Monday, March 1, 2010

The Divine Sacrifice-Tony Hays

The Divine Sacrifice
Tony Hays
Forge, Mar 30 2010, $24.99
ISBN 9780765319463

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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