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Customer Reviews for Monarch Books A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

Monarch Books A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

Some valuable books have been stolen from master John Wycliff, the well known scholar and Bible translator. He cals upon his friend and former pupil, Hugh de Singleton, to investigate. Hugh's investigation leads him to Oxford where he again encounters Kate, the only woman who has tempted him to leave bachelor life behind, but Kate has another serious suitor. As Hugh's pursuit of Kate becomes more successful, mysterious caccidents begin to occur. Are these accidents tied to the missing books, or to the pursuit of Kate...or both?
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Customer Reviews for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Review 1 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Interesting medieval mystery set in 14th c. Oxford

Date:May 28, 2011
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Bob Hayton
Location:St. Paul, MN
Age:25-34
Gender:male
The year is 1365, and Hugh de Singleton a surgeon turned bailiff returns to the town of Oxford, England. Singleton stumbles upon a mystery surrounding his friend Master John Wycliffe, Warden of Canterbury Hall. As it happens, Hugh de Singleton has a flair for solving mysteries, and apprehending the offenders. This time, the crime involves a scholar's library -- and Hugh's own heart.
Author Mel Starr, in "A Trail of Ink", enthralls us with his third installment of his "Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon". The mystery and intrigue of life in the medieval age are brought to life through Starr's attention to detail in his descriptions of life in Oxford. He takes us to taverns and inns, college halls and monasteries, castle anterooms and dungeons -- virtually every corner of Oxford. Starr also illustrates courting customs, legal proceedings, surgical procedures, and even roof repair through Hugh's adventures in the story.
Not having read the first two books in the series didn't really impact my enjoyment of this tale. The characters are all sufficiently introduced again for new readers. While the story is told from Hugh's point of view, primarily, he has a faithful sidekick as a companion on his misadventures. We learn some of John Wycliffe and Singleton's Lord Gilbert. Kate, the damsel Hugh's entranced by, also wins our attention.
The plot has numerous twists and turns, and the pace of the book speeds up from its somewhat slow beginning. The fun in reading this book is entering the world of 14th Century England. Singleton also has ample time for spiritual reflection in between his jaunts as surgeon, detective and bailiff. Christian readers won't find objectionable content in this book. It's a fun and interesting tale, with a unique setting. I'll be looking out for the first two books in this series, and the promised fourth adventure.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Books (distributors for Monarch Books) for review as part of the Lit-Fuse Publicity Blog Tour. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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Review 2 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Medieval Whodunit

Date:March 18, 2011
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Marjorie Vawter
Location:Westminster, CO
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I came across Mel Starr's books last summer and was immediately intrigued by the setting (medieval Oxford and surrounding areas, chiefly Bampton and Bampton Castle). I'm privileged to have visited Oxford and several of the surrounding towns a little over two years ago, and was pleased to recognize many of the places Starr takes us to in this series. But his main character, Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and graduate of Oxford is my main draw to the books. A Trail of Ink is the third book in this series, and involves the theft of books from my favorite minor character throughout the books: John Wycliffe. Master Wycliffe asks Hugh to investigate the theft, and soon Hugh encounters several "accidents" in his pursuit of the thief. To make matters even more confusing, somehow his suit for Kate, a stationer's daughter, seems to be tied into Kate's other, and in Hugh's mind, much more qualified suitor. The author weaves a tale of crime and love using the language and manners of a time long past. While the language and style may slow the beginning down a little until you get used to it, it won't take long before you're pulled back into the world of 14th-century Oxford. Definitely worth reading, and a series that's high on my list of must-read historical mysteries.
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Review 3 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Sherlock in Medieval Times

Date:March 15, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:Savannah, GA
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
"A Trail of Ink: The third chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon" by Mel Starr was quite unique. It took me a while to read the language comfortably as the author wrote in first person in the Old English language of the day. A glossary in the front of the book helped with this, and once I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed the book.
Hugh de Singleton reminded me of Sherlock Holmes in an earlier time period. A bailiff and doctor, he also solves crimes when necessary. In this case, he’s trying to discover who stole his friend and mentor’s collection of valuable books. At the same time, he’s courting Kate and fending off assaults from a competitor for her heart.
Many aspects of medieval history touched on in this book were interesting. Books were valuable because they had to be hand-copied. Scholars traded what they had in order to make copies for themselves. If you ordered one from a bookseller, he found someone to make a copy for you and you might have to wait three months for it! The legal process was complex and unmerciful. The courtship process was amazingly simple, except for the dowry. I got a kick out of reading about it.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes mysteries and medieval history will enjoy this book. I thank the Litfuse Publicity Group for sending a complimentary copy for my review.
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Review 4 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

