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A Trail of Ink

valoraciones:
4/5 (30 valoraciones)
Longitud:
284 página
4 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Sep 20, 2013
ISBN:
9781782640868
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

I had never seen Master John Wyclif so afflicted. He was rarely found at such a loss when in disputation with other masters.

He told me later, when I had returned them to him, that it was as onerous to plunder a bachelor scholar's books as it would be to steal another man's wife. I had, at the time, no way to assess the accuracy of that opinion, for I had no wife and few books ...' So begins another delightful and intriguing tale from the life of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon in the medieval village of Bampton, near Oxford, and bailiff of Bampton Castle at the behest of Lord Gilbert Talbot. Hugh sets his cap at the delightful Kate, who proves equally resourceful in the search for the missing books. Some very determined adversaries are out to stop him, permanently if necessary - but are they motivated by greed or a more personal animosity? Then the corpse of a poor scholar, who had tried to sell one of the books, is found in the river: but he had not simply drowned ...

Editorial:
Publicado:
Sep 20, 2013
ISBN:
9781782640868
Formato:
Libro

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  • (4/5)
    A Trail of Ink has a little bit of everything that makes this series enjoyable, mystery, a colourful and detailed historical backdrop, and some interesting descriptions of Medieval surgery, medicine and other aspects of life. In this novel, there is even a hint of Romance, with Hugh courting Kate Paxton, the stationers’ daughter he met in the last novel. Unwittingly, he also gains himself and enemy, an initially a love rival in the form of Sir Simon Trillowe son of the Sheriff of Oxford who causes problems in the later books
    .
    This third installment focuses on the relationship between Kate and Hugh, and of course he has a mystery to solve as Doctor John Wycliffe has had all his books stolen. An event which causes Hugh’s friend and mentor some distress- he was a scholar who relied on his books after all. Hugh employer Lord Gilbert Talbot's encouragement to find a wife gives Hugh the perfect excuse to stay in Oxford, and help Master Wycliffe. Of course, Hugh soon falls into trouble as Sir Simon Trillowe is literally willing to go to any lengths to get him out of the way- and it is all the harder to deal with him as his father holds the authority of Sheriff.

    Yet the frequency and nature of nefarious plots do harm to or do away with our hero seem to be getting a little implausible. How many times can someone break into his room or his house at night, ambush him in the street, kidnap him, or attack him, and he just narrowly escape? It does seem to be getting to be a little bit of a worn out formula now and perhaps a tad predictable.

    I also had a few issues with Hugh himself in the story. For instance, when he is thrown into jail on false charges and facing execution (begging the question of whether a member of the gentry classes actually could be treated thus), he prays in desperation as he can think of no way out, but, when the situation is resolved, he is not depicted as grateful or thankful to God for apparently answering his prayers.
    Instead he whines. Also, his lying does get a bit much after a while, especially when there would be other ways to deal with the situation, and his automatic assumption that he is not as bad as others, or that God won’t mind. The ending also seemed a little but rushed, resolved very quickly seemingly without much explanation of the motives of those involved.

    Altogether A Trail of Ink is an enjoyable mystery story and light read that does not rely on gory murders (in fact this event does not happen until over halfway through the book), in a fascinating and well-researched setting. The said, the elements of the story which can be repetitive, formulaic and predictable were a shortcoming, which could perhaps prove problematic if the series continues.
  • (4/5)
    In the third installment of the series, medieval surgeon Hugh de Singleton has not one, but two puzzles to solve. First, Master John Wyclif's treasured collection of scholarly books has been stolen. It's up to Hugh to unravel a trail of deceit and solve a murder in order to see that the books are returned to their rightful owners.Second, Hugh is on a quest to find a wife. With little experience in the ways of winning a young maiden's hand, Hugh sets out to court the young lady who caught his attention in the second chronicle, "A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel." The object of his affections, Kate Caxton, is witty, intelligent, and comely. She attracts more than her share of attention and has no shortage of suitors from which to choose. Will Hugh be able to win over the beautiful Kate or has he met his match in the form of Sir Simon Trillowe? Only time will tell as we follow Hugh on this adventures in Oxford.The Bottom Line: The third book in the series is a quick and enjoyable weekend read. This chronicle features fewer surgeries than the first two books and more emphasis is placed on Hugh's exploration of faith. However, there are still plenty of twists and turns to keep readers guessing. Highly entertaining and recommended for fans of medieval mysteries. Also, recommended for fans of Christian fiction. A glossary of medieval words and a map of Oxford are included.
