Book Review: Lucifer’s Harvest

12 Dec

514ihgwgogl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Lord Gilbert Talbot must provide soldiers for Prince Edward’s battle in France. He wishes his surgeon–Hugh de Singleton–to travel with the war party to tend any injuries. Among those on the road is Sir Simon Trillowe, Hugh’s old nemesis, who had once torched Hugh’s house.

Finding himself in the same war party, Hugh resolves to watch his back in the presence of the knight, who is still holding a grudge. But it is Sir Simon who should not have turned his back….

When Trillowe’s body is found, many suspect Hugh has wreaked revenge on his adversary. To clear his name, Hugh must once again riddle a reason for murder.


authorMel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an 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 married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Naperville, IL, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.


My Impressions:

The tenth installment of The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon, Lucifer’s Harvest, continues the adventures of Master Hugh as he accompanies the military campaign of Prince Edward of England as he seeks to recover his lands in Acquitaine. Hugh’s role of surgeon may keep him out of direct military involvement, but it does not keep him from danger. The death of his nemesis mobilizes Hugh to uncover the murderer before he finds himself on the end of a rope.

Mel Starr does a great job of bringing medieval society to life. In Lucifer’s Harvest, the emphasis is on war. Starr’s impeccable research is evident in the detail portrayed in the story. Warfare was very different in the 14th century than it is today, and I found the strategy and weapons used very interesting. Hugh, as always, is resourceful in his investigations. With only limited understanding of science and forensics, his intelligence and intuition keep him on track. Hugh is dedicated to truth in all things. His religious views border on the heretical for the time, but add to the thoughtfulness of his examination of human motives and God’s justice. Lucifer’s Harvest is a bit darker than Starr’s previous books. Life is precarious and death comes for all, young and old. The pragmatism in a time of low life expectancies and high child mortality does not subtract from the grief and sorrow of a loss.

It is not necessary to read the previous 9 books of the series to enjoy Lucifer’s Harvest, but I definitely recommend beginning from the beginning of this series. All the books get a recommended rating from me.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



4 Responses to “Book Review: Lucifer’s Harvest”

  1. English Lady December 13, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    I’ve read all the Hugh de Singleton books except this one, haven’t quite got around to it yet, though its been on my shelf since September. Mean to read it soon. I do like the series, probably for the same reasons as you, and because I like the details about surgery and medicine.


    • rbclibrary December 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

      This one is good, but not my favorite. I love how Hugh can use his very limited scientific knowledge to solve the case. I hope Starr will feature Kate a bit more.


      • English Lady December 14, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

        I’m not sure Medieval scientific knowledge was as limited as we think, but I know what you mean. I like Kate a lot, and I love seeing her in them. I’d like to see a bit more of Master Wycliffe too, and maybe even some other prominient figures from the time. Perhaps John of Gaunt?


      • rbclibrary December 14, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

        I liked the addition of more historical figures. Modern readers are used to their sleuths having DNA evidence and access to internet data bases, etc. It is refreshing to see someone using his wits to solve a case. Of course, the modern forensics we see on TV are not available as widely as they want us to believe, either. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by!


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