cover image The King’s Hounds

The King’s Hounds

Martin Jensen, trans. from the Danish by Tara Chace. Amazon Crossing, $14.95 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-1-477-80726-2

Fans of historicals looking for something different will find much to savor in Jensen’s first book to be translated into English, a mystery set in 11th-century England. Winston, a former novice monk who’s become an illuminator of manuscripts, receives his most high-profile assignment yet when the consort of Cnut of Denmark, who recently conquered England, asks him to paint the king’s portrait. On the way to Oxford, where Cnut holds court, Winston joins forces with Halfdan, a roguish half-Dane, who rescues him from thieves and serves as the tale’s charming narrator. Once they reach Oxford, Cnut asks the pair to solve the murder of a Saxon named Osfrid, whose widow accuses the king of being her husband’s killer. With Cnut’s hold on power fragile, he hopes that the team of investigators from different backgrounds will not only solve the case but keep the political peace. Readers will want to see more of the astute Winston. (Oct.)