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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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  • Linda
  • Rogue River, OR, United States
  • 09-11-13

I bought this under false pretenses!!

What disappointed you about The Hangman's Daughter?

I was looking for a book and got an e-mail from Audible suggesting that if I enjoyed Robert McCammon's Mister Slaughter series (the Providence Rider et al), I would certainly enjoy this. I can only surmise after laboriously listening to the first half of this, that whoever came up with that has not listened to either one or both of these authors. I enjoyed every minute of Robert McCammon's novels. The mysteries were riveting and the author kept you completely immersed in the period. Everything was accurate - the language, the history, the descriptions of the locals, clothing, etc. And the narration was also superb. The accents, pronunciation, different voices were all in keeping with the narrative and the time period. So . . . that's what I was expecting. It is certainly not what I got.

It started with the narration, which sounds more like someone doing a documentary than recording a historical piece and things went rapidly downhill from there. I don't know if it is perhaps the result of careless translation or if the translator was trying to make things sound up to date but there are many, many instances of words or phrases that are out of place in Anno Domini 1660. In once instance there is a fire and people hear the sound of
"all the breaking glass in the windows". This is Europe in the 1660's! Glass in windows was reserved for the very, very rich. At another point, after referring to a group of children who were running away from him as 'the little bastards' a character them refers to them as those 'kids'. Again, not a commonly used phrase for the time. I find this sort of thing so off putting that it's pretty hard to even concentrate on the plot.

I will most probably struggle through to the end just because it's hard for me not to finish what I start. But it is also probably the first book that I will use to take advantage of the new 'return' policy that Amazon has started.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'm not sure yet.

What didn’t you like about Grover Gardner’s performance?

Yikes! A lot! I don't think I've actually ever listened to one of his recordings in the past and I'll listen to the sample very carefully before I do so again. The characters sound so much the same. I feel like someone is reading me a book he doesn't really care for. And notice I said reading, not performing.

What character would you cut from The Hangman's Daughter?

most of them

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Remind's me of The Scarlett Letter

If you could sum up The Hangman's Daughter in three words, what would they be?

surprising, suspense thriller

What did you like best about this story?

It was different from other stories I've been listening to due to the change in setting (time period).

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

I liked how his voice was nice to listen to and changed when necessary.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Great Story!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Nikola
  • Oslo, Norway
  • 10-15-11

Murdering German

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.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Decent

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I guess I would, while at times the story was good I would have to know if they liked history based books before telling them to read/listen to it.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I enjoyed the detective aspect of the novel it was exciting to see the characters to try and solve things with out the tools of modern technology. The romance, it was kind of boring and I found pointless.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

The performance of this book was pretty good, but his voice was very relaxing and I found I had to listen to the book at an accelerated speed to prevent myself from falling asleep.

Was The Hangman's Daughter worth the listening time?

I'm not sure if this book was worth listening to because I'm still undecided if I liked the book or not.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Medieval Mystery

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Codger
  • Hyannis, MA USA
  • 08-02-12

Wonderful concept - just Ok writing

The idea that the town's executioner should be more worried about justice than the burghers is a great premise. The story moves along, but the repetition in the prose is off-putting. Character development is slow and that's not always bad - but in this case, some of the major characters are still incomplete at the end of the book. Hints are given, but clarity would be nice. I found it strange that the reformation was totally ignored.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

The Devil Made Me Do It

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

better writing/story/characters. Characters are sterotypes -- good wise women accused of being witches, evil fat money bags, a limping badguy who is the devil incarnate because he is named so, and the best a hero hangman "sorry i have to torture you because otherwise i can't be around to prove you innocent" -- and too many modern sensibilities for what should be a recreation of the 1600's. The tie the innocent girl to the train tracks plot set in a poorly depicted medieval town.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Grover Gardner?

not his fault

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

opening scene

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Wish I'd read the book!

This was a great book, very engaging, but the narrator was just awful! Lacking any inflection, he rattled on in a monotone, even when describing some really harrowing bits of the story. Still well worth a listen, I wish I'd read the book, since I think I would have given this a 5-star rating. The narrator almost killed it for me.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 01-29-15

Graphic Murder Mystery

The story takes place in the middle ages in a German State and is hard to put down. The Hangman is the town executioner, torturer, herbalist, and a family man. He and his family are necessary to the town and at the same time are outcasts of the society. His daughter is a haughty sexy girl who defies the norms as does the Hangman and a local young physician. All are ahead of their time in a world mired in superstition, and religious fervor. A murderer is at work killing children, a mystical mark is found on the bodies, a witch is blamed and the authorities are too eager to find an easy solution to the problem.
The Hangman and the physician use science and common sense to unravel the mystery. The villains and the heroes use violence and torture to achieve their ends. Well written, historically accurate, this is a good read.

Grover Gardner did a good job delivering the story

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Hangman's daughter

I did enjoy this book. It was well narrated and the story kept me interested