In general I love historical fiction and this book seemed like it would have lots going for it. But it failed in every aspect of it. The characters were flat, boring and cliche. The plot moved extremely slowly and 'clues' were gone over again and again and again and then again a few chapters later, in case you forgot. The whole book could have been half the length without losing anything. The translation was stilted, especially with idioms and phrases. For those who might be faint of heart, the descriptions of torture and killing is not extremely graphic but presented in a very matter-of-fact way. Probably not for everyone.
My biggest problem with the book was continuity errors and plot holes. The editor of this book needs to be fired. Sometimes it's little things, like the main characters get covered in clay dust which they can't get off, and an hour later when one goes to town to get help, no one asks why they're all covered in dirt. When you find out who did it, I invite you to go back and read the initial descriptions of this character's physical characteristics and then read the big confrontation scene again. See the problem? Appalling.
In the middle of the book, I thought I'd be giving this book maybe 3 stars and say that it was kind of ok for listening to in the car, but the completely frustrating plot hole at the end was the final turn of the thumb-screw for me. I confess: I hated this book. Would not recommend, will not buy the sequel.
I was between books and was looking for something that would be mildly entertaining. I noticed that these series of books had really gotten good reviews, so I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try.
This story held my interest throughout the book and whenever I had to stop, I somewhat impatiently waited to have time to pick it up again. The story weaves in and out without losing the reader and the characters are fully developed. The story comes to a satisfactory end, not one that leaves you hanging.
As soon as I finished, I bought the next in the series. If you purchase this book/audiobook, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
PS: Grover Gardner is an excellent narrator, as usual.
Most definitely kept me on the edge. Peril lies at every turn.
They are all performed superbly. Simon was my favorite character, but that is mainly due to the author's development of the character.
I have not read the print version but did like the audio version.
At the very end, the author spoke of researching his family ancestry and finding much of the material, the people, he used in this book. The story was fiction but he used enough of the reality of the time to write an interesting and intriguing mystery.
The Hangman and his daughter.
It's the mid-1500's; will the town's hangman solve the mystery before he is require to do his job?
The idea that the town's executioner should be more worried about justice than the burghers is a great premise. The story moves along, but the repetition in the prose is off-putting. Character development is slow and that's not always bad - but in this case, some of the major characters are still incomplete at the end of the book. Hints are given, but clarity would be nice. I found it strange that the reformation was totally ignored.
reading is pure joy
better writing/story/characters. Characters are sterotypes -- good wise women accused of being witches, evil fat money bags, a limping badguy who is the devil incarnate because he is named so, and the best a hero hangman "sorry i have to torture you because otherwise i can't be around to prove you innocent" -- and too many modern sensibilities for what should be a recreation of the 1600's. The tie the innocent girl to the train tracks plot set in a poorly depicted medieval town.
not his fault
This was a great book, very engaging, but the narrator was just awful! Lacking any inflection, he rattled on in a monotone, even when describing some really harrowing bits of the story. Still well worth a listen, I wish I'd read the book, since I think I would have given this a 5-star rating. The narrator almost killed it for me.
I enjoyed the German history, and the insights into the methods and expertise of hangmen during the 17th century. The narration was engaging and well performed. Though the story was a bit long-winded at times, and lacked momentum towards the end.
I find I quite enjoy this story. It is not life- changing in any way, but still slightly addicting and very entertaining. I do find that I wish I'd have gotten a version in the original language, however. This reader's attempts at reading any occurring German names, verses or phrases is so bad that I, a fluent speaker of the language, cannot understand what he is saying. If you understand German, I'd recommend you to not get this version, and rather take the trouble of trying to dig up a German one.
I'm not sure if this is just a poor translation or what, but it's one of the worst books I've ever listened to. I stuck with it to the end, and was disappointed by everything--story, characters, and especially the dialogue.
The Winter King
I wouldn't listen to it again. I was over it before the story was done but kept with it just in case it got better. It didn't.