Friday, August 31, 2012

The Killing Way

The Killing Way
Tony Hays
Forge Books
Tom Doherty Associates
New York, New York
Trade paperback
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1945-6
272 pages

Most of us have heard the legends of King Arthur with the sword in the stone
along with Guinevere and Sir Lancelot. This magical story is now believed to be
based on a real person and time, though probably without much magic. Tony Hays
book, The Killin Way, approaches the legends as a realistic mystery of these early times, complete with crime.

As the ruling king ages, he plans to name his successor with Arthur as the likely choice. Even though Arthur serves basically as a tribal king, his chances are
weakened when a woman's body is found outside his close friend and advisor,
Merlin's house. The woman was killed with Merlin's knife that he loaned to someone. He just can't remember who. Also Merlin is a little unusual and the town
people have already judged and condemned him to death and begin to stone his

Arthur wisely choses an old friend, Malgwyn to investigate this murder and to
discover the truth of whether or not Merlin killed the woman, and if not, who
did and why. Added to that, Malgwyn hates Arthur for saving his life. When a
Saxon cut off his arm and left him to die during a battle, Arthur rescued him forcing him to become a one-handed scribe. Malgwyn has never forgiven him for that.

The Killing Way is a fascinating tale weaving the old legends into a realistic
tale of the times including the constant war with the Saxons, the adjustment
from being ruled by the Romans, the Druids with the own religion and followers, the Picts mixing in the society, and Arthur's stand with Christianity. All of these are combined to make this story a history lesson woven through the murder.

This book is well-researched and organized into a logical and realistic story.
The part about the early Christians with the Druids was fascinating in this
culture with their family traditions.

Texas author, Tony Hays, is both a novelist and journalist. He has previously
written Murder in the Latin Quarter, On the Banks of the River: A History of
Hardin County, Tennessee, and since this first novel in the Arthurian Mystery
series, has additionally written The Stolen Bride, The Divine Sacrifice, and The
Beloved Dead.

The Killing Way is a superb historical mystery novel, truly weaving the past
into the story. Personally, I definitely plan to read his other novels in
this series.

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