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A Trail of Ink (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) Paperback – January 3, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
It seems likely (but not certain) that the theft is connected with someone at the university, which Hugh describes as "a den of scholarly vipers." Hugh's investigation meanders at first, but in the end there are enough fights, wounds and deaths to warrant calling this academic mystery "action packed."
How Aristotle and Euclid could incite murder and mayhem might perplex modern readers, but in medieval times books were precious and pricey. A scholar rarely acquired as many as twenty books in a lifetime.
Author Mel Starr, historian and scholar of medieval surgery, gives us a fascinating picture of medieval life among scholars, lords, sheriffs, surgeons, shopkeepers, monks and marriageable young women.
I always look forward to dinner in these books too - fabulous fare like pork in pepper sauce, pear-and-herb fritters and eels baked in vinegar and spices.
In A Trail of Ink, Hugh divides his time between finding Wyclif's books and courting Kate, an Oxford stationer's comely daughter. Both pursuits turn out to be life threatening.
Although Hugh is a brilliant surgeon, he's a timid lover and a self-effacing (though determined) investigator. He faithfully chronicles all his mistakes and ineptitudes, and when he succeeds, credits the Lord. He also invites and listens to advice. His modesty is quite charming.
I'm enjoying this series. When I'm reading escapist literature, I'm always pleased to learn something, and Mel Starr is a good medievalist. For fullest enjoyment of Hugh de Singleton's thoughtful character, I'd recommend reading the chronicles in order: (1) Unquiet Bones, (2) A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel and (3) A Trail of Ink.
The main character is Hugh de Singleton, who is both a surgeon and bailiff. As I commented on an earlier book in this series, I find the methods of surgery and doctoring in that day fascinating.
This book, Trail of Ink, starts off a bit slowly, but then picked up and grabbed my interest. The story involves stolen books, and I figured it wasn't going to be a story involving murder and mayhem, but I was wrong. Thought it may have been slower getting to the suspenseful moments than the two books that preceded this one, it has a lot of suspense in it also, and even some romance thrown in - although that is also a lot different than modern day romances.
The author has studied medieval surgery and medieval English, and that comes across in the book. Reading his books are like stepping into medieval times. He paints a great picture of what life was like in that day, and adds mystery and suspense to make it even more enjoyable.
I have one complaint about the book. There is a glossary in the front of the book to define some of the unfamiliar words in the book, but there are still several used that are not in the glossary. I would have liked a definition of those also.
I highly recommend this series. No, it isn't like reading a fast paced suspense novel set in modern times, but this book, and the other two in the series, make an enjoyable read and you won't be disappointed.
Hugh was a pretty interesting character. He had a very funny sense of humor - I found myself chuckling at a few points in the book. His courtship with Kate was very cute. She seemed a very strong character and I love how she put Hugh at ease with calling on her. They will make the perfect couple.
The characters in the book were all very well fleshed out in just about every way except appearance. Since this book was written like Hugh's own personal diary, I can understand how guys wouldn't be taking up a few paragraphs to describe how a person looks. But it would have been nice to know what Kate looked like beyond extremely comely, or what Jack looked like beyond immense in stature and strength. But, while these details would have been nice, it didn't ruin the book for me. I still was able to connect with the characters - obviously, because it is written as a personal diary, I connected with Hugh the most. But I grew to really like Jack's protectiveness and Kate's fearlessness and strength. Wonderful characters!
The mystery was well thought out. And using John Wyclif's books as the object to center a mystery around was brilliant on the part of the author. Very unique. The mystery made me realize how prized books were back then, in comparison to now - where they are nearly growing out our ears! (Not that that's a bad thing!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent. It's a well-written page-turner of a mystery filled with accurate information about the customs and social structure of medieval England. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Alan Filipski
read this one and then read the others see other reviews of the rest of the series for some further details. worth reading many times.Published 9 days ago by gbk
Working my way through the dirt and poverty of the age and really enjoying the feeling of being therePublished 3 months ago by david perkins
For those who like mysteries who a dose of early English history and customs.The author is a historian and informs in an entertaining fashion.Published 15 months ago by alienqueen
This is a series of pretty obvious mysteries. The main attraction is the description of life in feudal England.Published 17 months ago by ellen foster