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Publisher's Summary

In 1886, King Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria, was deposed on grounds of mental incapacity without any medical examination. His "diagnosis" remains controversial among historians to this day. Soon after his fall from power, Ludwig died under mysterious circumstances, leaving the eccentric and beautiful "fairytale" castles he had built as his only remaining legacy.

While putting away books from an estate sale purchase, rare book-dealer Steven Lukas finds a box he's never seen before wedged between books on a high shelf. In it he discovers what looks to be a small diary written entirely in code, a lock of hair, and old photographs of the Fairytale King. It isn't long however, before his excitement turns to fear as he realizes that mysterious others want the diary too - and will apparently kill to get it. Suspecting that his find may contain the secret truth behind Ludwig's death, Steven consults with art historian Sara Lengfeld. Soon they find themselves on the run together, investigating each of Ludwig's three castles for clues as to just what in that ancient diary could be so explosive as to be worth killing - and even dying - for.

©2011 Oliver Pötzsch. English Translation © 2013 Anthea Bell. Recorded by arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. (P)2013 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Pötzsch’s sophisticated plotting and good use of a real-lifehistorical puzzle place this far ahead of most Da Vinci Code wannabes." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 03-16-15

For Dreamers and Fairy Tale Lovers Everywhere

If you love old books, old fairy tales, and old Germany, this one's for you . . . Having lived in Germany twice and visited all three of King Ludwig's castles, I was captivated by this historical (fictional) tale moving between current day and the last days of the king's reign. If you don't have a vivid imagination or value things of old, it may not be for you . . . but I found myself lost in it . . . once again walking in Linderhof, Neuschuanstein, and Herrenchemchiemsee castles. The modern day murder and the box containing the diary that leads Steve and Sara back to the castles in search of answers is a mystery that keeps you listening . . . and wondering . . . a great journey!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A little predictable

I avoided reading the book in print because the translation I saw was a mess. I waited for the spoken version, and when I saw Anthea Bell had translated it, I knew this translation would have been carefully prepared. Plus, Simon Vance, while perhaps not the best choice for a narrator who has to get through a lot of German pronunciation, does a commendable job. So why am I so disappointed in this book?

Without revealing spoilers, I'll just say the plot seemed predictable and too much was given away too early. Unfortunately, it cannot escape comparisons to "The Da Vinci Code." This too, is all too obvious very early on.

Furthermore, while the main characters showed the potential for unique and intriguing personalities early on, they didn't develop into fictional people I cared much about. Despite the fact they were in danger and there should have been great suspense, I couldn't sustain much interest in what happened next.

On the other hand, the book is atmospheric and evocative, a beautiful fictional visit to Bavaria for the armchair tourist, with a good dash of history thrown in.

This is the first Pötzsch book I've read. I would definitely read something else from him. But overall, I'd give "The Ludwig Conspiracy" a miss and choose another of this books if you are interested.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Another great story line from Oliver Potzsch

Great writer with great historical research. The narrator does a good job interpreting the author's characters personalities.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Disappointed

I love the Hangman series and was excited to see this book on Ludwig. I knew very little about King Ludwig other than he was crazy and built beautiful castles. I found the story disappointing. I never developed a relationship (other than annoyance) with any of the characters, past or present. They seemed very flat. In addition, I figured out clues much faster than the characters, which made the book drag. It was also difficult to believe an "art detective" would have such disregard for a valuable, antique diary, as to turn its pages with chocolate on her fingers. The bookseller was spineless beyond belief. If you are a huge fan of Ludwig conspiracies, read the book. If not, save your time and credit for the Hangman series.

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Wonderful, fun and mysterious.

A big fan of Oliver Potzsch's Hangman's Daughter stories, I hoped for another well written piece of historical fiction and was not disappointed. With no previous knowledge of the Fairytale King lLudwig II, I really enjoyed learning about the times and being entertained with the possibilities. Well worth the read. Oliver Potzsch's historical fiction is great as it embraces topics and times not well covered by others. As a fan of his and the late Swede Henning Mankel, I often wonder how many non English writers are out "there" awaiting discovery.

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Simplistic and unbelievable mystery.

Ludwig II is a fascinating character but this is a dime store potboiler not worthy of the legend. Simon Vance is great as always.

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Best story ever

It's been a long time since I really loved a book like this where the writing and performance come together in a perfect storm of talent. I am a Scott Brick and sometime Luke Daniels fan but Simon Vance has gone to the head of the class with this book. I highly recommend this story to anyone who has any imagination at all.

  • Overall

interesting

Good story. The reader could have been better. I didn't agree with his interpretation of the main characters when they were angry...but I kept listening until the very end.

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  • Dianne
  • Oregon, Untied States
  • 06-07-14

A pleasant suprise, not what I expected :-)

What made the experience of listening to The Ludwig Conspiracy the most enjoyable?

It was a good story, had great flow, just enough historical fact to make it interesting, the relationships worked well, and the storyline kept you listening.

What did you like best about this story?

Everything

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I it was a pleasant voice, and his interperation was great.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When reality hitted the main character.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • DarthVal
  • Hickory, NC, United States
  • 06-06-14

Kind of a watered-down DaVinci Code vibe

Would you try another book from Oliver Pötzsch and/or Simon Vance?

I am hesitant about other books by Potzsch. I was so excited by the book description, but felt let down. The story was just meh.<br/><br/>As for Simon Vance, his narration was great. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by him, so long as the book sounded interesting.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I think it would take a lot of changes to make this one more enjoyable, but the biggest thing would be to strengthen the plot.

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

I think he did them all well.

Was The Ludwig Conspiracy worth the listening time?

It depends on the listener. For me, the story was a let down.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful