Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: The Tainted Coin

This is the third book in the Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series that I have read and reviewed, but like the others, the book does stand alone.

The Tainted Coin by Mel Starr finds Master Hugh married with a young daughter, and continuing to encounter mysteries that need to be solved.  This time, it is a man found beaten near to death, and among his final words, he tells Master Hugh, "They didn't get me coin."

Or, as the publisher summarizes it:
It is the autumn of 1367. Master Hugh is enjoying the peaceful life of Bampton when a badly beaten man is found under the porch of St. Andrew's Chapel. The dying man is a chapman--a traveling merchant. Before he is buried in the chapel grounds, an ancient, corroded coin is found in the man's mouth.

Master Hugh's quest for the chapman's assailants, and his search for the origin of the coin, begins to make progress--but there are men of wealth and power in league with his old nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe, who wish to end his search . . . permanently.

But Master Hugh, and his assistant, the groom Arthur, are determined to uncover the thieves and murderers, and the source of the chapman's coin. They do, but not before they become involved with a kidnapped maiden, a tyrannical abbot, and a suffering monk--who needs Master Hugh's surgical skills and in return provides clues that assist Hugh in solving the mystery of the tainted coin.
This story sucked me in, and once again I found myself loving so many of the characters. 

Starr does such an amazing job, vividly painting the sights, sounds and even smells of the 14th century.  I love historical fiction, I love mysteries, and this series combines them well.  One really great aspect of this book is that it starts off with a glossary, FIVE pages worth, where all kinds of terms are defined for you.  Then they are used in the story without explanation.  Just to name off a few, I'll list the "H" entries:  haberdasher, habit, hallmote, and hamsoken.   I did know the first two, but did not know the last two!

There is a map, which is helpful since in this story they always seem to be heading somewhere.

The Afterword gives a bit of real history about some of the items or events of the story, and I like this especially. 

The book ends with the first chapter of the next book, An Uncertain Sleep, which I refused to read.  I'll find the book when it comes out, thank you. 

I'd highly recommend grabbing the book on Kindle this week for $5, and then finding the earlier books in the series.

Disclaimer:  I received this book through Kregel Blog Tours.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own.   

No comments: