Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Deeds of Darkness , The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #10, by Mel Starr

Book description:

To bring justice, Master Hugh must foil the corrupt power of great men

Many medieval scholars discontinued their university studies before completing their degree. Some lacked funds; others became bored with a scholar's life. Occasionally these young men formed lawless bands, robbing and raping and creating chaos. They were called goliards.

In Deeds of Darkness Master Hugh learns that the Bampton coroner, an old friend, has been slain while traveling to Oxford. As he seeks the killer (or killers) he discovers a band of goliards in the area between Oxford and Bampton. But how to apprehend these youths? They have protectors far above Hugh's station. He must deal with the claims of justice on the one hand and the power of great men to protect their henchmen on the other.

My review:

   This may be the most unusual series of books I have read and reviewed. The books are set in the 14th century, and center around Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff.

 As with the other books, I found the 14th century doctoring and crime solving fascinating. And though I am not a big fan of the first person point of view writing style, I still enjoy the books and the main character.

 This book was a bit different since Hugh was searching for a group of bad guys instead of just one man. As he always does, Starr spun a great novel of suspense that kept me guessing as to who the bad guys were, and how they were going to be caught.

 Starr played a bit off the religious beliefs of the day, and his main character's shying away from the Catholic Church's teaching of the day on purgatory. I have studied church history, but it was still interesting to think about what it was like through a fictional character not agreeing with the church of the day.

 As with the previous book, this one is shorter and smaller than the majority of the series so far, but the author has crammed a lot into the shorter amount of pages. I enjoyed this book as much as I did the previous 10 books, and look forward to reading the 11th book.

About the author:

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Deeds of Darkness is available from Lion Publishing, an imprint of Kregel Publications.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.