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 love learning everything about German history, so this was right up my alley. I did learn about life in the mid-1600s. It was a rough period in history - witchcraft and serious misguided understandings of how the body works abounded. Luckily there were people, who were onto to something with their herbal remedies and who were suspicious of bloodletting and wary of the accepted belief about the humors of the human body.
Other than that, this book really offered nothing. I was completely let down by this story. I only gave it the two stars I did, because I really liked the hangman and the physician characters. (Why the author named the book after the hangman's daughter I don't know.) I also thought the narrator did a good job presenting the hangman's dialog, although at first it bothered me that he didn't speak with a German accent.
The story was way too long for the simple plot and in the end it fizzled out. I don't think I will read the next book in the series.
"The Hangman's Daughter"---just the title drew me in, promising a story of murder and intrigue, surrounding or at least involving the title character. Well, there's murder, but none of it is intriguing, and none of it really has anything to do with the title that drew me in. There's a Hangman. He has a daughter, but she doesn't do much besides look pretty and occasionally say something that will make the real main characters jump to a conclusion about the rote mystery they are investigating. I found it hard to care what any of the thin characters were doing at any given moment, least of all her. The mystery isn't so much a mystery as layers of convolution to drag out the lax narrative. I will say the narrator's performance was pretty good, but when what he's reading is such a waste of time, who cares?
I love historical fiction, and especially enjoyed that it is the author's ancestors. The narration & pronunciation of people's names was interesting. So were the characters and social rankings of the times. It was descriptive that I could picture the story happening as I listened to it.
so glad I followed through, everything about this book was awesome. I'm usually not terribly into murder/suspense/mystery but this one had me by the gut from chapter one.
is the story good? I really tried, but couldn't take the narration.
the story seems to take place in late medieval germany, but the narration is flat middle american. The translation seems a bit awkward as well.
This book was written ok and the narrator did an ok job. I do not feel that I wasted a credit on this book, however, was disappointed with it. The end seemed abrupt, this just wasn't my style.
"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
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.
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.
Went on a little longer than expected and felt a bit confusing at times but likeable all the same. I will probably try another in the series, but not immediately.
"A very unusual take on the usual crime/thriller .."
Unusual ...Medieval ...murder/mystery
The fact the Hangman, who fulfils the traditional role of 'investigating detective' in a crime/thriller model, isn't 2-dimensional 'squeaky clean' - he's a hangman and also a torturer. So the usual tired formula of crime/thrillers doesn't apply here - he even has to torture completely innocent people, and yet remain a character that you think of positively.
His narration is very appropriate for the type of story and the timescale. I think possibly without Grover I don't know if I would have got through the book simply reading it.
Not particularly - it's a crime/thriller, probably in the genre of a Cadfael novel except the setup is with the Hangman as the investigator rather than a monk.
It has been a light, interesting insight into germanic medieval history. The author was inspired to write the stories after researching his family history and discovering he was descended from a medieval hangman. So, it is interesting to note the true-life historical elements of the story.
This story is fantastic a sort of ancient Bavarian murder she wrote although there is actual history and events written into the book. The narrator is perfect for this series and makes the books even better.
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