cover image The Warrior King

The Warrior King

Wendy Murray, Ecco Qua (, $19.95 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-0-615-40608-4

An award-winning journalist and author of several Christian books, Murray (A Mended and Broken Heart) draws on her work in Central and South America in her debut novel, which mixes mystery, romance, and archaeology. Lucy Shaw is a journalist reporting from Copán, Honduras, a site of extensive ruins from the Maya civilization, where archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the remains of the founding king of the dynasty at Copán. Lucy has been to Copán before, and a romantic relationship she had with archaeologist James Fee is also in ruins. Her return is further complicated by murder: a dead body is found in the Maya king's tomb, positioned as though it were a Mayan sacrifice. Ultimate resolution involves taking responsibility and some difficult truth-telling. The archaeology framework for the story is factual, thorough, and fascinating, and the novel's strongest, most distinctive element. Murray also writes well, developing memorable characters, despite the imaginative demerit the journalist author earns for creating a journalist character. Plotting is more problematic; the novel limps to a conclusion when the archaeologist becomes the narrator toward the end. Murray's fiction debut is thought-provoking. (Jan.)