Germany, 1659: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at the stake just 70 years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead - marked by the same tattoo - the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos.
Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the very woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth. With the help of his clever daughter, Magdelena, and Simon, the university-educated son of the town’s physician, Jakob discovers that a devil is indeed loose in Schongau. But it may be too late to prevent bloodshed.
©2011 Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translation) (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The biggest problem with this book is that the narrator is flat and monotonous. If this were a history lecture all the students would be asleep, but since the story is interesting, you should be able to stay conscious. I did have to do an eye-roll when one of the good guys was finally confronting the bad guy and they both felt the need to spill their guts, explaining every single action they had each taken to get them to that point (even those things the reader already knew) - I thought it was overkill and a bit on the sappy side. I almost expected the bad guy to say something like "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids". Other than that, it was a nice read and the historical context credible. I will definitely check out this author's other books.
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.
the Post Script for this book was very interesting. It explains the inspiration was based on the author's family lineage: a family history of "public executioners".
The author found several manuscripts that confirmed his family's "business" was that of hangman, passed down from generation to generation. The author has chosen the "last hangman" to hang this story upon.
The story is a murder mystery. The hangman, named Jakob Kuisl, doesn't want to see an innocent person wrongly blamed for the crime, so he sets out to discover the truth.
The backdrop is an earthy backdrop of Medieval Germany, and brings sights, sounds, and smells of the past to life. The superstitions of the common folk are also keenly felt, and accusations of witchcraft and devilry complicate the hangman's task.
A great mystery from the past. I thought the book was an accurate account of the torture practices of a hangman. I loved the story and the narration. The only downside was the names of the characters. Some were so similar, that it was hard to keep up with.
If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again there is no use in reading it at all. Oscar Wilde
The Hangmans daughter was an excellent story I think it was 5 stars. I would have to say it was right up there with guernsey literary and potato peel society . Definatly worth the credit.
No I have not listened to any of Grover Gardner's performances but I do think that he was very good.
Life went on dispite all the dying.
It gave me a vivid picture of life in a 17th century village..
He got the German accent right..
Yes - and I did..
A really thrilling story that I couldn't see the ending and was really surprised at who the villain was.. LOVED IT!!
well-written period piece. Dark action, no boring lulls. I rarely venture outside of my nonfiction or classics but this risk was well worth it. Seemed pretty accurate, time-wise. Reaffirms my atheism with all the superstitious nonsensical beliefs of that era. Narration was pleasant.
"The Hangman's Daughter"
Excellent - don't pass this one up! I wish I could find more historical novels like this. Having grown weary of novels set in Tudor times, I found this little gem while browsing historical crime/thrillers. Set in seventeenth century Bavaria it involves a reluctant executioner, a midwife accused of witchcraft, a young physician and, of course, the hangman's daughter. The plot involves a village with with a less than scrupulous town council and the lengths some would go to in order to cover their greed. The characters were well drawn and the author made me feel I was right there living the story.
If you like historical novels you will love this book. I do not know if the author has written any other books, but I will definitely be searching. Don't forget to listen to the author's notes at the end. Very revealing!
"Spoilt by the narrator"
This is a good story though a little slow to start. A promising start to the series. I may read the rest of the series rather than have them on audible because the narration is simply appalling. Like listening to a robot with an annoying american drawl
Unusual story which I struggled to put down. Found the narrator a bit off until I got used to him, after which it was fine. I love books about subjects which are new to me, and this was one of the better ones.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this at first. Not even sure why I downloaded this. As it turned out once started I found it difficult to stop listening. Perhaps the fact that the story is based upon a real family history made it so believable. Certainly Grover Gardner delivers the performance that I have come to expect - just the right voice for this story.
Report Inappropriate Content