  • (5/5)
    This book is definitely a read alike for fans of Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew mystery series. The major surface differences are that Trail of Ink is both earlier than Bartholomew and set in the rival English university of Oxford. I was afraid that the comparisons would follow fast and furious on the heels of the obvious (medieval setting, university town, surgeon/doctor main character, mystery solver on accident), but I was pleasantly surprised. The tone to this book is very lighthearted and humerous. Gregory's characters tend to take themselves very seriously and have a much more earnest tone. This book was well plotted and the characters were both likeable and believeable. I haven't read the first two in the series but was in no way hampered by this lack of exposure. There are brief references to earlier cases in the first few chapters, but they are short and sweet and summarieze the gist of the experience well enough for those of us who jumped in here to not miss anything else. Overall: I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, light, fun read. I will definitely seek out the first two books and keep an eye out for any others that may follow this one. Two thumbs up.
  • (4/5)
    After reading Lucifer's Harvest (book 9 in the series) I knew I had to go back and read the earlier volumes. I greatly enjoyed this one, and look forward to reading more from the series once I can get my hands on them.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first book of Mel Starr's Hugh de Singleton series that I have read, although it is the third in the series. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read the book. I am always looking for new medieval series to read and this one had skipped my radar. The book is set in and around Oxford England in the early winter of 1365. Hugh, who is a bailiff for Lord Gilbert, is taxed with finding 22 stolen books. They were stolen right from a scholar's room. In the 14 century, books were very valuable. But while Hugh is trying to find out what happened to the books he also finds himself in a battle for the hand of a young woman. His adversary is a nobleman who is not afraid to fight to the death. The book is quite well written, and I enjoyed the characters. Hugh is a very appealing hero. I will be continuing to read this series now that I have found it.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book! I have been reading a lot of Medieval Mysteries in the past several months & Starr is now on my list of favorite authors in the genre. His character"s sense of humor about things including himself I find especially refreshing. I particularly appreciate the inclusion an an actual historic figure-John Wyclif which was done in a very believable way; as well setting the story in a real place-Oxford-a place I find very intriguing in it's own right! This is the 3rd book in the series & I shall read the first 2 just as soon as I can lay hands on them since the 4th will be out very shortly!I credit my fascination w/ this genre to the pace of life in those times as it compares to the modern pace-too darn fast! The fastest they can travel is the speed at which a horse can gallop! I must have been born a few hundred years too late!
  • (4/5)
    When Hugh de Singleton, bailiff of Bampton, learns that his friend John Wyclif's library has been stolen (all 20 books, plus 2 borrowed from someone else), he is given leave to stay in Oxford to search for and recover Wyclif's books. Happily for Hugh, this will give him an opportunity to court Kate Caxton, the woman he hopes to marry. He is dismayed to learn that he has a rival for Kate's affections. Will Hugh solve the mystery of the missing books and win the heart of the woman he loves?This is the third book in a series featuring Hugh de Singleton, and it was my first exposure to the series. Historical mysteries are my favorite genre, and I'm pleased to have another series to add to those that I follow. While Hugh isn't as quick witted as the protagonists in some series, his companions have complimentary strengths, and they work well together. My one complaint is that this book refers in too much detail to events in the two previous books in the series and gives away spoiler information about their plots and the culprits of the crimes investigated in those books. I'll need to wait a while to read those books and hope that I forget what I learned about them from this book.While regular readers of Christian fiction will recognize the publisher as a Christian publishing firm, the Christian content is incorporated so naturally into the story that it will not turn off other readers. Recommended for both historical fiction and Christian fiction enthusiasts.This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
  • (4/5)
    This was the first book I've read in the series and I enjoyed it, but wondered why the author seemed to include spoilers about what happened in the first two books. I would have looked for those too but now know "whodunnit." Oh well. I will definitely look for future books in the series however.I am also a fan of CJ Sansom's Shardlake series and this was similar but a lot lighter and with more humor, a good quick read.
