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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.
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Customer Reviews

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By Jim "The Impatient" on 04-13-15


This book does start with a gory, painful execution. The Hangman is also the town torturer, maker of love potions, etc... and it is bad luck to even look at him. His daughter is beautiful, but as the Hangman's daughter, she is ostracized by the town folk. The story is a multiple murder mystery of children, an adventure and a great look at the 1700's in Germany. The way people treat each other is unbelievable to us today. It was a hard world, with lots of poor uneducated people, taken advantage of by the rich.

As you would expect from a world like this, there are some strong characters. This is a character driven story of which the Hangman is outstanding. You will fall in love with his daughter who is also a strong willed character. She and a doctor (son of a bleeder) fall in love, but like Romeo and Juliet, it is not allowed. In the story a woman is accused of witchcraft and blamed for the death of the children. The Hangman knows she is innocent, but it is his job to torture her and get her confession. He with the help of the doctor must find out who is actually killing the kids before the accused witch confesses. Meanwhile the town starts accusing everything on witches and more people are accused of witchcraft.

At the end there is an afterword by the author. He has thoroughly researched this period. He got interested because he was tracing his own family roots and he discovered this line of Hangmen in his family history. This is educational as well as entertaining, my favorite way of learning about history.

I loved every minute of this book, and I am purchasing the sequel today. If you buy it before 4/21/15 you can get it for $6.99. If you like the type of books I like, I don't know how you can pass that up.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

By Margaret on 07-14-13

Great but graphic

The Hangman's Daughter hooked me and I listened, engaged, to the end. It has everything I like in historical mystery - compelling characters, fascinating 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.

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115 of 121 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Rachel on 04-25-12

The Hangman's Daughter

Excellent - don't pass this one up! I wish I could find more historical novels like this. Having grown weary of novels set in Tudor times, I found this little gem while browsing historical crime/thrillers. Set in seventeenth century Bavaria it involves a reluctant executioner, a midwife accused of witchcraft, a young physician and, of course, the hangman's daughter. The plot involves a village with with a less than scrupulous town council and the lengths some would go to in order to cover their greed. The characters were well drawn and the author made me feel I was right there living the story.

If you like historical novels you will love this book. I do not know if the author has written any other books, but I will definitely be searching. Don't forget to listen to the author's notes at the end. Very revealing!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By JMW on 07-07-15

Spoilt by the narrator

This is a good story though a little slow to start. A promising start to the series. I may read the rest of the series rather than have them on audible because the narration is simply appalling. Like listening to a robot with an annoying american drawl

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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