picts, but the treacherous Saxons turned on Vortigern and swept beyond those lands granted them. The war thus created made the threat of the Picts seem but a minor annoyance, swatted away like a .y. The Saxons hungered for our land, and their appetite was voracious. In the confusion that followed Vortigern’s fall, Ambrosius, a native Briton, but one with deep Roman roots, rose to leader­ship. He brought with him a group of young, valiant warriors, including Arthur ap Uther.
“Oh, did Lord Arthur not tell you?” Merlin continued to chide me. “He has reduced the size of his party. Only you and Be­devere will accompany him.”
Owain tied the rope around my waist that held the braccae up. He jerked it tight, too tight, and I yelped. “You should not eat so much, Malgwyn.”
I whacked the back of his head for his insolence and turned back to Merlin. “Only two in his escort for a formal visit? What is Arthur thinking?”
Merlin laid my tunic on a rickety wooden bench. “I think that Arthur is reluctant to pay too much attention to Lauhiir. Should he be accompanied by all his nobles, then it could con­fer upon the little oaf an importance he does not deserve.”
Now, that was reasoning that I could understand.
As Owain strapped my iron- studded leather belt around me, I smiled at the memory of the young, oh so earnest, lord.
Arthur, son of both Rome and Britannia, was a soldier above all else, and he fought the Saxons with courage and guile. I fought alongside him, until that day at the Tribuit when a Saxon blade left me bleeding. By the time my wounds healed, Arthur had stanched the .ow of Saxons into our lands and po­sitioned himself to become the next Rigotamos.
After a time, I returned to the old village near Castellum Arturius, taking an abandoned hut as my own. Little Owain, a boy of the castle, neglected by his own people, became my as­sistant of sorts, helping me with little chores. And thus I re­mained, copying manuscripts for the monachi, drinking and whoring, until the night that Arthur came to me and laid the death of Eleonore in my lap, on the eve of Ambrosius’s retire­ment and the election of a new Rigotamos.
I grabbed my leather pouch and checked the contents, my .int and tinder for starting .res, an extra dagger, and a small piece of dark, heavy cloth. I had found it in young Eleonore’s hand, when she lay ripped apart in the lane.
Eleonore had been the sister of my wife, Gwyneth. After the death of their parents, while I lay drunk at Castellum Arturius, she turned to my brother for aid, becoming both a beautiful and willful young woman and a serving girl at Arthur’s table. Her body was found in the lane in front of Merlin’s house, ripped like a slaughtered deer. Arthur came to me to solve the crime. The affair was sordid and nasty, peopled with Druids, true and false, Saxons, and grasping lords, and more deaths fol­lowed the .rst. Among the deaths were those of young Owain’s parents, leaving him an orphan in a world bereft of charity. But by luck and a stubborn per sis tence, I weaved my way through the maze, helping to place Arthur on his throne and keep Merlin safe from the machinations of Mordred, and keeping my own head .rmly atop my shoulders. After that, all was dif­ferent.
I became Arthur’s counselor, and I moved into Merlin’s house near the main hall in the castle. I had left my daughter, Mariam, survivor of the vicious attack that stole Gwyneth from us both, with my brother, Cuneglas, when I went to war with the Saxons. On my return, I was too lost in shame and drink to retrieve her. She had grown up thinking that Cuneglas and his wife, Ygerne, were her parents. Only during the affair surrounding Eleonore’s death did she learn the truth, but even now she lived with Ygerne.
Though I was now responsible for my late brother Cune­glas’s family— he died of a head wound some days after the elec­tion of Arthur as Rigotamos— it was not appropriate for me to live with them, though I had a yearning that knew no end for Ygerne, my brother’s widow. And, oh, how I wished I could break down the fearful barrier in my own mind that kept me from joining Mariam and Ygerne. Guilt is a powerful foe.
Marriage between widows and their husband’s brothers was not uncommon in our land, but the guilt I felt for leaving my daughter with them, ignoring them, overwhelmed all other urges. Ygerne, kind and charitable soul that she was, took Owain too into her home, though he spent as much time with me and Merlin as with anyone. And we needed each other, the three of us. Merlin, whose mind sometimes wandered, needed companionship. Owain needed people who cared about him. I needed people who needed me.
I .ngered the scrap of cloth with my good hand, in wonder at the role it had played in making all of that happen. It had led me to Eleonore’s killers and a better life; I kept it now for good luck.