  • (4/5)
    A Trail of Ink is the third Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton series. I have not read the first two books in this series and I think it would have helped to read those first, but the book had enough in it to let me know what went on in previous books. A medieval mystery that has Hugh de Singleton looking for some stolen books and wooing Kate Caxton, the stationer's daughter. He is a bailiff of the village of Bampton and he has been asked to help recover a set of books that have been stolen from Master John Wyclif, the well known scholar and Bible translator . Thus starts the adventure for Hugh and Kate, which turns dangerous when there is a series of "events" that follow them.The author appears to be knowledgeable regarding medieval times and it shows in the writing of this book as the reader is swept along into the mystery. If the reader has trouble with the language of this time period, there is a glossary at the beginning of the book. I love historical fiction and this series is a bit different than others I have read and I did enjoy it. Definitely for the history lover!!!
  • (4/5)
    This is the 3rd book in the Hugh de Singleton mystery series and by here the author has the feel of the main characters. Hugh once again gets himself in trouble, merely trying to help out a friend. His friend had his entire library stolen, and for anyone in 1465 that would be devastating, the man in question is a professor, and not only was it a life's collection, it was part of his job. Hugh also proceeds to court Kate in the hopes of making her his wife. Both issues cause Hugh a lot more trouble than one would reason possible, both almost get him killed. I really enjoy this series and only have 2 more to add to my collection. I highly recommend them!
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book - I love this series (Hugh De Singleton)!
  • (3/5)
    This is a third chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr. We begin in October, of 1365, in Oxford. During this medieval time period, we follow Hugh as he see to Lord Gilbert as his surgeon and bailiff. His old teacher Master John Wyclif seeks his help in finding 22 stolen books of his, which in that time were very precious indeed as most were hand written and bound. He also seeks to steal Kate Caxton heart, but she has another suitor who is none other than the sheriff’s son. It is difficult at first to get used to the syntax used, but with the help of the glossary of definitions it gets much easier to understand. I stuck with it, and found the mystery within a mystery, and a romance too very entertaining. I also look forward to reading the first and third books in the series as well. Hugh finds himself trying to understand where God fits into his life, and is a nice lead in to the next novel. I think this book was a good read and most mystery lovers will find it worth a glance.
  • (4/5)
    This was a very well written medieval mystery set in 14th century Oxford. The main character is Hugh de Singleton who is both surgeon and bailiff. While in Oxford to seek the company of Kate, a woman he hopes to marry, Hugh learns of a theft of books. His friend, Master John Wyclif has collected twenty two books over the course of his lifetime. He is distraught to find them missing and is delighted when Hugh is commissioned by Lord Gilbert to assist John is retrieving his missing books.In his search for the missing books, Hugh meets some very determined adversaries who are out to stop him, permanently if necessary. Later, a young scholar who attempted to sell one of the missing books, is found floating in the the river. What starts out as a case of missing books, suddenly seems to take a turn for something much more complicated and dangerous. Kate, also steps in to help Hugh in his quest to solves the mystery. The sooner they do, the sooner they can get married.This was an excellent mystery with lots of research by the author to make the timeframe authentic and intriguing to read. This is the third chronicle in the Hugh de Singleton series, but the first I had read. I had no trouble reading it out of order and really enjoyed this mystery.
  • (5/5)
    From the first page of A Trail of Ink I was quickly, and delightfully, transported back to Oxford of 1365. The scholar John Wycliffe has had 20 precious books stolen and Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and baliff for Lord Gilbert Talbot is on the case. He follows a twisted trail to track down the culprits and the books while at the same time wooing a stationer's daughter, Kate Caxton. Mel Starr has written of a down-to-earth hero, with a quiet, steadfast faith, great sense of humour and a love of good food. The dialogue is written with a taste of mediaeval speech, but not too much to be distracting or difficult. Instead it helps to place the reader in the period and adds a charming, interesting variance to our accustomed modern speech.A Trail of Ink is the third in the series of Hugh de Singleton. I've already ordered the first two so I can spend more time in the company of the appealing Hugh and I'm looking forward to the recently released fourth, Unhallowed Ground.
