Reviewed by Gail M. Murray
Hawkin seamlessly weaves prehistoric Irish history (200 BCE) and Celtic mythology in this compelling Historical Fantasy. Though opening in modern-day California, the bulk of the action takes place 2,200 years ago in Iron Age Ireland, an ancient Celtic warrior society. The fourth in her Hollystone Mystery series, like all her books, features Estrada, her heroic Wiccan magician and stands alone as a great read.
When Hawkin saw photographs of Old Croghan Man’s mummified fist and torso in a National Geographic, she wondered why he’d been so brutally murdered and cast in the bog. The seed for this adventure was planted.
Hawkin did research at the National Museum of Ireland, and curator Dr. Eamonn Kelly’s theories on the ritual killing of deposed kings form the basis of her tale. The author’s intuitive imagination adeptly brings this ancient world to life, filling it with memorable characters: Bres, the unscrupulous rival and usurper; Ana, nature goddess and evil, seductive Crow Queen; Fearghas, a brutish, sadistic henchman, and Conall, a gentle Druid bard.
Irish archaeologist, Sorcha O’Hallorhan, is magically transported by the Celtic fertility god, Cernunnos, and awakens “inside a Van Gogh painting” where “spiraling masses of stars studded an indigo sky. Ireland, she’d never seen it look this verdant, this fecund, this pristine.” Caught in a cattle stampede, “the bog man” saves her and “standing before her was the reason she’d become an archaeologist.”
Like Sorcha, I’m enamoured with Ruairi, this tall, muscular copper-haired man, a man of stature, quiet intensity and few words. This was a man who led. I’m reminded of Tolkien’s Stryder, later revealed as Aragorn—the true king.
Can Sorcha save him from his fate? Survive this perilous time? After she falls in love, will she return to her own time? With Hawkin’s fluid prose, well-developed characters, intrigue and romance, the reader will be caught up in the magic. People don’t change over time.
To Kill a King is published by Blue Haven Press.