very enjoyable literary quality

Date:March 14, 2011
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bookwomanjoan
Location:Oak Harbor, WA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
In this third story of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon, Hugh travels to Oxford. He left Bampton Castle, where he is bailiff (general overseer of operations), to remedy his solitary state. He goes to Robert Caxton's stationer's shop with the cover task of buying some parchment and ink. But his real goal was to see and court Kate, Caxton's “comely” daughter.
He pays a visit to a teacher he had at Balliol College, Master John Wyclif. Wyclif is greatly disturbed for his books have been stolen. He implores Hugh to find them and thus begins Hugh's third adventure.
Hugh faces opposition on every side. There is another suitor after Kate and he is a nasty man. And in the task of recovering the stolen books, evidence is lacking. Hugh has to use his wits to determine an effective method of discovery.
I really enjoyed the writing style of Mel Starr. He is a master of creating beautiful sentences. It felt like I was reading a novel from a generation ago when authors, I think, spent more time in perfecting their craft. This novel was a joy to read.
At the front of the book are two additions that help the reader. The first is a glossary. Having it at the front of the book is a brilliant idea. (Many times I have struggled through a book to find an unannounced glossary in the back. It is too late to use it then as I have already finished the book!) The other great feature is a map of Oxford as it was around 1375.
This is a well written book. If you enjoy fine literature (and a good whodunit), you'll like this book.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Kregel Publications, for the purpose of this review.
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Review 5 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

3rd in Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series is winner

Date:March 14, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:Oconto Falls, WI
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr is the third book in the Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series which takes place in 14th century England. Hugh has gone to Oxford to visit his former teacher and friend Master John Wyclif who quickly asks him to discover who has stolen his entire library of twenty-two books, quite a collection at that time. Hugh has another reason to spend time in Oxford, Kate Caxton, the daughter of a stationer, who has recently agreed to allow him to court her. Hugh's master, Lord Gilbert, gives Hugh leave to both investigate the theft and to come home with a wife, both jobs Hugh takes to with a relish. But the theft is far more complicated than it first appears, and wooing Kate's heart just may be dangerous to Hugh's very life. I absolutely adore this series; it's one of my current favorites. I find myself smiling throughout, laughing aloud occasionally at the exceptionally witty dialogue, and gasping at the thrills. I'm not normally a "loud" reader, but Starr's writing pulls me in some completely, I can't help myself. Hugh's careful courting of Kate is a delightful and smart. This is a couple who will only get better with age, and Kate already enjoys aiding Hugh in his investigations. Starr manages to mix together history, murder, political machinations, faith, and romance with exceptional results. May Hugh and Kate live happily ever after, providing us with many sequels to come.
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Review 6 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Do Murder and Romance Mix?

Date:March 11, 2011
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Jeff LeMaster
Location:Glens Falls, NY
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
SUMMARY
This is the third chronicle in the saga of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of Bampton Castle near Oxford. Falling firmly in the genre of historical fiction, this “whodunit” is set in medieval England soon after the devastation of the plague.
Hugh is in Oxford on a dual quest: to seek Master John Wyclif’s stolen books, and to seek the hand of the lovely Kate Caxton in marriage. The two quests merge as Kate proves to be a valuable partner in sleuthing.
A murder coupled with attempts on his own life convinces Hugh that he is hot on the heels of a resourceful and dangerous foe.
SO WHAT?
I love historical fiction. You know the author has had to do copious amounts of research to provide such an enthralling backdrop for his tale. I was surprised to discover that author was from Kalamazoo, Michigan, instead of Oxford, England. His appropriate use of archaic English colloquialisms, practices and surnames provides the details and depth that bring 14th century Oxford to life. A helpful glossary precedes the first chapter to assist the reader with some of the more arcane terminology.
The author is especially cautious, yet candid, in his portrayal of important historical figures such as John Wyclif, the famous English Bible translator.
It is rare to find a book written from the first person perspective. Starr does a masterful job putting the reader in the shoes of Hugh de Singleton, the protagonist. When Hugh is thrown in “gaol,” you feel the musty, cold, dampness of the cell, and you fear for his life. As he courts the beautiful Kate, you cheer him on and experience his bashfulness around her.
One limitation of the first person is that it is more difficult to involve multiple, interweaving plots and subplots (a la Tom Clancy). As a result, the story can feel more linear, plodding, and ordinary. The action, however, picks up quickly from the very beginning of the book.
I felt that the ending was rather abrupt. It is hard to pinpoint the exact climax, but the dénouement tied up all the loose ends too quickly after such a prolonged build up. It would have been more satisfying, I believe, to have left Master John Wyclif earnestly poring over his restored volumes in the solitude of his Canterbury Hall chamber, instead of his merely being comforted by the hopeful promise of their speedy return.
The final paragraph and the teaser for the next chronicle in the series are well done. I look forward to reading more of Master Hugh’s exploits.
WHY DID I READ THIS BOOK?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from LitFuse as part of their blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Review 7 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Trail Of Ink