  • (5/5)
    This was a great book! This was the first book in the series that I had read. It made me want to go out and find the other two books before it. I also can't wait until the fourth in the series comes out. The author has studied medieval medicine and this features in the book. It is interesting. It is also interesting to hear all about medieval Oxford. The only criticism that I have was the map in the front of the book was a bit small and hard to read. I wish it could have been spread out maybe over two pages. I loved the glossary that was included. All in all a great book, and a wonderful read for the mystery lover!!
  • (4/5)
    A Trail Of Ink, the third chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon was my first book by Mel Starr. I love medieval fiction and also mysteries, so when I learned that this had both I was eager to dive into it. While this isn't an action filled, intense suspense, it was still a pleasant read. It reminded me of a few of Agatha Christie's Professor Periot mysteries books in the way it read, though the mysteries in Christie's are way more intense and gripping. The medieval language took me a bit to get used to but after about 5 chapters I was reading it with ease.Hugh's character was witty and caring, and the type of man I would enjoy associating with. While he took his job seriously, I appreciated the somewhat funny remarks he made on occasion.Perhaps it is because I haven't read the previous two books, but I was left wondering what the characters look like. It did allow me to use my imagination which I liked somewhat, but I didn't even know how old he was. The same was for all the characters. With Kate, the girl Hugh fancies, all I know is that she's mind-blowingly beautiful. I wanted to know what color hair and eyes she had but was left to come to my own conclusions. While this did not cause me to enjoy the book any less, I was wondering throughout the book what the characters looked like.The romance between Hugh and Kate was very sweet, proper, and not excessive. I found myself smiling at some of their conversations. They were a perfect couple! I did long to know more about them both, but I suppose that's what I get for reading the third book in the series first. ;)As for content, there was nothing at all! After thinking for a while, the only thing I could think of to mention is that Kate is very beautiful and Hugh notices many men attracted to her. Other than that, there wasn't even a kiss! Very clean. There was some mild gore but it was very minimal. As a surgeon, Hugh had to set a a broken collar bone, find out of a corpse they found in the river really drowned or if it was foul play, and inspect a man with a few knife wounds. Nothing is really graphic or anything. I wasn't out of ease at all.All in all, this was a good, simple, story set in medieval times. If you are looking for an action-pact suspense or a surprise ending or anything, this book won't amount - but if you are looking for an interesting story with some mild mystery, this is a book for you!
  • (4/5)
    This was my first introduction to Hugh de Singleton, and once I got used to the style of writing, I greatly enjoyed the experience. Set in the 1630s, this book tells a tale of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff, who ventures into Oxford to woo a lady. While there, he finds that 22 books have been stolen from his former instructor--in those days, a veritable fortune. He also discovers that a gentleman of noble birth is pursuing the same lady who holds his interest. During his pursuit of both the stolen books and the lady, Hugh has several encounters with the nobleman and even ends up thrown in jail, from which he is rescued by his patron and the young lady. Despite these setbacks, Hugh perseveres in his efforts and finally succeeds in determining who stole the books and sees them returned to their rightful owner. I can't tell what happens with the young lady without spoiling the plot, so I will just encourage others to read this book! It's not always an easy read since it is written in what is considered to be the style of the medieval era, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. While there are some allusions to events from the previous books in the series, it can easily be read on its own.I received this book from the publisher through the Early Reviewer program. I will be seeking out the first two volumes in the series and anticipating the publication of the fourth volume.
