THE BELOVED DEAD
Hays is a brilliant writer of historical mysteries set in fifth-century England. Everything about this is exquisite. The blend of suspense and legend is strong and will appeal to many readers. Hays makes the characters come alive.
Arthur is determined to bring his people to Christ. To help him, he needs to take a noble wife, which means setting aside Guinevere because their affair has ruined her reputation and she can’t be queen. One of his most trusted companions, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, is sent to bring his bride back. Malgwyn was a soldier who lost a limb but has shown a talent for detection. He discovers a series of killings of young virgins. Is this the work of the old gods? Or is it Arthur’s human rivals trying to keep him from being king? (TOR, Apr., 400 pp., $25.99)