Monday, January 21, 2013


When Kregel Publications offered a free review copy of The Tainted Coin for our review it immediately caught our interest. Turns out it was a book well worth reading, very much so, in fact. 
This novel is the fifth in a chronicle of surgeon, Hugh de Singleton, and takes place in Bampton, England in 1367.  As bailiff to the Lord of the area, it is his duty to investigate crimes. Awakened early in the morning, he is summoned to a grisly scene where a man has been beaten. The man ultimately dies, but before he does he whispers his last words, “They didn’t get me coin.”

When examining him, Singleton finds an ancient Roman coin hidden in his mouth. 
What follows is a chase to locate the villains and the family of the deceased. With the help of groom, Andrew, Master Hugh discovers further mystery in the victim’s home. Ultimately, Master Hugh’s wife and small daughter are threatened, requiring protection for them and further motivating him to locate those responsible for the murder. 
His exploits result in the unexpected rescue of a rather disagreeable young woman who has been held captive for ransom and then the ultimate rescue of one of the men who was guarding her. This subplot alone makes the book worth reading.  
The only criticism I have of this novel is that I expected something more mysterious regarding the ancient coin. It had no magical powers and didn’t lead Master Hugh to any satisfying conclusions about it. Why hide an ancient coin in your mouth while you’re being beaten? It wouldn’t have revealed the location of an ancient treasure. Maybe our victim realized it would verify to his attackers that he actually had found a treasure?  I wanted more clarity on that one facet of the story. Meanwhile, Master Hugh doesn’t locate the source of treasure either, but it is out there and might figure into a future novel, perhaps? 
Eventually, our hero’s quest discovers the guilty men and provides a bright future for a poor widow, her two children, and the man she marries. To tell you anymore would give too much away. Read the book, it’s an enjoyable read.  
I hope to go back and read the first four books in the Series that chronicle the life of Master Hugh, The Unquiet Bones, A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel, A Trail of Ink, and Unhallowed Ground. The titles are intriguing and Master Hugh de Singleton is a fascinating character.
—Gail Lewis

FYI: The Tainted Coin's blog tour runs until Friday, Jan 25th. During this period, Kregel is offering the Kindle version for just $5.00. Click HERE to go to Amazon for savings.

Product Details:

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (December 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0857212508
ISBN-13: 978-0857212504

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