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The Hangman's Daughter

av Oliver Pötzsch

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Serier: The Hangman's Daughter (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,8811754,968 (3.64)143
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 stake just seventy 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.… (mer)
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» Se även 143 omnämnanden

engelska (171)  spanska (1)  tyska (1)  japanska (1)  Alla språk (174)
Visa 1-5 av 174 (nästa | visa alla)
Whether one agrees with it or not, there's no denying that the death penalty has a long history. Modern day executioners push a vial of potassium chloride into an IV line and, if everything goes right, wait for the heart to stop. But once upon a time, a death sentence meant beheading or hanging (or worse, like drawing and quartering). The Hangman's Daughter begins with a messy execution in 1600s Bavaria (in modern day Germany): young Jakob Kuisl is supposed to be helping his father, the hangman, with a beheading that ends up terribly botched. It's a grim, moody scene that sets the stage for a dark story.

But after the opening prologue described above and the first scene of the story, in which a young boy is rescued from a raging river at great danger, only to be discovered to be already dying from a blow to the head, the plot stalls out considerably. The boy has a crude tattoo that the townspeople decide indicates witchcraft, so the local midwife is promptly accused and imprisoned awaiting torture and execution. Jakob, now himself the hangman (and torturer, and proto-pharmacist...he wears a lot of hats) is convinced of her innocence and joins forces with Simon, the town doctor's son, to figure out who actually committed these crimes (the murder of the first child is followed by the murder of two other children and some property destruction to boot). They're racing against time as hysteria and pressure to convict and burn the witch grow daily.

Where is the titular hangman's daughter in all this, you might ask? Excellent question! Magdalena is very much a secondary part of the story, and the book could easily be rewritten without her character being missed for a second. She's having a love affair with Simon, which we're continually reminded cannot end in marriage because her father's profession renders her unclean. In the scheme of things that don't quite work about this book, though, the title is small change.

While Jakob Kuisl, as a hangman who studies science and works as a healer when he's not torturing and executing, is an interesting character, no one else in the book has much depth. Simon and Magdalena are flat "young lovers", and the various townspeople are even more one-note: officious, or anachronistically fair-minded, or superstitious, no one is a whole person. And speaking of anachronisms, holy smokes is the language in this historical novel completely out of whack. Obviously as a non-German-speaker I read it in translation and I hope the issue was poor translation, otherwise there's just not even an attempt to make language the slightest bit accurate to the time. There's also a ton of repetitious phrasing, of phrases that are unusual enough that it's really noticeable. These writing/translation problems are so jarring that they take you straight out of the world of the novel. Other than that, there are about 100 more pages of the book than there is plot to fill it, so it drags on pretty badly. At the end of the day, it's just not a very good book. ( )
  ghneumann | Jun 14, 2024 |
A mystery set in 17th c. Bavaria -
A young boy’s corpse is discovered with a mark drawn on his body and the local midwife is quickly arrested on charges of witchcraft. The hangman, Jakob Kuisl (who also serves as an instrument of the interrogation as a torturer) believes the woman to be innocent but unless she confesses, a full-blown witch hunt in which many more women will be accused and executed will commence. Soon, two more children’s bodies are found and the pressure to convict the midwife increases even as a darker conspiracy starts to emerge.
The author has written this historical fiction based on the real-life figure of his forefather and incorporated family folklore, extensive research and his own imagination in creating a vivid if somewhat unsavory picture of life in a small town in present day Germany. The main protagonist is the executioner with a progressive town doctor and the eponymous hangman’s daughter playing secondary and tertiary roles respectively (which makes the title of the book seem odd). There are a few repetitive points made (e.g. the consequences of a full blown witch hunt) and overall the story comes across as rather prosaic (Author‘s writing style? Translator?) but an interesting look at a corner of the world rarely if ever depicted in fiction. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Feb 18, 2024 |
In 1659 Bavaria children are being killed, found with a mysterious sign on their bodies. Could the local midwife also be a witch?

It took me a long time to get through this as I found myself unable to concentrate on it for more than few pages at time. I will probably continue with the series but not for now. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jan 25, 2024 |
I loved this book (I read the Kindle version). Interesting historical detail of Schongau (Germany), and well-drawn sympathetic characters. I'm requesting my relatives send me the other books by Poetzsch from Europe (since they are not available here in the US). ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 22, 2023 |
Absolutely gripped for 3/4 of the story, but the ending left me dissatisfied. Also, I don't understand why it's called "The Hangman's Daughter" when she doesn't do anything except serve as sexual interest to other characters. So 4 stars is a little high, really more like 3.5, but a galloping plot really counts for a lot with me. Also, I like the postscript where the author recounts his connection to this tale. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Visa 1-5 av 174 (nästa | visa alla)
"The shocking motivations from unlikely players provide for a twist that will leave readers admiring this complex tale from a talented new voice."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraPublishers Weekly (May 16, 2011)
 

» Lägg till fler författare (2 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Oliver Pötzschprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Chadeayne, LeeÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Corley, M. S.Illustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gardner, GroverBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Marić, SabineÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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To the memory of Fritz Kuisl

For Niklas and Lily

at the other end of the line
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October 12 was a good day for a killing.
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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 stake just seventy 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.

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