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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oathbreaker by Martin Jensen

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: England, 1018 AD

First sentence: Uhtred shivered in the morning fog.

This novel is the second in Martin Jensen's King's Hounds series.

Halfdan and his employer, Winston the illuminator, are the King's hounds.  They have made themselves useful to King Cnut by asking questions and using their wits.

In this installment of the series, the king wants Halfdan and Winston to go north to Mercia.  There they are to keep their eyes and ears open.  The king wants to learn of any possible unrest in the area.  There are some in Mercia who might cause the king problems.

So, Halfdan and Winston travel north with a caravan of monks, peddlers, and assorted riffraff.  On the way north, the caravan stops for the night at a monastery at Brixworth.   As luck would have it there is a terrible murder in the monastery's church.  A monk, who had once been a warrior, has been killed.  His severed hand placed over his heart, is a sign that the monk was an oath breaker.

Halfdan and Winston are asked to investigate due to their recent inquiries for the king.

As they investigate, they discover that there are many possible suspects.  And since no one has left the monastery, the murderer is still within the monastery's walls.

Will Halfdan and Winston unravel the tangled web of clues to discover who murdered the monk, and why?

I enjoyed this book.  I was stumped by the mystery until the reveal.  Once I learned the identity of the killer, the clues seemed obvious.

I also enjoy Jensen's description of life in 11th century England.  These side trips off the the main plot make the novel fun to read.


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