“Well, do not expect to arrive at the abbey by the midday,” Merlin said in a mischievous tone, “formal trip or not.” The old dev il delighted in aggravating me. One of the things that bound Arthur and me was my leinship with his mistress, my cousin Guinevere, who lived in a house just off the Via Ar­turius, the road to Ynys- witrin. The story was an old one and known by but a few. When very young, she had been with the sisters near Ynys- witrin. Headstrong and beautiful, she had joined the sisters to avoid a marriage she did not want. But while there, she met the young Arthur and fell in love with him and he with her. And their love led them to break the bound­aries between the sisters and men, and they were caught in an embrace.
Guinevere was driven from the sisters’ community in dis­grace. But Arthur’s rising importance brought the consilium to his defense, and he was spared any sanction. Merlin spread the word that she was actually a powerful enchantress and had be­witched Arthur. The story kept people from bothering her, for they feared her magic, and Arthur arranged for the simple house. As the years passed and his prestige grew, he brought her from the shadows into the light of his court as his ac­knowledged consort. But a king’s wife had to be as perfect (in Arthur’s eyes) as the king himself, and Arthur knew that her shame in being exiled from the women’s community would al­ways be with her. Though things were better, Merlin’s rumors of the enchantress followed her still. I had been pressing Arthur to leave the past behind and marry her, but he refused yet, and it remained a sore point between us.
In a more somber tone, Merlin added, “Be careful, Malgwyn. I worry that there is more to Lauhiir’s appointment than there would seem.”
With Saxons knocking at our eastern door and encroaching on our southern lands, Ambrosius had bowed to the pressure from the consilium and named young Lord Lauhiir, the choice of Mark and his faction, as protector of the Tor and Ynys­witrin. Many such lords peopled our land, ruling by brutality and greed. But Lauhiir’s father, Eliman, had been a lieutenant to Mark in years gone by. In truth, I liked Lauhiir not, and argued with Arthur about his appointment. To my eye, he was slimy and spoiled, a man who wore fancy clothes to mark his station whereas Arthur wore his station like clothes. But Lauhiir’s father had many friends on the consilium, and Arthur could not reverse Ambrosius’s decision. “Besides,” he told me one day, “by having him close to hand at the Tor, I can better keep an eye on him.”
I straightened my tunic beneath the belt as best I could with but one hand. “You think there is some evil in it?” I asked Merlin.
“Evil is a vague thing. Do I think it bodes no good for Arthur? Yes. I think with Mordred away on our western border, Lauhiir poses the greatest threat to Arthur’s seat. Mordred’s head should be gracing a post in the east.” Young Mordred was one of Arthur’s least favorite cousins. He was sly where Arthur was cunning. Though I had been unable to prove his guilt in the plot against Ambrosius, he had been exiled to our western coast where he could do less harm.
“You are a wise man, Merlin. You know that that could never happen. David, Lauhiir, and Mark would spark an in­stant rebellion. I did the best I could, but that wasn’t good enough to tie the noose about Mordred’s head.”
At the thought of David, a lord from the northwest, I stopped and frowned. He had challenged Arthur at the elec­tion, but lost, a loss he took not well. Aye, he had sought my punishment for striking the boy lord Celyn in some sort of petulant reprisal for his rejection by the consilium. Mark was sec­ond only to Arthur in strength as a lord. He ruled his lands from Castle Dore in the far southwest. Tristan, his son, was serving a kind of enforced servitude at Arthur’s castle for his hand in Eleonore’s death. He had come to Arthur’s castle for the elec­tion of the new Rigotamos, representing his father. And, we quickly learned, to counsel a treaty with the Saxons, a treaty he indicated that Mark was intent on pursuing with or without the consilium’s approval.
But once there, like many young men, he had fallen afoul of Eleonore’s charms and become possessed by the spirit of her beauty. But she rejected his bid and in the violence that en­sued lost her life. Although Tristan did not kill her, his actions left her vulnerable to those who did take her life. I had let him believe, however, that he bore the greater guilt.
“But Ynys- witrin is great power to place in the hands of a newly made lord,” I continued. “I think that Lauhiir is not equal to it.” I did not tell him that I suspected Lauhiir as com­plicit in the plot against Ambrosius, and that had been at the heart of the matter of Eleonore’s death.
“I knew a great lord once,” Merlin began, crossing the room and settling slowly onto a stool. “It was long before Arthur was born. One day during the hot season, in the marshes near the water, he was bitten by a small .y. Within days, that small .y had laid the great lord low.”
