Oliver Pötzsch: A Hangman's Daughter Tale Series

by Rachel Baker on August 16, 2013

I really like the Hangman’s Daughter Tale Series. Truth be told, this is one of the few books that I pre-order as soon as its available.

I am a big fan of the historical aspects of the stories, and I find I have a great deal of fun reading them. They don’t require a lot of thought, and they are quick to get through, but they provide loads of laughter. I love the adventure and the mystery.

Potzsch writes brilliantly, and the translation of the book seems to be just as brilliant.  I’ve read many translated novels and without a doubt there’s always a few areas where the reader isn’t really sure what the author means because of some cultural reference that did not translate well. I find this does not happen at all in any of the books in this series.

The only negative thing I would say is I feel like over the course of the series Jakob is getting a bit too cranky in his old age and its almost awkward in some places in this book.

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Summaries of the Books in the Series:
The Hangman’s Daughter: Germany, 1660: 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. So begins The Hangman’s Daughter–the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller from German television screenwriter, Oliver Pötzsch–a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.

The Dark Monk: 1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors on the night a parish priest discovers he’s been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength to scratch a cryptic sign in the frost.

Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl, his headstrong daughter, Magdalena, and the town physician’s son team up with the priest’s aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.

But they’re not the only ones after the legendary fortune. A team of dangerous and mysterious monks is always close behind, tracking their every move, speaking Latin in the shadows, giving off a strange, intoxicating scent. And to throw the hangman off their trail, they have ensured he is tasked with capturing a band of thieves roving the countryside attacking solitary travellers and spreading panic.

Delivering on the promise of the international bestseller The Hangman’s Daughter, Oliver Pötzsch takes us on a whirlwind tour through the occult hiding places of Bavaria’s ancient monasteries. Once again based on prodigious historical research into Pötzsch’s family tree, The Dark Monk brings to life an unforgettable, compassionate hangman and his tenacious daughter, painting a robust tableau of a seventeenth-century Bavaria and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.

The Beggar King: The year is 1662. Alpine village hangman Jakob Kuisl receives a letter from his sister calling him to the imperial city of Regensburg, where a gruesome sight awaits him: her throat has been slit. Arrested and framed for the murder, Kuisl faces first-hand the torture he’s administered himself for years.

Jakob’s daughter, Magdalena, and a young medicus named Simon hasten to his aid. With the help of an underground network of beggars, a beer-brewing monk, and an Italian playboy, they discover that behind the false accusation is a plan that will endanger the entire German Empire.

Chock-full of historical detail, The Beggar King brings to vibrant life another tale of an unlikely hangman and his tough-as-nails daughter, confirming Pötzsch’s mettle as a writer to watch.

The Poisoned Pilgrim: 1666: The monastery at Andechs has long been a pilgrimage destination, but when the hangman’s daughter, Magdalena, her doctor husband Simon, and their two small children arrive there, they learn that the monks have far larger concerns than saying Mass and receiving alms. It seems that once again, the hangman’s family has fallen into a mysterious and dangerous adventure.

Two monks at the monastery experiment with cutting edge technology, including a method of deflecting the lighting that has previously set the monastery ablaze. When one of the monks disappears and his lab is destroyed, foul play is suspected. Who better to investigate than the famed hangman Jakob Kuisl? But as the hangman and his family attempt to solve the mystery of the missing monk, they must deal with both the eccentric denizens of the monastery and villagers who view the monks’ inventions as witchcraft that must be destroyed at all costs.

This thrilling fourth entry of The Hangman’s Daughter series features scheming monks, murderous robots, and the action and intrigue that never seem to cease when the Kuisls are on a case.

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