The Hangman's Daughter hooked me and I listened, engaged, to the end. It has everything I like in historical mystery - compelling characters, fascinat..Show More »ing time period, fast-paced plot. The thing to know, though, is it also has torture. The author has not shied away from graphic depictions of the Hangman's trade and atrocities committed by mercenaries and soldiers of the time. For example, an infant is ripped from its mother and swung by its foot... I'll leave the rest out, suffice to say, it doesn't end well for the baby. But the book doesn't celebrate or in anyway glorify violence. It's just part of the world of 1658. So, it's up to each reader to decide. For myself, I'll be downloading the next book in the series.
I liked "The Dark Monk" better than its predecessor, "The Hangman's Daughter." It tells a better story, and it has fewer horrific descriptions of M..Show More »idieval torture. (Yes, I know that this story technically takes place during the Reformation, but the people and villages depicted here still seem locked deep in the Middle Ages.) I also liked it better because of Pötzsch's increased inclusion of herbology in this story. Here, Pötzsch speculates about the original discovery of Penicillin, attributing it to one of his characters. Such speculation makes some sense: Practicing herbalists may, indeed, have quietly discovered the antibiotic properties of certain molds prior to Alexander Flemming's official discovery of Penicillium rubens in 1928. With "The Hangman's Daughter," Pötzsch built a tale around one of his real 17th-century forebears: a veritable village executioner. Whodathunk that anyone could make a hero out of someone who tortures and murders for a living? I, personally, find this character difficult to believe -- an executioner with a gentle heart and the gift of healing? However, if you can swallow that premise, then you might like "The Dark Monk," in which the executioner, his daughter, and her lover solve another mystery. And what a mystery they solve: the location and nature of the lost Templar treasure! The narrator, Grover Gardner, also does a better job with this audiobook than he did with "The Hangman's Daughter," using a wider variety of voices to distinguish the characters. He doesn't have very good accents in his repertory, but he makes attempts, as necessary. I hesitate to say this -- because "The Hangman's Daughter" contains a lot of harrowing scenes of cruelty -- but you will probably enjoy "The Dark Monk" better if you have listened to "The Hangman's Daughter" first. You stand forewarned.