THE DIVINE SACRIFICE
Told in a tight first-person point of view, this book often feels claustrophobic and repetitive -- there are only so many times one can read about the fact that the hero only has one arm without it getting old -- and while aspects of the mystery are well done, this sophomore volume often feels like Hays is more interested in showing his mastery of the history than telling a good story. There is so much potential here -- the setting is marvelous and the conflicts intriguing -- but the world never seems to come alive.
In this continuation of the story of Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, he is called to Glastonbury Abbey along with King Arthur and Sir Bedevere for the purposes of meeting with the local lord -- who is mysteriously prosperous, especially in light of the resources available in the region. As they prepare to depart, they are informed that an elderly monk has died under mysterious circumstances and that the abbot would like Malgwyn to investigate.
Little does Malgwyn know that what he uncovers has far-reaching consequences and may ultimately endanger the fragile peace within Arthur's kingdom. (FORGE, Apr., 304 pp., $24.99)