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Showing 1-10 of 1,452 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,049 reviews
VINE VOICEon December 11, 2016
The hangman gets a letter from his sister, asking him to come to her aid as she is gravely ill. A few days later, his daughter and her boyfriend, Simon the doctor, leave town to start a fresh life where no one knows them. Unknown to each other, the hangman and his daughter are both headed to the same town, where intrigue awaits them.

Upon arrival, the hangman is immediately accused of a crime, and his daughter sets out to try and help him. Alone in a strange city, they all must try and figure out who their friends and allies are, why the hangman was framed, and how to unravel the multiple layers of conspiracy, stretching back a quarter century.

Along the way, we learn much about the hangman's back story, and about the complex class structure that constituted a European city on the 1600's--beggars, outcasts, peasants, tradesmen, priests, and the aristocracy. The complicated relationships between them provides the back drop for this story, and lends it much of its richness of character.

Highly recommended.
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on November 3, 2015
This is an epic tale centering around Regensburg, Bavaria. The hangman receives a letter from his sister in Regensburg, who is quite ill, requesting that he come to her. He travels to Regensburg. He is promptly detained. When he is released the next day, he goes to his sister and brother-in-law's bathhouse where he finds their bodies, both with slit throats. He, of course, is immediately arrested and accused of murder. A summary trial and conviction follow. Unfortunately, he immediately becomes acquainted with the hangman of Regensburg who tries to torture a confession from him. In the meantime, Magdalene and Simon travel to Regensburg together to start a new life. They meet a funny little man who is the Venetian ambassador. The Venetian ambassador is smitten with Magdalene and pursues her throughout the book. Once they learn of the hangman's conviction they immediately try to free him. To do this, they enlist the aid of the beggar king, Nathan. He is ruler of the underworld of beggars and has immense power. Throughout the novel, in an attempt to free the hangman , several other threads of the plot come to light and it soon appears that the murders of the hangman's sister and her husband were an attempt to hide a monstrous plot which, if successful, has implications for all Europe. Of course, all the various subplots come together and the hangman, Magdalene and Simon manage to defeat all evildoers. This is an absorbing book, and the author's love of Regensburg is evident through many descriptive scenes . This is an excellent historical mystery, and one I highly recommend. This is by far the best book in the series.
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on September 19, 2017
I like it with some reservations. Found the descriptions of sanitary conditions in the time period fascinating. So often when we read novels about that period, that part of the equation is left out and I think it seres as a reality check for those who take our services for granted. I'm sure those in the two hurricane attack areas could somewhat identify .
Otherwise I liked the characters and enjoyed the interesting plots although at times I thought a good edit might have been useful. I have read two others by the same author and since I find that time period in history worth a look, I enjoy them. They also serve as a reminder of the evolution of government from the small unit village to the larger more crowded city. It's a reminder that in spite of the historical period the same "types" always exist!
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on September 6, 2017
Oliver Pötzsch is a truly amazing author.His writing style is certainly a unique blend. He has the ability to engage. the reader by providing an imaginative story within historic and colorful cultural settings. All of this is woven in a tapestry possessing exciting and interesting characters and strong plot(s). A well written story that contains a fair balance of historical reference while staying near modern phraseology. He stays true to the 17th century period while not overwhelming and losing the average reader in the culture, dialogue and terminolgy of that era. I truly have enjoyed Oliver Pötzsch's Hangman's Daughter series and highly recommend it to anyone who desires a 'fun' read.
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on July 5, 2017
There are elements of the plot of the Beggar King that are imaginative but some of the author's recurring conventions are growing thin with the third book in the series (i.e. the silly jealousy bits particularly when the characters are in danger; how the characters are supposed to be clever and yet incredibly naive/blind at the same time; characters not sharing vital information when it would make sense just to drag on the plot, etc).
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on July 1, 2015
Well, all good things have to come to... a tapering off, if not an end.

Oliver Potzsch's 2013 book, "The Beggar King," is the third in his mystery series starting with the "The Hangman's Daughter" (2008) and followed by "The Dark Monk" (2009). The first two have been both interesting and entertaining romps around Bavaria during the mid-17th century (see my Amazon reviews: "Twisty Tale of Bavarian Dark Deeds" on 3/14/2014 and "Tempting Templar Treasure" on 12/22/2014).

“The Beggar King” shows signs of the characters and storyline getting a little tired.

