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 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.
Disappointing in its repetition, stock characters, and weak plotting. By the time I (finally) reached the end, I didn't care who had done what.
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.
The story ranks in my top 15 but it might actually be 15. That's not a bad thing with the amount of listening I've done.
There are many memorable moments. The author keeps you constantly on edge with the potential of something bad happening to someone good.
I personally love Mr. Gardner's voice and delivery (ie: The Stand, Hangman's Daughter) His deliberate pauses and vocal inflection's based on the character speaking, make you forget there is just one person reading. What I get from listening to him is the closest thing to an ensemble performance.
No, it was better to stretch it out over 3 days, to savor it. I never enjoy having a good book or series come to an end I always fear not being able to find another.
This story is nearly on par with The Mathew Corbett Mysteries (Robert McCammon). It's a similar setting and time. That's also a series that draws you in and won't let go.
No, I didn't even finish the book because it could not keep my attention. My husband and I like to listen to audiobooks on long roadtrips, and we just could not listen to this one for very long before deciding it is awful.
If the narrator hadn't read so quickly.
Probably not, unless I knew he hadn't read so quickly.
Maybe my brain is just slow, but this is the first audio book I've listened to that I couldn't keep up with all the details. I got the Audible version at a reduced price after buying the Kindle edition, and only listened for a few minutes before I was lost in all the descriptions that I couldn't keep track of simply because they came at machine-gun rates. I switched to reading the Kindle version and found I had missed about half of the details! I read books for the details, so this was unacceptable to me.I'm not a veteran audio book listener, but I've listened to well over a dozen in my time. I've never heard one narrated in such a rushed manner. Buyer beware!
surprising, suspense thriller
It was different from other stories I've been listening to due to the change in setting (time period).
I liked how his voice was nice to listen to and changed when necessary.
I really liked this story. The narration was a bit dry but I did appreciate the pronunciation of unfamiliar German words. I thoroughly enjoyed the character of The Hangman.
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.
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