  • (4/5)
    This is the third book in a great series, and I liked it the best so far. The setting is 15th-century England, mostly in Oxford this time.Our protagonist, Hugh de Singleton, is bailiff for Lord Talbot, a local nobleman. In this capacity, he investigates crimes, and is a tenacious man when he finds something he thinks is unjust or unmoral.In this volume, the mystery begins calmly enough when Hugh’s old professor Wycliffe reports that his entire library of books—a valuable commodity—has been stolen. The case gets more complicated, with some red herrings thrown in, and of course some danger involved. The actual murder in this instance doesn’t even happen until halfway through the book.The characters are a mixed lot, but Hugh is a good man and true. He is currently searching for a wife after Lord Talbot recommends he settle down. Enter Kate, who made an appearance in the previous book and has a bigger role here. Hugh has a rival that will probably cause more trouble in future books, but so far, the romance is going well, although it’s only a small part of the overall story.Descriptions are done very well, and the pacing is fine. As with the previous books in this series, the pacing is quite slow through most of the story, which forces the reader to consider the slower speed of everyday life in the setting. The ending came up quickly and was over fast, as with many historical mysteries. Some violence (circa 1465), no foul language, no sex.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Wanted to add a comment because Starr's novels, unlike many series, have steadily grown better (more interesting plots, more developed characters) as the series has gone on. His atmosphere has also fleshed out with a darkness that seems very right (and ripe) for the period.
  • (3/5)
    I was a bit worried when I received this book and the envelope described the contents as 'religious book'. I do not read christian fiction and I returned to the book's description on LT and found absolutely no mention of religion in it. A bit confusing, that is.There are references to God here and there and that was okay. But I didn't like the assumption that the reader is included in the overall religious belief system that I picked up on. Having said that and so ignoring the religious references I thought it a nice, light mystery. I liked the main character, Hugh, and thought the writing was very good; thankfully not amateurish as 'religious' fiction can sometimes be. All in all, if occasional references to God don't bother you, I'd recommend this book.
  • (3/5)
    Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff, faces two challenges when he arrives in Oxford in October 1365. He wishes to win the hand of Kate Caxton and he is facing competition from Sir Simon Trillowe. He also becomes embroiled in the search for twenty-two books from his friend and scholar John Wyclif. Kate’s character is that of an independent woman who is an equal partner in a relationship and one willing to take the lead at times, including looking for murderers. She is not the typical 14-century woman. She is one of the more interesting characters in the novel; otherwise it follows the familiar pattern of medieval mysteries.There was a custom slip on the envelope the book came in and it was marked “religious book.” I would not classify it as that although Hugh has moments of turning to God for help which seemed contrived.I enjoyed the book but would not go looking for another to read.
  • (3/5)
    Hugh de Singleton sets out on a simple task. He wants to court a lovely woman and visit his friend. But nothing in life is that simple. A man of higher rank is also courting the lady and his friend, John Wyclif, is sorrowing over the theft of all his books. Soon Hugh is given the task by his lord to unravel the mystery and win the girl.I really liked the map of Oxford and the glossary of medieval terms. The author works history into his story nicely. There are also glimmers of good characterization, but I'm afraid I never warmed up to Hugh. It could be the first person format, I rarely like that, but his words and thoughts came across as wooden to me. Also repetitive. I see much potential in Hugh, but in this story his thoughts were shallow and unfinished, as was his faith. I couldn't relate to a person who is set up to be very intelligent, but seems to behave almost simple-minded at times. I like my detectives to be the clever ones, ahead of the rest of the bunch.That being said, I still enjoyed this book, the feel of the town of Oxford, and the people there. I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to seek out the other novels in this series. I received this book for review from the Early Reviewers program on Library Thing.
  • (5/5)
    Hugh de Singleton is a 14th Century English surgeon who is also the bailiff, or general manager, for the estate of an important nobleman, Lord Gilbert, in the southeastern part of England. A perceptive and principled man for the times, de Singleton has emerged into kind of early police detective, who is kept busy by a continuous stream of crimes--major and minor--ranging from curfew violation to game poaching to murder. A Trail of Ink  is the 3rd book in the series. The medieval background enhances the reading experience while putting the clock back to a time before mysteries were solved by forensics. You can read this as a stand-alone mystery however I warn you, you will become attached to the character and times of Hugh de Singleton and will be back for more. I recommend this series for those who like a cozy mystery, a police procedural or just any murder mystery.