Malgwyn ap Cuneglas is counselor to Arthur, High King of the Britons. When he accompanies his liege to the West to broker a deal between warring tribes they come across a scene of utmost depravity and murder to sicken even the most battle-hardened warrior. Things don't get any better when they finally arrive at their destination to discover that King Doged is fighting to keep his kingdom safe from both Saxons from abroad and younger nobles vying for power. Doged loses that fight when shortly after Arthur and his counselor arrive, he is murdered. His young wife, defenseless and alone, appeals to Arthur to find her husband's killer. Arthur quickly agrees and Malgwyn is given this almost impossible task.
Why would Arthur be so interested in helping keep this small region stable and under the High King influence? Perhaps because Doged's people had discovered caves that might contain huge veins of gold….
The Stolen Bride is the next masterpiece in Tony Hays's critically acclaimed Arthurian mystery series.
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Utterly convincing characters and a perfect balance between action and sleuthing distinguish Hays's suspenseful fourth mystery set in King Arthur's Britain (after 2011's The Beloved Dead). When Arthur's chief adviser, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, inspects the scene of a village massacre, he can't help thinking of a similar scene from years before, when he returned home to find the ravaged body of his wife, Gwyneth. That tragedy set Malgwyn on the violent path that cost him an arm and transformed him from farmer to warrior. Despite Arthur's titular position as "High King of All Britannia," Arthur's grip on power is in fact tenuous, and the butchery of the villagers is yet more evidence that his kingdom is vulnerable to attack. Besides identifying those responsible for the slaughter, Malgwyn must solve a tribal leader's murder that threatens serious political repercussions. Hays just keeps getting better with each entry in this intriguing historical series.