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.
There were a mix of reviews from not finishing the book to a great story. I finished all three and found them enjoyable.
This was an interesting well spun story. I enjoyed the historical detail interwoven with fiction. The author does a great job developing the characters, book three develops the history of the main character of the hangman.
Narration is enjoyable and brings the book to life. All in all a book I would recommend.
There were times when the dialogue was so gruesome that it was difficult to stomach. On the other hand I love authenticity in historical novels and this one embraced the superstition, gross ignorance, base cruelty and hard life of Renaissance Bavarian in graphic details. Good story, well told but I don't think my wife will ever want to hear the sequels! I may have to listen on my own.
this is a mystery written in simple, plain language. It is engaging from the word go and while it certainly is a bit gruesome at times it is never gross. Also, and I was rather schocked by this, while the plot is fictional the ' world...." the details of what an executioner's life was like in 1600's germany are supposed to be historically acurate. I say supposed to be because how the heck would I know... but it rings true.
I contrast this with another book I downloaded at the same time that launched into a complicated explaination of the political structure of the world using affected language .... turned me off totally. This is a story well told and you do come to understand the politics of the place as things happen. Its a good story.
A better reader to start with. I felt I was being read to from a young adult book. There was absolutely no zip to it considering the tale it was telling.
A different reader - not so dragged out. This is one of the first books I have read in a long time that I didn't finish. I found I could drive miles and be distracted by something else and didn't miss enough of the book to rewind.
ID give it a try - i find not all readers are for all books- except perhaps Humphrey Bowers.
It could have been an intriguing story but is was too dragged out - or the reader didnt do it justice. I'm still puzzled by that one. It could be a combination of both. Or just the translation
The story builds on the little clues and is not obvious.
Great voice, easy on the ears. Pronunciation of main character names, I was totally messing them up when I started the book on Kindle.
Several times while listening, I contemplated stopping but didn't. I continued on, thinking that maybe I wasn't in the right mood or was too distracted to enjoy. Then at about halfway through I thought, this book sounds like a bad translation of something else - then I remembered it *is* a translation, and a pretty bad one.
Every sentence is an awkward, almost painful marriage of German words and modern American slang, tied together using only the plainest wording choices possible.
In all fairness to the author, this might be an awesome book in it's own language. Unfortunately, the translation acts like literary weed killer, leaving nothing but dead, dry husks of sentences that may once have been flowers or weeds.
Having read many great translations (the Alexander books by Valerio Massimo Manfredi comes to mind), I really never gave a second thought to whether a book was translated or not. From now on, I suppose I should.
I give 3 stars for story because it may be good, and it may be bad - I don't know.
4 stars for Mr. Gardner. What a brave man!
Mr. Pötzsch, please find a new translator.
1. Well developed quirky characters you quickly love and care about. 2. Colorful, psychotic, inhuman murderers that you make you hate them passionately, although you also come to understand how the horrible brutal life they lived made them this way3. The real culprits are the the complacent burghers, who don't care about justice or truth, and only want their comfortable life to continue, no matter what the cost to the helpless people they torture and whose lives they destroy. This hasn't changed in modern times as much as one would think...3. A very satisfying ending. 4. I particularly loved the contrast between the village torturer and hangman, who is the most compassionate, caring, ethical individual in the story versus the politicians, who should be the ones caring for the town, but who are the real torturers and inquisitors. 5. The horrible helplessness of women in those times, who were victims of superstition, ignorance and greed. It makes you appreciate how lucky we are to live in this day and age in America, where we enjoy freedom and liberties unimaginable to women in medieval times or even as recently as the 19th century6. I am a physician myself and can really appreciate the hard life of a physician in those times, who had to fight inconceivable ignorance and superstition to further scientific progress. Things haven't changed as much as one would think here either!7. Historical accuracy8. and finally, great story telling! Nothing beats that!
As a woman, I liked Magdalena's escape from the soldiers who were trying to rape her, but there were so many memorable scenes, it's hard to say which one I liked best. the
The narration was clear and easy to follow, but this is not one of my favorite narrators. I found the narration a bit dry and unemotional for the story
Without question! It was the kind of story that makes you late for work, because you can't wait to find out what happens next. I found myself turning it on every second i could. I'm about to devour the sequels.
I had a hard time with the scenes of torture, which were mercifully cut short just at the point where I was going to have to either fast forward or shut down the book. I know that torture was common place in those days, but it is still hard to stomach with modern sensibilities
Yes. Very good read.
I loved all of the characters.
No, but I can't wait to read another one.
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 story is compelling and lures you back into every time you are forced to put it down. At times it is difficult to keep the charters separate because the names are unfamiliar. It is one of the frustration with listening vs. reading. But I found googling the book and seeing the names helped with that quite a bit.
There were enough twists in the plot to keep me listening and you were always wanting to know what would happen next. That time in historic Bavaria is foreign enough to me, that it was sometimes like reading about a different planet, so plot twists were compelling and left you wanting more.
I very seldom read books written by men with a male lead (this one was recommended by my daughter), so his deep rich voice was a novelty to me. His "voice" for each character was different enough to assist in keeping track of them, but not so different that it felt like "play-acting" which is the WORST thing in audio books! I enjoyed the book so much that I have now listened to the 2nd one (The Dark Monk) and can't wait for the third to be translated.
The hangman's compassion and his recognition that what society says about people is very different from what people actually are. Many historical fictions keep everyone in a prescribed "role" seen through our eyes and translated into their time. In this book, you saw the historical accuracy of the period and yet saw how people could acted within its confines.
I enjoyed the authors postscript about how he researched the book and gave color to his characters. It added such passion to the work. Please get the 3rd book translated and into an audio book ASAP!
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content