The Abbot's Agreement, Chronicles OF Hugh De Singleton Series #7   -     By: Mel Starr
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The Abbot's Agreement, Chronicles OF Hugh De Singleton Series #7

Lion Fiction / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

Master Hugh de Singleton is making his way toward Oxford when he discovers the corpse of a young Benedictine not a half a mile from the Abbey.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1782641092
ISBN-13: 9781782641094
Series: Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton

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Publisher's Description

A new and disturbing puzzle for the medieval surgeon-turned-sleuth.

Product Reviews

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  1. PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK!
    February 7, 2015
    Moonpie
    PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I cannot get enough of Mel Starr! His books are amazing! Sometimes writers books will be extremely similar in many ways, but not Mr. Starr. Each book I have read is so varied in the plot and characters, plus there is always something new I learn historically. It is like historical lessons about the 1300s and super entertaining murder mysteries rolled into one!

    I am absolutely fascinated by Master Hughs practice of medicine during that time, and also challenging aspects of day to day living. It is obvious the author has done his research with his vivid descriptions and the detailed imaginary he brings to life through his writing. I appreciate especially how clean and wholesome his books are.

    Master Hugh plans to make a quick trip from his home in Bampton to Oxford to buy himself Bible he had long wanted. The only other Scripture he had was the book of John which he had copied by hand. He had 30 shillings with which to purchase it which would be the equivalent to over $800 today! Incredible considering most homes now have a minimum of 1 -3 Bibles. Arthur, the Sylvester Stallone of grooms, was going with him for protection. Hugh especially wanted to hurry back as his wife was expecting their second child soon.

    As they near an Abbey his attention is drawn to a large group of noisy birds feasting on something. He and Arthur stop to investigate and make a gruesome discovery. A novice from the Abbey lay dead and his face destroyed beyond recognition by the hungry fowl. After reporting the body to the Abbey, Hugh is ready to continue on his journey. Abbot Thrustan is weak and frail, and very persuasive. Knowing of Master Hughs skills he asks him to find the murderer. He offers to pay for and send a midwife to stay with Hughs wife Kate and also to give him a Bible for free. The latter Master Hugh and his pocket book cant refuse.

    While medicine, science and crime investigation in this era are minimal, Hugh Singleton more than compensates by making astute use of every faculty at his disposal. Even upon finding the body he was paying close attention to clues others would miss. He was a shrewd judge of character and could discern body language and attitudes of others with astonishing accuracy. His keen sense of humor and sharp mind bring the story even more to life.

    Anxious to collect his Bible and return home, he is discouraged by the lack of clues and the few leads he does have coming to a dead end. I even shared in his disappointments and even began to wonder how he would ever solve this murder. As his investigation progresses he not only finds himself and Arthur in danger, but uncovers even greater hidden crimes. Every time I was sure I knew who was guilty, new evidence would appear and the plot would change!

    Until reading this book I knew little about the lives of monks in medieval England. I found it quite intriguing and never realized how restrictive and ritualistic their abbey life was. One of my favorite parts of the book was Hughs primitive practice of medicine; it is always a different medical situation. Once again I was surprised the striking difference between healing then and today. I cant imagine suffering as people did with so little to help them.

    This book is filled with excitement, mystery, surprises, history, and faith. An exceptional book written by one of the best historical fiction writers of our time!

    I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  2. Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Medieval mystery with spiritual depth
    February 6, 2015
    Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    What an interesting and unusual story! I have long been a fan of British mysteries and am delighted to discover the medieval mysteries of Mel Starr. Seventh book in the Hugh de Singleton series, The Abbot's Agreement is centered around Eynsham Abbey in the fall of 1368. It's a world of castles, knights, monks, heresy, creative doctoring, and my favorite type of detection methods - questioning and observation. This is not an action-packed, fast-paced novel, but rather a steadily moving drama set during the 14th century, and all these elements are fleshed out by a narrative that contains some profound insight. Strong secondary characters - Abbot Thurstan, Brother Gerleys, and Arthur - added much richness. The Abbot's Agreement fascinated me and completely held my attention.

    Master Hugh, surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert Talbot, is a husband and father, with another child on the way, and we don't actually see Lord Talbot in this volume. The Abbot's Agreement stands alone, although I think reading the previous books would provide a deeper understanding of characterization and setting. These opening lines create a great sense of atmosphere . . .

    "My life would have been more tranquil in the days after Martinmas had I not seen the birds. . . . It is said that curiosity killed the cat. It can prove hazardous for meddlesome bailiffs as well."

    While I enjoyed the mystery element, this book's strength was the picture beautifully conveyed of medieval life in England. Not only does Mel have a wealth of knowledge and obvious love for those times, but he is able to communicate it in a way that draws readers in. With a lack of modern technology, medical practice and criminal detection were greatly challenged, yet triumphs occurred in ways that would surprise us today.

    There's another strength as well, and that is the spiritual insight that flowed throughout and gives cause for reflection. For example, in contrast to today - when Bibles are easily obtained, yet often gather dust - Master Hugh greatly desired his own copy of the Scriptures, and that's the meaning behind the title. In return for investigating the murder of a young novice, Abbot Thurstan promised to have scribes prepare a Bible for him, in the time between Martinmas (November 11) to St. John's Day (June 24).

