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 find I quite enjoy this story. It is not life- changing in any way, but still slightly addicting and very entertaining. I do find that I wish I'd have gotten a version in the original language, however. This reader's attempts at reading any occurring German names, verses or phrases is so bad that I, a fluent speaker of the language, cannot understand what he is saying. If you understand German, I'd recommend you to not get this version, and rather take the trouble of trying to dig up a German one.
The premise for this book is intriguing, but in reality it falls far short of even being remotely good. If it wasn't for some farely graphic descriptions of violence I would have thought that it was aimed at the young adult or even children's market.
Some of the istorical background is interesting but the story itself is barely credible. Again and again our heroes are saved by coincidences and occurrances which stretch the definition of Deus ex machina to its absolute limit.
Lastly, the dialogue is wooden and many passages often repeat themselves.
It is possible that some of these faults are due to a poor translation from the original german, but it doesn't excuse the tissue thin plot and eventual resolution.
There are many other historical who done its out there which are more worthy of your credits.
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.
I enjoyed the German history, and the insights into the methods and expertise of hangmen during the 17th century. The narration was engaging and well performed. Though the story was a bit long-winded at times, and lacked momentum towards the end.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
THEN SHE KISSED HIM ON THE MOUTH. IT WAS BETTER THEN COFFEE.
This book does start with a gory, painful execution. The Hangman is also the town torturer, maker of love potions, etc... and it is bad luck to even look at him. His daughter is beautiful, but as the Hangman's daughter, she is ostracized by the town folk. The story is a multiple murder mystery of children, an adventure and a great look at the 1700's in Germany. The way people treat each other is unbelievable to us today. It was a hard world, with lots of poor uneducated people, taken advantage of by the rich.
As you would expect from a world like this, there are some strong characters. This is a character driven story of which the Hangman is outstanding. You will fall in love with his daughter who is also a strong willed character. She and a doctor (son of a bleeder) fall in love, but like Romeo and Juliet, it is not allowed. In the story a woman is accused of witchcraft and blamed for the death of the children. The Hangman knows she is innocent, but it is his job to torture her and get her confession. He with the help of the doctor must find out who is actually killing the kids before the accused witch confesses. Meanwhile the town starts accusing everything on witches and more people are accused of witchcraft.
At the end there is an afterword by the author. He has thoroughly researched this period. He got interested because he was tracing his own family roots and he discovered this line of Hangmen in his family history. This is educational as well as entertaining, my favorite way of learning about history.
I loved every minute of this book, and I am purchasing the sequel today. If you buy it before 4/21/15 you can get it for $6.99. If you like the type of books I like, I don't know how you can pass that up.
I don't mind the long commute anymore. Sometimes I even drive around town just to get to place I can stop.
Oliver has done a fantastic job with his research. It is easy to tell that this series close to his heart. I lived near where the books take place for several years, so for me it was even more interesting. I hope he continues to write in this series.
He made you feel like you were watching a movie. I felt like I was there in the village looking for the missing children, with the young doctor and the hangman.
I read the book using my Kindle Unlimited membership, I didn't realize I also received the Audio book free with the Kindle version. I couldn't put it down, I stayed up to 3:00am two nights in a row. The time would just disappear, I didn't want to put it down. The story was different than the books I usually read. I never knew or really thought about days when a Hangman was needed. I learned a lot.
Yes, and I have several times. I even bought it as a Christmas gift for my father.
He has a great way of speaking and it was nice to hear how the names were supposed to be said instead of the way they read in my language. Such as the character "Simon" which sounds more like "Zeeman". I highly recommend it.
The author provided a very diverse set of characters and told the story from all of their different angles, and it was full of detail and background information that lead to a very intriguing tale and colorful world to both get lost in and be horrified by.
"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!
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.
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