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.
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 historical setting and personal connection of the author to the characters are all part of what make this so enjoyable. There is something about these characters that immediately hooked me. Grover Gardner's performance is, as usual, flawless.
Yes; lots of little twists and turns and surprises.
One thing most people will notice is his correct pronunciation of names, places and other things like herbs and weapons. If I had read this, I would have mispronounced just about every name. Gardner's voice is just awesome, though. Probably my favorite narrator out there.
"Hangmen have feelings too."
The series only goes up from here. Seriously, as good as this first installment is, the rest only get better and better.
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