Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
You'll be glad you read this one
on October 2, 2007
Murders and mayhem in Medieval Germany. Seeking power, political advantage or revenge, a group of wealthy patricians form an alliance to reinstate them or their families to a previous status. Their plan requires an assassin - an assassin that seems more shadow than form, more devil than man.
A man falls from a cathedral under construction. It's dark, it's late but there is a witness where no witness should be. The witness warily goes to the dying man and hears his last words-then runs for his life. He is now a new target for the assassin.
Jacob the Fox, named for his blazing red hair, is fast and quick-witted but is too easily identified by his hair. He lives by stealing and scrounging what he can to eat, and lives under the arch of the great wall that surrounds Cologne, Germany in 1260. He knows when and where to hide from irate merchants but this new threat appears to function outside mortal capabilities.
Finally, injured and hurt, and against his better judgment, he seeks help from Richmodis, a cloth dyer's daughter who had been kind to him earlier. When Jacob tells his story to Richmodis, her father and her uncle, a physician and a professor of cannon law, become unlikely allies in the dangerous task of discovering why Urquhart, the assassin, has come to Cologne, who has brought him here and who is the ultimate target. The people behind Urquhart are powerful, ruthless and willing to sacrifice lives to achieve their goal and Cologne becomes their hunting ground.
This is an engrossing mystery and suspense story that weaves in the political and philosophical thinking of the period along with a portrait of the time. Author Schatzing gives historical background that adds atmosphere and weight to the plot and gives it credibility.
This novel was published in Germany in 2003 and was first for this author who has since won several book awards in his country. Death and the Devil has just been translated into English and readers of this book will be very grateful.
Armchair Interviews says: Amazing first book for this author.