Once again, Jacob Kuisl, the hangman of Schongau in Bavaria, his fetching daughter, Magdalena, and her earnest lover and would-be doctor, Simon Fronweiser, are caught up in mysterious events. This time the dark deeds are in neighboring Regensburg, the free town and assembly place for the soon-to-be Reichstag of the German Empire rulers.

In quick order the Schongau hangman is imprisoned for being implicated in a killing of his own sister and her husband, bathhouse operators and would-be alchemists. The Regensburg Inner Council takes a dim view of this type of family affairs and does to the hangman what he has done to others. But there seems to be room for suspecting ulterior motives for at least one of the judges.

Meanwhile, Magdalena and Simon rush into the situation trying to save Jacob but get sidetracked into some bewildering distractions: upscale balls with Magdalena doing an Eliza Doolittle; Simon sharing a round with the bishop's brew master; much pondering about a mysterious blue-white powder with strange properties; traipsing around with Nathan The Wise, head of the Regensburg beggars.

While some of the details are historically accurate - the unrealized impact of moldy bread on the senses and return of the plague (Daniel Defoe wrote about the plague outbreak in London about this time) - many of the other details about medical practices, living conditions and diet, lack of cleanliness have been covered again and again in the first two books so the novelty is wearing thin.

Additionally, the antics of the three principles seem over the top and, at times, silly. The arguments between Magdalena and Simon are distracting and seem out-of-focus given the enormity of the situation they are facing. Jacob, who is "not dead yet" from the detailed torture administered to him, somehow revives in time to save situations like a silent film hero.

And, of course, much of the action takes place underground in claustrophobic murky conditions - a device Potzsch has used frequently in his prior two books of this series. You have the feeling of living in a not-so-delightful Hieronymus Bosch painting.

All said, the first two Hangman's Daughter Tales were great but the third one is starting to grate.
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on June 4, 2013
I've read all of the Hangman's Daughter books, and I think this is the best so far. What I like about it is that there is far less sexual deviancy than previous books. I don't mind, but it felt repetitive after awhile. There is still some here, but it's not the main focus and plays a far smaller role.

I love these books for their misdirection and intricate details. You never know what's really going on. It can be hard to follow at first, but that's what makes these books great. The historical details really make the book, though. It's like reading an actual history book --I've learned so much about life in that time period, about the role of the church, the wars...and it's inspired me to do non-fiction reading on that time as well.

A side note: these books are translated from the German. My grandmother refuses to read these in English because she says they're not as "authentic" as the German language version. Apparently, the author uses a richer, more archaic form of German, that adds to the authenticity of the book. I can't read German, but if you can, it sounds like the German-language version is even better.
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on May 4, 2015
As with the Dark Monk, this got a bit tedious. It does give you a good insight into what life in the cities back then may have been like, how helpless those without money probably felt because the law was not equally applied to everyone. It kind of made me wonder about how the hangman could get so often hurt and still live through it considering the medicine available back then. And considering most people could not read back then, there certainly seem to be an awful lot of folks reading notes and messages in these books, even though Potzsch does mention that most people couldn't read or write and used only and X to sign with.
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on August 2, 2017
Love this series of books. Pure genius in keeping the story moving rapidly with suspense around every corner. I got to feeling like they were all my family! Caused me to want to visit Bavaria and surrounding country. The hangman's daughter is a bit much to handle at times, a little hard to stomach, but overall have loved all three I've read.
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on April 1, 2015
I understand what keeps readers coming back to these novels - Pötzsch clearly cares about his central characters, whom he bases on his own ancestors, and on the settings he portrays. Overall, the books have piqued my interest in the history of the 30 Years War and in travel to Bavaria. I do not, however, understand why so many readers rate the novels in the series at 4 and 5 stars.

This book, like the others, remains plagued by anachronistic language and its plot hinges too often on unlikely coincidence and happenstance. As an example, at one point Magdalena, the hangman's daughter, tells her friend and lover, Simon, that, "You can take your principessa and shove it." At another point, a city official calls to a crowd, saying, "Citizens, listen up!" Although this is most likely the fault of translation, jarring language choices like these create a blemish on the narrative. The plot twists, however, are not the result of translation. At one point in the narrative, after suffering multiple rounds of torture, the hangman recuperates for a day in hiding, then escapes into the streets. When the alarm is raised, the hangman is fighting not to lose consciousness. Two pages later, he musters all his strength and "with a single leap" jumps over the pikes of the city watch. It read, unfortunately, like an over-the-top scene from Indiana Jones.
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