“I take your meaning.” And I did, though I still believed that he gave Lauhiir more credit than he deserved. I .nished dressing, wishing that it were Kay going with us. In so many ways, he was more aggravating than any of Arthur’s nobles, but, despite his temper, I had come to trust him completely. Unfortunately, Kay was off on an of.cial inspection tour of our eastern border forts. Unof.cially, he was checking to see what mischief Mordred, Arthur’s cousin, had in.icted upon the people when posted to the east. Although Arthur had set Gawain and Gereint to keep an eye on Mordred in the west, he desired that Kay should bring him a report from the east. It was while posted there some moons before that Mordred had let the Sax­ons into our lands, or so I believed.
Bedevere had been by Arthur’s side as long as Kay or longer. A handsome, strong fellow, he was quiet, unlike Kay. While I had warred as long with one as the other, I could not say that I knew Bedevere well. His father and grandfather had been no­bles under Vortigern, and Bedevere had come to Arthur’s ser v­ice while the Rigotamos was still young.
With a face that seemed cut from stone, he carried the look of a man with a hard heart. But the one secret I knew of Bede­vere put the lie to that. Once on a scout for Arthur, Bedevere and I took our soldiers into a small village, not too distant from Londinium. The Saxons had been there before us, and we searched among the burning huts and the slain for any that breathed yet. Circling a small shed, I came suddenly upon Be­devere, sitting on the ground, his sword lying by his side. In his arms he cradled a small girl, her hair as blond as my Mariam’s, but her life’s blood soaking the ground.
The noble with a face of granite was crying. I returned from whence I came, and he never knew I had seen him. As long as Arthur could count on such men’s loyalty, he might have a chance in this maze of a world, a chance to do some good among all the greed, jealousy, and evil.
These were the things which held my mind as I .nished dressing. Owain rummaged around in our storage pit, looking for bread and cheese. Merlin had already forgotten my jour­ney and was busy working on some odd- looking project at his workbench.
“Father?”
She always did that to me! Like some little water fairy, my daughter Mariam could pop in and out of the house without making a noise. Blond, like her mother, she had a face as fair and pretty as the morning sun, with eyes as mischievous as Gwyn ap Nudd, the fairy king.
“Yes, Mariam.”
She edged closer to me and sat on the bench. Touching was still awkward for us.
“Mother says you are to come and eat your morning meal with us before you leave.” As always, when delivering a mes­sage, she was the soul of severity. “Father, why are you and the Rigotamos going to Ynys- witrin?”
I straightened my tunic before answering. “So that he and Coroticus may argue about the church.”
“But why do they argue? Do they not both believe in the Christ?” She was so like my dear Gwenyth, her true mother. Questions, always questions.
Pausing and taking a deep breath, I searched for an answer. How do you explain such a question to a child? She knew noth­ing of Pelagius and his heresy, of how seriously priests argued over unanswerable questions. Of how a priest could consider the shape of a building a blasphemy and a king could think it an homage and both could truly believe they were right. So, I made a joke.
“They argue over whether to sacri.ce a little girl or a little boy to bless the building. I have voted for a little girl, and I know just the one.”
Mariam giggled, which was good to see. “No, you don’t, Father. You would not have saved me from those awful Saxons if you thought I would make a good sacri.ce. And those who follow the Christ do not believe in human sacri.ce.”
“True,” I agreed. “Now, run to your mother’s and tell her I will be there in a minute.”
She left with the smile still on her face.
“You should spend more time with her, Malgwyn. It would do you good and Ygerne would, I think, welcome it.”
A heat rose up in my neck. “Do not worry about what Ygerne would welcome! She is my brother’s widow, and he is but a few months in the grave! Besides, as part of Arthur’s house hold, she will want for nothing.”
Merlin cocked his head at me. “I meant that Ygerne would welcome that you spend more time with Mariam.”
I grunted and prepared to stomp out of the house as I could think of nothing clever to say. But then the door burst open and a man, wearing a rough brown robe, his face red from exertion, half tumbled and half ran into the house.
“Malgwyn!”
“Ider?” He was one of the brothers at Ynys- witrin, younger than most others.
He was panting heavily, and even the shaved strip from ear to ear, his tonsure, was red. He paused long enough to catch his breath, but when the words came out, they chilled me. “You must come quickly! Brother Ela.us is dead, and the abbot wants you immediately!”
Excerpted from The Divine Sacrifice by Tony Hays.
Copyright © 2010 by Tony Hays.
Published in April 2010 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Goodreads First Reads Winner Goodreads rating of “Liked

