Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: 'The Tainted Coin' by Mel Starr

✰✰✰✰½ The fifth installment finds Hugh still holding down two vastly different jobs: bailiff and surgeon. As a new father, Hugh must learn to balance his concerns for his family’s safety with his work responsibilities. So when a chapman is found beaten, Hugh is summoned to provide aid. Unfortunately, the chapman is mortally wounded. Before dying, the chapman mutters a simple, yet puzzling, phrase. Then as Hugh helps bury the man, an ancient coin falls out of the man’s mouth.

Written in first person, Hugh chronicles his personal observations and actions as he searches for the both the murderer and the origin of the strange, ancient coin. As Hugh and his brawny sidekick, Arthur, investigate the matter, the mystery becomes more complex. Adding to the challenge, Hugh’s nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe, returns with his minions. Thus, when his wife and child are attacked, Hugh is faced with a moral dilemma. Before he can find closure for the chapman’s death, Hugh must struggle with his conscience, faith, and duty to do what is right.

The Bottom Line: Starr’s medieval series is one of my favorites, and I look forward to each installment for an entertaining read. I find the language and information about culture included in these books to be fascinating. I’ve enjoyed watching Hugh’s character evolve. However, this installment includes less input from his wife Kate; I missed her wit and quick thinking.

This is a fast-paced read with lots of action, twists, and turns. While descriptions of medical procedures are included in the text, this installment is not too graphic. Also, I have enjoyed reading the books in order; however, each book may be read as a stand-alone. I, for one, am hooked on the series and highly recommend it for fans of medieval mysteries, historical fiction, and Christian fiction. As with the previous books, this book includes a glossary of medieval words and a map of the local area.

Details: The Tainted Coin: The Fifth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr. Paperback published by Monarch Books in 2012. 240 p. ISBN: 978-0-85721-250-4 NOTE: I received an Advance Reading Copy from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing.  

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