The Killing Way (Arthurian Mysteries) by Tony Hays

The Killing WaysReviewed by Teri Davis

Most of us have heard the legends of King Arthur with the sword in the stone along with Guinevere and Sir Lancelot. This magical story is now believed to be based on a real person and time, though probably without much magic. Tony Hays book, The Killin Way, approaches the legends as a realistic mystery of these early times, complete with crime.

As the ruling king ages, he plans to name his successor with Arthur as the likely choice. Even though Arthur serves basically as a tribal king, his chances are weakened when a woman’s body is found outside his close friend and advisor, Merlin’s house. The woman was killed with Merlin’s knife that he loaned to someone. He just can’t remember who. Also Merlin is a little unusual and the town people have already judged and condemned him to death and begin to stone his house.

Arthur wisely choses an old friend, Malgwyn to investigate this murder and to discover the truth of whether or not Merlin killed the woman, and if not, who did and why. Added to that, Malgwyn hates Arthur for saving his life. When a Saxon cut off his arm and left him to die during a battle, Arthur rescued him forcing him to become a one-handed scribe. Malgwyn has never forgiven him for that.

The Killing Way is a fascinating tale weaving the old legends into a realistic tale of the times including the constant war with the Saxons, the adjustment from being ruled by the Romans, the Druids with the own religion and followers, the Picts mixing in the society, and Arthur’s stand with Christianity. All of these are combined to make this story a history lesson woven through the murder.

This book is well-researched and organized into a logical and realistic story. The part about the early Christians with the Druids was fascinating in this culture with their family traditions.

Texas author, Tony Hays, is both a novelist and journalist. He has previously written Murder in the Latin Quarter, On the Banks of the River: A History of Hardin County, Tennessee, and since this first novel in the Arthurian Mystery series, has additionally written The Stolen Bride, The Divine Sacrifice, and The Beloved Dead.

The Killing Way is a superb historical mystery novel, truly weaving the past into the story. Personally, I definitely plan to read his other novels in this series.

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