    Goodreads First Reads Winner

    Goodreads rating of “Liked it”: 3 Stars. Would give 3.5 if possible.

    The Divine Sacrafice wasn’t a horrible read, it was enjoyable, simply not as much as I had hoped for this sequel.

    After reading the first novel in the Arthurian Mysteries series, I could not wait to start the second novel in the series. I thought the adventures could only get better from here, sadly that wasn’t exactly the case. Regardless, The Divine Sacrifice can still be enjoyable on different levels as an Arthurian story, a historical fiction novel and a murder mystery, merely I suggest not setting your hopes too high up for it.

    The book had a very slow start and instead of the storyline taking place in the Castellum Artorius, which is the name of the location of Arthur’s castle, the storyline was centered around Yins-witrin, the Christian community that is now known as Glastonbury.
    All of the same characters were present in this second novel from the debut, as well as a few new ones; however, they all took a back seat this time to Malgwyn ap Cuneglass, Arthurs most trusted lieutenant. I would have liked to have seen more of Merlin, Arthur, and Guinevere in this novel.
    It took me a while to relate to and truly understand the characters within this novel but, once their layers began to peel back, they developed into multi-dimensional figures. The character of Patrick was an interesting one, and Malgwyn’s development continued somewhat, but Kay — a major feature of the first book, for me — wasn’t really present, and Bedevere didn’t move forward to take that place as much as I could wish. I was particularly fond of the way Patrick developed through the story and his relationship with the hero, Malgwyn.

    The plot also had weaknesses, which I found even more frustrating. As in the last book, a suspect thought he had killed someone—and Malgwyn left him thinking he had done so—when in fact someone else came along later and killed her. This felt a little contrived the first time; the repetition struck me as lazy plotting. The ultimate resolution of the original murder was also unsatisfying, and didn’t make sense. The answers to the mysteries weren’t particularly a surprise for me, but nor was I particularly involved in them. A good historical mystery gets both the history and the mystery right.

    Overall, The Divine Sacrifice had its many ups and downs and then it takes you up to that very steep incline then you plunge to your “death.”
    That is exactly how I would describe Tony’s second novel.
    Unlike, the first novel in this series The Killing Way, I didn’t think the twists and turns were nearly as good as the first novel. All-in-all, this was just okay in my opinion. It wasn’t an utter failure for a second novel in a series but there was a lot of room for improvement.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    Outstanding addtion to the Chronicles of Malgwyn, Arthurian Mystery! You will love it.

    Well begun in The Killing Way, the story of Malgwyn reaches new heights in The Divine Sacrifice and leaves the reader anticipating the next installment of the saga. Hays further develops the characters in this volume allowing them to demonstrate more of their potentials in personal encounters, statecraft, military action and mystery solution. The unfolding drama of the unification of Britain is seamlessly interwoven with power struggles within the Church and the personal growth of the principal protagonists.

    For those of us who like history *smile,* personalizing it by using vivid characters as the story tellers is refreshing and empowers the reader to feel more connected with and gain a deeper understanding of these times.

    While this volume stands alone as a very satisfactory read, it leaves the reader with a longing to know more about Malgwyn and his adventures.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This superb thriller places a fabulous whodunit inside of a profound historical tale

    Although he lost a hand in combat, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas has become a key adviser to the High King of Britannia Arthur ap Uther. As the monarch tries to unite Britannia under his rule, he trusts loyal Malgwyn with his life and for his sage advice; as does Merlin for Arthur.

    Malgwyn accompanies King Arthur to Glastonbury Abbey where Brother Elafius recently died mysteriously. Knowing Malgwyn successfully solved crimes before (see The Killing Way), the Abbott asks him to investigate the cause of death. Malgwyn makes little progress until he realizes the monk was murdered, but no motive appears and everyone inside the abbey had opportunity.

    At the same time, his advisor detects, King Arthur and St. Patrick meet. The latter is conducting church business to weed out followers of the Pelagian Heresy. Arthur tries to stay out of the debate over original sin as he knows the two sides are passionate and prepared for civil war.

    This superb thriller places a fabulous whodunit inside of a profound historical tale that brings to life fifth century Britannia at a time when the divided church challenges everyone including the High King to choose a side; neutrality is disallowed. With a strong sense of time and place, fans of the Sister Fidelma mysteries will enjoy Tony Hays' brisk addition to the Arthurian myths.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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