The Divine Sacrifice

Tony Hays, Author . Forge $24.99 (303p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1946-3

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.)

Reviewed on: 02/15/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7653-3102-1
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-3478-7
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