- Virginia Johnson
Most books set in the time of King Arthur are fantasies focusing on Merlin's magicks, glittering armor, and tragic, high-flown affairs of the heart. As the title implies, The Killing Way is not one of those books.
Our hero is not a king's son like Lancelot or a wily wizard. His name is Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, and before the Saxons overran his village, killing his beloved wife, he was simply a farmer. For revenge, he gladly and madly joined up with young Lord Arthur's band to slay as many Saxons as possible. He proved an able and trusted lieutenant and for a while peace is restored to the land though at a terrible price for Malgwyn.
In the last major battle, a Saxon hacked off his arm. He should have been left to die a warrior's death. He should have, but Arthur saved his miserable life. The monks healed him, fed him, and taught him to read and write. Now he loathes Arthur for the "favor" he did him. Without an arm, he can't go back to being a farmer nor can he slay the hated Saxons.
Now Arthur is at the point of being named High King if negotiations with the other rulers go in his favor--a terrible time for a murder to take place at the castle with all signs indicating the guilt of his old tutor. The people are calling for Merlin's blood in vengeance and unless a certain one-armed warrior/scribe can pull himself out of his drunken stupor to solve the mystery, they may have it.
This is the first book of a projected series that gives a grittier and more realistic vision of life and death at King Arthur's court.