Halfdan and his master, Winston the Illuminator, are guests in a monastery when they're awakened in the middle of the night and asked to solve a crime. A monk praying in the church has been brutally murdered, and his severed hand offers the first clue of a motive. As they investigate who could have committed such a heinous atrocity - and why - Halfdan and Winston must negotiate bitter rivalries within the monastery's hierarchy, a sensitive class structure, and the tension between the new laws King Cnut has sworn to uphold and the codes of honor that precede them. With peace in England on shaky ground and the king's favor of paramount importance, Halfdan and Winston follow a precarious path toward answers that no one is sure they want. This second novel in Martin Jensen's acclaimed King's Hounds series delves deeply into a chaotic world where alliances change, but oaths are forever.
©2011 Martin Jensen and Forlaget Klim. English translation © 2014 by Tara F. Chace. (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
I'm glad I decided to give book 2 a go after being put off by the narration in book 1. Same narrator, but he upped the speed of his presentation so that it was more than acceptable. I hope more of these get translated and read, as the era is fascinating.
I thought the narrator really made the story live for me,
the characterisation is realky good looking forward to what comes next
"A Bit Disappointed in This Second Installment"
I gave a positive review to the first book in this series by Martin Jensen; however, this time around I feel that we readers have been let down a bit. Winston takes much more of a back seat to Halfden this time around, as the murder of a monk baffles the duo. I found the story much less compelling here, and recalled that the threat of the King's wrath added necessary tension to "The King's Hounds." I did enjoy the addition of Alfilda to the sleuthing pair, but wish her character could be given more to do than brood and stare out windows. Would it be a better series if the author took us into the minds and perspectives of the three central characters? I think perhaps so. Napoleon Ryan does a good job again in his narration, though his pacing is very languid and occasionally it sounds as though he needs to spit.
"Translation problematic. Jars in a great story"
Too many modern words being used. They jar, and disrupt the flow of what is otherwise a great yarn.
"Absorbing and entertaining despite its flaws"
Well, I'm currently listening to the second volume and bought the third for my kindle, so I guess I'm liking this series. The premise is just different enough to entertain those of us who like mysteries in quirky settings. And that brings me to the annoying aspect of these books - the author's persistent use of extremely anachronistic terminology. He doesn't have to use Middle English or whatever, but does he have to talk about people "shacking up" etc.?
"Good story, likeable characters"
Good light read. Some anachronisms but they don't take away from the story -- though they are a minor annoyance. Narration is so slow I checked to see if it was ¾ speed, and the narrator often read heavy portent into the most commonplace sentences. Good otherwise though.
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