- File Size: 697138 KB
- Print Length: 448 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935597051
- Publisher: Amazon Crossing (December 7, 2010)
- Publication Date: December 7, 2010
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003P9XMFI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,552 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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This trilogy kept me entertained, the characters were strong and likable, the descriptions of the era were right on, all in all a great effort by the author.
Wish there were more.
This book isn't about the hangman's daughter, it's a mystery novel starring a hangman and a young doctor sidekick, both male characters. So what's the deal with naming this story The Hangman's Daughter? Since she's thrown in almost as an afterthought, I can only guess she's there so women will buy this book. She has a scene towards the end of the book where she's captured as a hostage, but it's so forced and unnecessary, it's more like a "women in refrigerators" moment. In fact, ALL of the minor female characters are put in danger. Why? So they can be rescued? In the meantime, if you're a minor character living in this historical world, it seems like your only purpose is to be to chased, tortured, threatened with rape, or face being burnt alive as a witch. Yes, the hangman's daughter manages to escape, but the scene adds nothing to the novel. In fact, if the scene were removed, the writing would have been tighter. The core of the story is a murder mystery. Who is killing the orphans of the village and why? There's already one woman, falsely accused and in danger, held in the prison. Why torture another woman? The second woman, the hangman's daughter, captured and threatened, was an unnecessary cliché. Negative one star for false advertising. If you're going to label a book, The Hangman's Daughter, then let the book be about the hangman's daughter.
The ending of this story was sloppy and confusing. The last third of the book had tangents that didn't go along with the core of the story. Did something get lost during editing? Instead of tying up loose ends, there's more drama, then everything is miraculously solved behind the scenes. The end. I'm not going to lie, considering the quality of the writing, I was disappointed that the ending wasn't better. The author had a great idea. It's obvious he's a talented writer. He just couldn't seem to pull it all together. Too much "pantsing," not enough plotting at the end of the book. The characters reacted in a realistic way in the beginning, not so much by the end of the novel. I reluctantly removed another star.
This isn't a bad book, it's just misleading. Title it The Hangman or something else, and I'd like it better. I wouldn't have been looking for the story that wasn't there. Clarify the ending a little more and this would be a five star book. I'd say this book is written for adults. The female characters could be replaced with potted plants, so I can't see myself recommending it to any of the women in my life. Guys might like it more. The main character was interesting and fun. I wanted to like this book more than I did.
Hmmm.... This book tore me in different directions. There were parts that really hooked me, parts that put me off and some that just plain confused me. I wonder if some of these downfalls were actually due to translation and if I was able to read it in it's original German, might not find them so bothersome.
First off, the title, is very misleading. While there was a section of the book that focused heavily on his daughter, she was far from a main character. She poked up now and then, but definitely didn't play such a role that called for her to be the title of the book.
I loved being transported to a different time and place. Schongau, 1659, felt very real, however, having no direct knowledge of this time or area, not sure of it's accuracy. But it was set well. I could visualize and smell the streets of this poor small town. I really loved getting a feel of society and the mindset of the people after the Thirty Years War and the atrocities that accompanied witch trials and hunts during that time. While disturbing, some of the council meetings really enlightened me to what the typical view was at that time. I love historical fictions that drive me yet teach me at the same time.
The characters felt real and well rounded. I would definitely place the Hangman, Jakob Kuisl and and the Doctor, Simon Fronwieser as the main characters. I got a real feel for Jakob, a man who was born to lead a life with a profession he deplored and attempted to drown out in alcohol. He was a man who did the best he could with what he was given. While knowing the accused midwife is innocent, he couldn't shirk his responsibility knowing they would simply find another hangman to take on his responsibility and possibly more painfully. I can't imagine how hard that would be. I could feel the weight on his shoulders, and also could easily see his motive for finding the true murderer. The young doctor was a nice contrast to the heavy weight Kuisl carried. I liked how open minded he was and while being an educated man, still rather naive in a lot of ways. A lot of the other characters were rather deplorable, but that was pretty much the point. Women were very minimized at this time, and so their roles were very small in this one. I liked how the hangman's daughter was very strong-willed and assertive, but she does play a very small role. I also liked Sophie, a young firecracker orphan really stepped up and fought for herself.
The mystery was a pretty good one, but towards the end something happens. It starts to really drag and the same thing gets retold in different ways. I'm not sure if this was due to the translation, or perhaps some more editing was needed, but it felt like there was some sort change and not in a good way. There were some pretty gory scenes. The torture is a given. The description of the boy's death also disturbing. What really shocked and appalled me is the flashback to Jakob's time during the war, there is a scene that is just so upsetting I still want to vomit thinking about it. For those with a weak stomach or sensitivity to babies, I am of the latter, it is perhaps worth skipping over since it still gives me nightmares thinking about it.
The best part of this book was the obvious dedication and research that was put into it. You can tell Oliver didn't give a few good guesses or read one or two paragraphs. I appreciate historical fiction authors that really teach you through stories. Oliver is definitely of this variety, learning about his genealogy was intriguing as well.
All in all this was a good book, perhaps even better if read in the traditional German, which unfortunately I am unable to do. I will keep my eyes open for his future books which I am hoping will have a cleaner translation.
This is a story set in Germany, around 1660, it is about murder children. A Hangman and a "physician" investigate these murders in an effort to exonerate a local midwife accused of the murders and of witchcraft before she is burn at the stake!
I liked this story for a glimpse of 17 century life in a small obscure Bavarian village and the interesting occupation of the Hangman/Executioner/Torturer with a heart of gold. His name is Jakob Kuisl. He is more of herbalist and family man than an Executioner. If you like somewhat historical murder mysteries with interesting and bizarre villagers, then read this book. I intend to read the next book in the series.
An another interesting point the author is a descendent of this Hangman, of the Kuisl family.
Top international reviews
The plot is fast-paced and engaging right from page one, and the author has created an assembly of characters encompassing those that you would love to hate, and also those you would hate to love. I have just finished reading the second Oliver Potzsch novel, and look forward to reading his third and latest...
The big fire burning with a pot of soup warming all day and the people in the streets with so little to live on trying to scratch out an existence. A very special author that I can't put down his books. Keep them coming Oliver!
I would recommend this book to any and all history enthusiasts.