Review: 'The Unquiet Bones' by Mel Starr
The first in the Hugh de Singleton chronicles, 'The Unquiet Bones' is both historic fiction and mystery -- a delightful, if unusual, combination of the two. There's enough of each to satisfy an aficionado of either genre.
Set in medieval England in the 14th century, the story begins with the reader meeting Hugh de Singleton, educated at both Oxford and in Paris, eventually to become a surgeon, but never certified as a physician.
Hugh, being the youngest son, will not inherit his father's meager estate, so he puts his board out advertising his service as a surgeon in what today would be considered a flea bag hotel. Business is just busy enough to provide a hand-to-mouth existence for the new surgeon when fate intervenes.
Right beneath Hugh's window, a local lord riding into town loses control of the horse he is riding and receives a nasty kick to his thigh. Hugh scrambles to the lord and does his best work in stitching up the ensuing wound.
The lord is impressed with Hugh's ministrations and with his good sense. Before long, Hugh is given the opportunity to become the surgeon at Bampton Castle.
Not many days after Hugh's arrival at the castle, human bones are found in a most unusual place. The task for identification of the victim and determining the manner of death falls to Hugh. He is soon embroiled in solving the mystery, a task he is uncertain he can fulfill.
Throughout 'The Unquiet Bones,' bits and pieces of true history is to be found, including Bampton Castle, a "cameo appearance" of John Wycliffe and the use of words authentic to the time period. Have no fear -- the author has provided a glossary to aid in understanding of the terms.
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