It is 1648, a small village in the Alps: In the thick of a blizzard,a town priest discovers he’s been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength and scratches a sign in the frost that will lead the town hangman, his daughter, and the town physician in pursuit of a treasure of the Knights Templar. But the priest’s murderer is already on their trail, and he’s not the only one after the legendary fortune: a dark monk is not far behind,and a band of thieves is roving the countryside, attacking solitary travelers and spreading panic. The race is on, and the stakes are high.
Delivering on the promise of his first book, Oliver Pötzsch takes readers on a whirlwind tour through the occult hiding places of Bavaria’s ancient monasteries, bringing to life the compassionate hangman - who’s destined to join the ranks of literature’s most beloved characters.
©2012 Oliver Pötzsch (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I really liked The Hangman’s Daughter, so I was hoping the sequel, The Dark Monk, would be just as good. Well, I actually liked the sequel more than the original book (by just a bit). The author, Oliver Pötzsch, is very good at pacing the narrative so it moves along quickly and never lags or falters. Either Pötzsch has a talented editor or he is graced with a marvelous gift for narrative. Admittedly, there are perhaps just a few too many cliff-hangers, but then you are carried along with the flow of the narrative and don’t realize that until later assuming you think about what you’ve read (or heard). I’m not sure the books are meant to do anything but entertain, but they give you a glimpse of life in 17th century Germany (and by implication much of Europe as well). Jakob Kuisl is the Executioner of Schongau, and he is the lens through which you view the interesting if brutal life of the time. The Hangman’s Daughter series is unique; it’s history mystery at its very best. As for Audible’s narrator, Grover Gardner, I can think of no one today whose voice and narrative skills would be better. His elocution and pronunciation are just right, and the voice seems appropriate to his subject.
I liked "The Dark Monk" better than its predecessor, "The Hangman's Daughter." It tells a better story, and it has fewer horrific descriptions of Midieval torture. (Yes, I know that this story technically takes place during the Reformation, but the people and villages depicted here still seem locked deep in the Middle Ages.) I also liked it better because of Pötzsch's increased inclusion of herbology in this story. Here, Pötzsch speculates about the original discovery of Penicillin, attributing it to one of his characters. Such speculation makes some sense: Practicing herbalists may, indeed, have quietly discovered the antibiotic properties of certain molds prior to Alexander Flemming's official discovery of Penicillium rubens in 1928. With "The Hangman's Daughter," Pötzsch built a tale around one of his real 17th-century forebears: a veritable village executioner. Whodathunk that anyone could make a hero out of someone who tortures and murders for a living? I, personally, find this character difficult to believe -- an executioner with a gentle heart and the gift of healing? However, if you can swallow that premise, then you might like "The Dark Monk," in which the executioner, his daughter, and her lover solve another mystery. And what a mystery they solve: the location and nature of the lost Templar treasure! The narrator, Grover Gardner, also does a better job with this audiobook than he did with "The Hangman's Daughter," using a wider variety of voices to distinguish the characters. He doesn't have very good accents in his repertory, but he makes attempts, as necessary. I hesitate to say this -- because "The Hangman's Daughter" contains a lot of harrowing scenes of cruelty -- but you will probably enjoy "The Dark Monk" better if you have listened to "The Hangman's Daughter" first. You stand forewarned.
I like the series, but wish that more time had been used to round out the tale. Alot of the plot smacks of the fantasical - too much so for a book that's supposed to be an historical novel. I really want to like to like it more than I actually do.
I also like the timeframe and backdrop for the story. I look forward to more from Oliver....
Perhaps it is due to the translation, but the writing is bland. If my German was better, I would have liked to hear the story in its original language. Maybe it would have been better.
The author inserting himself less in the story.
The story didn't sit right with me. The author continually inserted himself like he was teaching a history lesson. The author also interjected himself repeatedly to explain things that were going on as if the reader is to dumb to follow the story line. The dialogue was weird and very unnatural. I kept thinking, "people just don't talk like this". I forced myself to carry on till the end because it was ranked 4 stars... I just don't see why it has that ranking. The premise of the story is good... but poorly executed in my estimation.
If you have read any of these books, the storyline will be familiar and you will find comfort in the predictable nature of the outcome. A bit too corny some times, but a good listen.
enlightening, different perspective
Magdelena, she was strong and daring.
His voices were great. He did an excellent job of pronouncing the German names and places.
The excitement of being a hangman and hidden pillar of the community.
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