Saturday, November 11, 2017

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

ISBN: 9781782642459
$14.99 Paperback
Kregel Publishing
My thoughts: As with the previous eight books I have read in this series, author Mel Starr does not disappoint. As he takes Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon and bailiff, in medieval England about his daily experiences we are given a fabulous glimpse into their the slow paced life and methods used by de Singleton to treat injuries and illnesses, resolve criminal activity, and interact with laborers, clergy, and family.

The books are not lengthy or difficult reading. The "tone" of the writing and speech reflects on what one would expect relevant to the times and sets the pace. Historical detail is interspersed in treatment of wounds, meals consumed (barley loaves and maslin loaves are in abundance), and murders and theft solved using forensic clues and evidence that were available in the 1300s.

In Deeds of Darkness the plague is past leaving the populace sparse with not enough to plow the fields, buy the goods in the stores, etc. But life goes on and Hugh de Singleton plods along the paths and across the streams trying to find out who is murdering people along the road and who is plundering homes when folks are at church.

This is Christian fiction and Singleton's faith is intricately woven into his actions and speech. The Church is Catholic with monasteries and black robed monks abundant and all people are by law required to attend Mass. This leaves homes unoccupied providing opportunity for thieves to plunder. And as admonished in Scripture, one is to have nothing to do with deeds of darkness but is to expose them. And that is just what Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon, does in this story.

A good read and one I can recommend. I found the historic references very interesting and Starr includes a glossary defining period words and terms used in the text.The frequent visits to monasteries for means of meals and lodging and Hugh de Singleton's respect for customs of the monks is interesting and enlightening. And Singleton's wit and conversational thoughts a pleasure to read.

About the book: 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. 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. I received no compensation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here at Chat With Vera. If you need to contact me directly, please use the "Comment Me" email associated with this blog and posted in the sidebar.