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The Hangman's Daughter and The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch - BzzAgent

Updated on August 2, 2012

This is one of the campaigns I had the honor of participating in through BzzAgent. I received both books for free to read on my kindle. As an added perk The Dark Monk was received before it was released to the public. I was so excited to get not one but two books for free!

As soon as I was able to download them I began reading "The Hangman's Daughter". This book drew me in from the start. I loved the historic setting, mystery, and the witch hunt. Reading about how the people back in that time follow what we would now consider ridiculous superstition is very interesting. These superstitious beliefs causing a woman to be charged with murder and to be put to death just infuriated me but intrigued me at the same time. I couldn't put the book down and carried my kindle with me everywhere in case I had a chance to read more.

Once I finished the first book, which took me only 2 days, I couldn't wait to start on the second. Alas I have not finished that book yet. "The Dark Monk" just hasn't pulled me in the way "The Hangman's Daughter" had. I've tried many times to read this book but always find myself falling asleep. Maybe it is my busy schedule right now making me overly tired or is it because this book is just not as good as the first? I'm hoping it's just because I have been so tired here lately. After thoroughly enjoying "The Hangman's Daughter" I just can't bring myself to believe that "The Dark Monk" can't have the same impact.

I'm am going to start reading "The Dark Monk" again. When I finish it I will update and let you know how it is. How can mystery, murder, the Templar Knights, and a possible love triangle not be interesting?

To be continued....

The Hangman's Daughter

Germany 1660:

The hangman is considered a dishonorable profession, superstition follow's the hangman and his family. The town's people will move to the other side of the street when the hangman walks down it. They won't speak to or even acknowledge his presence. The only thing different about Jakob Kuisl, the hangman, is that he is also well known for his healing abilities. The town's people will visit Jakob to be cured of their ills when the town physician has failed them, which is most of the time. Even the physician's son has become friends with Jakob, not believing in his father's traditional way of healing he wants to learn about the new ways of healing that Jakob uses. This infuriates the physician and makes the physician's son the laughing stock of the town.

The hangman's clever and headstrong daughter, Magdalena, is destined to be married off to another hangman's son. The problem is the town physician's son is hopelessly in love with her. Because of Magdalena's father's profession of being the town's hangman she is not allowed to marry anyone but another hangman's son.

After a gruesomely injured boy is pulled from the river, the villagers suspect the town's midwife, Martha Stechlin. The midwife's profession is also followed by superstition but is slightly more tolerated than the hangman. They believe the midwife to use supernatural powers and witchcraft because of the herbs and concoctions she uses to help expectant mothers deliver their babies. Jakob is charged with extracting a confession by torturing Martha until he gets one. The town's people and their superstitious ways do not want to look any further then Martha as the killer of the child. Even when other children in town are mysteriously murdered, the town believes Martha has killed them with the help of the devil himself. A witch hunt of sorts grips the town and they want her put to death immediately.

Jakob is convinced she is innocent and does everything he can to protect her and prove she is innocent. Along with the help of Magdalena and the physician's son, they go against the ways and beliefs of the town to try to save Martha from death by the hangman himself.

The Dark Monk

Winter has settled over the village in the Bavarian Alps. While everyone in the village stays indoors to stay warm during the terrible winter, someone sneaks out to poison the parish priest. As he lay dying he manages to find the strength to scratch a cryptic message to help lead someone to his killer.

When the physician's son arrives he realizes that the priest has been poisoned. He then sends for his friend Jakob, the hangman, to help decipher the clue the priest has left behind. When the priest's aristocratic sister arrives she joins the physician's son, Jakob, and Magdalena to help find her brothers killer.

What the foursome discovers along the way takes them back to the Crusades and the troubled history of internal church politics and a search for treasure. Not just any treasure but that of the Knights Templar! But who killed the priest? Does it have anything to do with the treasure and mysterious monks that are always close behind tracking their every move.

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