The Beloved Dead

By Tony Hays


Malgwyn ap Cuneglas was one of King Arthur's earliest companions and now is his most trusted counsellor. Despite the malice of his enemies, and the machinations of the still powerful druids who mightily resist him, Malgwyn knows that Arthur will stop at nothing in his efforts to lead his people to Christ and help to bring civil law and justice to a people who have known little such. To consolidate his power, Arthur decides that it is time to take a noble wife. But in this Malgwyn knows his lord's sorrow, for Arthur must set aside his love, Guinevere, because he believes that the scandal surrounding their affair has tainted her for the crown. Malgwyn is sent north to fetch the young woman who is to be Arthur's bride. The way is fraught with tension for there are forces who would not see the king wed. Malgwyn discovers a string of killings of young virginal women who are slaughtered in a horrific manner - not unlike a ritual sacrifice - and is left with a question that he must answer quickly. Are these murders portents of the gods taking vengeance on the intrusion of a new faith? Or are mortal men plotting to unseat the king?

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