The King's Hounds

Amazon Crossing. 2013. 348p. tr. from Danish by Tara Chace. ISBN 9781477807262. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781477857267. MYS
England has been at war for years, but now, in 1018, the fighting is over and Cnut of Denmark is hoping to forge a unified, peaceful kingdom of Angles, Saxons, and Danes. Against this backdrop Jensen weaves the story of Halfdan, a former nobleman who survives by his charm and some petty thievery. When he meets Winston, a former monk and popular manuscript illuminator, they form an unlikely alliance. Their arrival in Oxford at the king's court coincides with a murder, and their introduction to Cnut gives the king an idea: pair up the Dane and the Saxon to solve the murder so that he cannot be accused of favoring one group over the other. They are given two days to solve the crime, and the two must fight against prejudice and treachery before the truth comes out.
VERDICT Jensen is a best-selling author in Denmark. This is his first work to be translated into English and also the first of a series featuring Winston and Halfdan. With its good pacing, colorful historical backdrop, and well-rounded characters, this title will appeal to fans of historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages.

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