This is a book that deserves an "A" for effort and a "C" for execution. It is clear that the author has spent a considerable amount of time researching the times, and has spent considerable creative energy imagining the lives of ordinary people who lived in the era. But somehow that has not translated into a compelling narrative. The writing and situations seem somewhat off, and I found it impossible to really get into it. There are books of the genre that I love, like "The Name of the Rose" and others. Anyone who has read these books know that it requires considerable authorial skill to build up the environment in such a way that the reader becomes eased into the story, and the situations of the time start feeling natural. The problem in this case is that the characters behave like they are on stage and being watched by a 21sth century audience. I'm know I'm not being very precise but that is the way it struck me.
The situation is not helped by the narrator, who sounds like he is narrating a boring basketball game with a lowbrow American accent. Not that I've anything against American accents, it just does not suit the story. He also uses the same pseudo-excited tone for both the story and the characters' voices, which further detracts from the credibility of the overall work. They should have found a trained voice actor who may have done justice to the accents we'd expect from that period.
Yes, most definitely, in fact, I plan to read the entire series! I love a good series with great characters and this one is fantastic.
When the Hangman woke the midwife and told her that she was cleared and could go home. Also when he ran to his daughter on the road after she broke free from her captors. The love of the physician's son even though the Hangman's daughter was shunned by the villagers added romantic moments without turning the story into a soap opera.
The Hangman is an unexpected hero. Even though he is an executioner, he is portrayed as a very sensitive individual with a sense of justice. The physician's son is a wonderful character as well. The author's note at the end of the story adds a fascinating historical note. This novel was inspired by his ancestors who were executioners. There are stories about knights, kings and peasants but never about the executioner! I highly recommend this book!
I love the medieval era books. This first book was jst a shot in the dark as i dont have a new author yet to follow. This one was suggested on the home screen as a must read so i gave it a chance and have since listened to the whole series. You wont b disappointed! if you are a fan of Ken Follett i really think you will like this. If you do like this and have not had the chance to read ken follett i advise you to do so.
It definitely puts a different spin on an executioners life. I enjoyed the book. I had to read it because of all the hype.
I would also recommend Speaks the Nightbird for historical fiction.
I am a serious Bibliophile and audio-bibliophile! I have lofty reading and listening goals!
The story was descriptive without being overly wrought with details. The pace of the story and narrative was top-notch. The Narrator....brilliant!
Yes....lot's a twists and turns.
Words can't explain how good his performance was!
I found Grover Gardner to be hard to listen to at first, but as the multiple characters entered the story he did an impressive job altering tone and inflection along with volume and pace to differentiate them easily.
The story would have been even more enjoyable had I heard the post-script first; that this fiction piece is actually rooted in true to life events with many real characters. The author of course takes creative license but now knowing many of the people and places, and the main story line are actual events makes it that much more enjoyable for me.
It's a little slow in the middle but there's good character development and it's a good story. Overall definitely worth the listen.
The book provides a engaging tale in early Reformation Bavaria. The mystery plot is reasonably well done, though there is no shocking surprises at the end. While there is an overall predictability to how things would end up, there are enough plot twists to keep it interesting. The descriptions of the witch-hunt mentality, from the aristocracy to the peasantry, appear authentic. The characters have believable and varied personalities that make them enjoyable, although one does not become deeply attached. I found it a very intriguing window into an area I knew only tangentially, and it made for most engaging listening.
Very well read.
Good details of life of a hangman and how they lived on the fringe of society.
After having heard Mr. Gardner's performance, even when I read other books from the series I hear his voice in my head!
The narrator helps to bring the period to life and you get a sense of the lives of the characters.
A great read and listen. The series is wonderful.
A bit grim at times but the story is laid out well and entertaining to listen to.
First, if you don't want to hear graphic descriptions of torture and life in the mid-1600s then you might want to avoid this book. The local midwife has been accused of witchcraft and tossed in prison. Back in those days people were tortured until they got a confession so there are several descriptive torture scenes. The townspeople believe in witchcraft and devils (this story takes place 70 years after the witch trials where about 60 women were accused of witchcraft and killed) and see signs of it in the most innocent of things and hysteria starts to rise and demands are made for the midwife/witch to be killed. Mob mentality arises and has to be subdued.
As I said earlier, the book gets very graphic in descriptions of the hangman's trade and also other atrocities committed by the mercenaries of the time and also the treatment of women and children.
The title is a little misleading in that even though the hangman does have a daughter and she plays a small role, the majority of the book is centered around the hangman and the university-educated son of the local doctor trying to figure out who is responsible for the murders and destruction of property since they believe in the midwife's innocence.
This book reminded me a little of Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon which centered around a witch trial in 1699. If you enjoyed that book you would probably enjoy this one as well.