Date:March 10, 2011
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Brenda
Location:WV
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I must admit I am a huge fan of historical fiction especially mysteries and intrigue, but "A Trail Of Ink" by Mel Starr was my first foray into the midieval time period. I wasn't sure how I would like the time period but I actually loved it!
This story is set in the town of Oxford England, where Hugh de Singleton is trying to solve the mystery of his friend John Wyclif's stolen books. Twenty-two books in all have been taken, and two of them are borrowed books from a friend of John's. The books were stolen right out of Master Wyclif's room while he was out to supper. Hugh is also interested in Kate Caxton, a stationer's daughter. So Hugh jumps into solving the mystery as he also tries to to win Kate's favor.
While this story was a bit hard for me to get into in the beginning, it soon took off transporting me back to medieval England. The author rolls together mystery, suspense, and murder together to make the story a satisfying read. I did find myself turning to the glossary provided in the front of the book because of some of the words used during the time period. "A Trail Of Ink" is the third book in the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon series, but can easily be read as a stand alone work, although I do wish I had read the first two books in the seriesThe ending provides a teaser for the next book in the series titled "Unhallowed Ground", which I look forward to reading.
Book provided by Litfuse and the publisher for review.
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Review 8 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love this Series!

Date:March 10, 2011
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Sally
Location:Tampa, FL
I love, love, love this series! We immediately discover that none other than John Wyclif, friend of the protagonist, Hugh of Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert Talbotx, has had all twenty-two of his books stolen!
The characters, written in depth, are based on some historical facts and are all quite believable. Written in the first person narrative of Hugh, a master sleuth, the dialogue is a delight. The author has researched medieval England extensively and creates a plausible plot.
There's romance for Hugh, some interesting surgeries, and even murder most foul. (Forgive me for stealing Shakespeare's words!) In addition, there's subtle humor. For instance, when describing Sir Roger, a man with bushy eyebrows, the author writes, "On a bright day Sir Roger carries with him his own shade" (200).
Master Hugh solves the puzzle like any good detective. He notes the clues and follows up on his hunches--all the while tending to his duties as the only available surgeon and pursuing the lovely Kate. I like reading about his day-to-day experiences. Quite interesting to me is learning about the practice of medicine and courting during this time.
I read the other two titles in the series: The Unquiet Bones, and The Corpse at St. Andrews Chapel, loved them both and looked forward to reading this third in the series. All are stand alone novels, and you'll have no problem catching on. However, if you've read the other two, you will enjoy picking up where the second novel ends with Hugh seeking to wed.
An glossary and a map of the area are included. All in all, this is a delightful book, and I recommend this to one and all! I look forward to the fourth in the series.
Thank you to FirstWildCard and Noelle Pedersen at Kregel for my copy.
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Review 9 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Hugh continues to solve mysteries of the 1360's

Date:March 9, 2011
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Wynd
Location:Saskatchewan Canada
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Hugh de Singleton continues his facinating reports of his life in the 1360's England around the town of Oxford. The young man, a baliff and a surgeon, continues to become enmeshed in homicide cases which start out as small mysteries. This time on a visit to his mentor John Wyclif and to the girl who has caught his fancy he discovers that Wyclif's books have been stolen, a serious crime in a time when books were scarce; and that his girl has started walking out with a knight who might be involved in the theft somehow. I was happy to see Hugh again; it's interesting to think of how mysteries were solved before technology arrived. The author has made the third book in the series easy to read, interesting, and catches a new reader up-to-date quickly in the first chapter. There is a glossary at the beginning containing medieval words and their meanings that may be new to the reader. It is easy to flip to without losing one's place in the story. An excellent new story, I'm interested in reading the rest of the series.
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Review 10 for A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

This is a "Trail of Ink" Worth Following!

Date:March 5, 2011
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Rambling Reader
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
My first introduction to Hugh de Singleton was within the pages of Mel Starr’s latest novel A Trail of Ink, and I found him to be a quite charming fellow. Because I have not read the previous installments of Hugh de Singleton’s chronicles, I did not have the pleasure of a prior familiarity with his character. Fortunately, A Trail of Ink can be read as a stand-alone novel, but there are occasional references to earlier events that pique one’s interest in the other two novels, The Unquiet Bones and A Corpse at St. Andrews Chapel.
A Trail of Ink is set in the medieval town of Oxford, England. Through Hugh’s adventures to solve the mystery of his friend’s missing books and to win the heart of the fair Miss Caxton, the reader journeys through the 14th century streets of Oxford. Starr’s depiction of medieval life in the scholarly town is vivid and charming. The novel’s primary mystery is not extremely complex, making the book a relatively light read. Elements of danger and adventure add flavor to the plot and help the story to progress steadily. Hugh conveys his adventures in an honest and sometimes witty voice, that allows the reader to empathize with his plight and form a quick, but lasting connection. The conclusion of the novel alludes to Hugh’s forthcoming new adventures in Unhallowed Ground, and I will follow the trail of ink to visit Hugh and his friends (and undoubtedly some enemies) again. I highly recommend this refreshing novel to both adult and young adult readers!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from LitFuse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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