Thursday, December 15, 2016

"Lucifer's Harvest" by Mel Starr

I always look forward to the next installment in Mel Starr's Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. These books are unlike any others I've read, and I love them!

King Charles of France has announced that he is confiscating Aquitaine, and Prince Edward has sent for knights and men-at-arms from England to assist him in opposing the French king. Lord Gilbert Talbot is required to provide five knights, twelve squires, and twenty archers and men-at-arms, and he wishes his surgeon--Hugh de Singleton--to travel with the party, leaving Hugh's wife Kate to oversee the castle in their absence.

It won't be an easy journey. Among the party will be Sir Simon Trillowe, Kate's former suitor, who had once set fire to Hugh's house. After a brawl on the streets of Oxford, Sir Simon had nearly lost an ear; Hugh had sewn it back on, but when it healed crooked, Simon blamed Hugh for the disfigurement.

Finding himself in the company of his old nemesis, Hugh resolves not to turn his back on the knight--but it is Sir Simon who should not have turned his back.

Lucifer's Harvest, as with all of the books in this series, is written as Master Hugh's journal. I love this style, as it allows for humor (often self-deprecating) and foreshadowing.

Most of the novel focuses on Hugh's quest to find a murderer—which is often Hugh's quest in these novels. However, in Lucifer's Harvest, Hugh is the one who stands accused of murder, so the stakes for him are a bit higher. (No one truly believes him to be guilty—save, perhaps, the accuser—but he still must prove his innocence or face an untimely death.)

I really enjoyed trying to discern the murderer's identity along with Hugh. When the killer was revealed, while his identity didn't catch me off guard, the motive completely surprised me.

While I always love Mel Starr's novels, I think Lucifer's Harvest is one of my favorites. It's humorous, engaging, and oh so enjoyable. 5 stars.

See what others are saying, and buy the book.
Read my reviews of Starr's A Trail of Ink, Unhallowed Ground (5 stars), The Tainted Coin (4-1/2 stars), Rest Not in Peace (4-1/2 stars), The Abbot's Agreement (5 stars), and Ashes to Ashes (4 stars).

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Kregel Publications. 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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