    But I think my favorite part was when Master Hugh recited Scripture passages with a dying Abbot Thurstan - Scriptures about being forgiven and "cleansed from all unrighteousness" . . . presented "holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight." These words that bring us so much comfort and assurance were heretical thinking in those days, as evidenced in the words of Brother Gerleys: "Who will give us lands and shillings to pray for their souls if there is no purgatory from which they seek release?"

    I enjoyed The Abbot's Agreement very much and hope to read more of this series soon. Recommended, especially to those who enjoy historical mysteries.

    Thank you to Kregel for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  3. Ohio
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    My favorite in the series!
    February 6, 2015
    OhioSarah
    Ohio
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    As I sit and look at my bookshelves I see all the Bibles that I own, KJV, ESV, NKJV, NIV and so on so when Hughs latest chronicle starts it reminds it hasnt always been so easy or inexpensive to own a Bible as Hugh is setting out to buy at least a New Testament and if not that, then at least those written by Paul. Of course, he and Arthur become side tracked with the sighting of birds overhead which tells Hugh that there is something dead, he sets off to find a young novice who has been murdered. The Abbot makes a deal find who did the murder and Hugh will get his Bible as payment. Ive read the others (not the 1st and 2nd, yet) in this series and I think this has been my favorite so far, it was truly a page turner and kept me up late reading, which kept my mind from other things. The whodunit isnt easily figured out, at least it wasnt for me, and I enjoyed that just when I thought Hugh and I had figured it out there was another twist to the plot that threw us both off course.

    Of course I also enjoy the historical aspect of the story and the medical complexities that met Hugh as he traveled around trying to find a murderer. Hugh is ahead of his time in things like letting wounds open to the air instead of keeping them covered for best healing. Of course, there is the descriptions of food, which at times doesnt add to the plot but I think makes the story much more realistic.The other part of the book I enjoyed was the discussion between the dying Abbot (who knew one could die from a broken hip) and Hugh about purgatory and why would we need that to cleanse us when Christ already completed the work? This of course has the archdeacon labeling Hugh a heretic and he is arrested. I wont give away much more about the book because honestly if you enjoy medieval history, historical or just a good clean (meaning no cussing, s**, etc) mystery then this is a great book.

    **I was given a copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.
  4. Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Murder Of A Novice Mystery Investigation
    February 5, 2015
    VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Mel Starr in his new book, The Abbots Agreement Book Seven in the Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series published by Monarch Books returns us to Oxford in 1368 for another mystery involving the intrepid bailiff and surgeon.

    From the back cover: My life would have been more tranquil in the days after Martinmas had I not seen the crows. Whatever it was that the crows had found lay in the dappled shadow of the bare limbs of the oak, so I was nearly upon the thing before I recognized what the crows were feasting upon. The corpse wore black.

    Master Hugh is making his way towards Oxford when he discovers the young Benedictine a fresh body, barefoot not half a mile from the nearby abbey.

    The abbeys novice master confirms the boys identity: John, one of three novices. But he had gone missing four days previously, and his corpse is fresh. There has been plague in the area, but this was not the cause of death: the lad has been stabbed in the back.

    To Hughs sinking heart, the abbot has a commission for him . . .

    An Abbot is the leader of an abbey and he decides that Master Hugh should investigate the murder of one of his novices. All he was doing was passing through to go home. He really doesnt know anyone but that is going to change quickly. Now Hugh has to go through the possible suspects with all their motives to figure out which one of them did it. The Abbots Agreement is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed in the characters as well as life in England in the 1300s. I have become a huge fan of Mel Starr and am fantastically pleased with his creation: Hugh de Singleton. These mysteries that he gets involved with are complicated and thoroughly enjoyable. I think Mel Starr is an extremely talented writer who really knows how to tell a story that will grab you and keep you flipping pages until you find out who did it. I am already looking forward to the next book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Monarch Books. 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  5. Texas
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Glad I read this one, but will not continue...
    February 2, 2015
    S Scales
    Texas
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    The Abbots Agreement is from Mel Starrs Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton. Actually it is the 7th book, which I did not realize. (I try not to choose a book from the middle of a series. I feel that there is normally a sense of loss not starting from the beginning with the characters and seeing them grow through their experiences.) I did not have time to read the first six before ;) , but the book worked out as my first book from The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton. There was a few small references that I assumed were from Master Hughs previous adventures written in the other chronicles.

    The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton series is set in medieval England with the main character of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert. The Abbots Agreement starts out with Hugh traveling to Oxford to purchase a Bible. He travels with Arthur, a groom in the service of Lord Gilbert. (From my reading of this book I also assume that Arthur has been involved in the other adventures.) The body of a young novice from the nearby Eynsham Abbey is found on their journey and changes Hughs plans dramatically. The abbot from the abbey asked Hugh to look in to the crime in exchange for the brothers to make him his Bible. Is this agreement worth it?!

    Mel Starr includes a glossary at the beginning of the book just in case his readers arent familiar with the medieval terms. I read through it before I started the novel to give me a little bit of background information. I have not read any books set in the medieval times! However, I found it very tedious to go back and forth while I was reading the story. Therefore I stopped using it for the most part and I was able to follow the story and enjoy it. I did get lost in some of the titles and names.

    I enjoyed seeing how Master Hugh investigated a crime in this time period, without all the technology of today. My favorite part of the book was the humorous exchanges between Hugh and Arthur when Arthur helped a with a couple guys who werent as cooperative!! While it was an interesting and entertaining read, Im not sure I will check out the beginning of the chronicles. Maybe laterright now I would rather read a book in a setting that is easier for me to step into as a reader.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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