The Killing Way

Written by Tony Hays
Review by Ray Thompson

It was only a matter of time before historical mysteries discovered King Arthur. Modern mysteries occasionally feature Excalibur and the Grail; and, like the medieval romances, fantasies sometimes deploy magic to help uncover crimes. This, however, may be the first historical mystery set in a credible Dark Age Arthurian world based upon the earliest surviving records.

Merlin stands accused of murder, and Arthur’s prospects of being chosen high king will be dashed if his favourite counsellor is condemned. To investigate, Arthur turns to Malgwyn, a former warrior who has sunk into drunkenness after losing an arm in battle. Fortunately, his wits and powers of observation remain keen enough to uncover the culprits among Arthur’s enemies, be they lords aspiring to the high kingship themselves, or hostile Saxons. And what about the sinister druids gathering in surprising numbers for the council meeting to choose Ambrosius’ successor?

Malgwyn’s personal struggle with the bitterness of loss, first of wife, then arm, and to reconcile himself with his surviving family, add human interest as he searches desperately for the killers in this impressive (and suspenseful) start to a new series.