Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"The Dark Monk" by Oliver Pötzsch

Having just finished the Dark Monk, the second book in the Hangman's Daughter series by Oliver Pötzsch, the Recommender can say it was every bit as good as the first one! Set in Bavaria in the 1600's...it's a dark time in the little town of Schongau, robbers are afoot, the local priest has died under very mysterious circumstances, not simply from overeating as everyone thought. There's a dire fever plaguing the citizens and former medical student Simon has his hands full trying to help his doctor father and also with his love for Magdalena, the daughter of Jakob Kuisl, the hangman and healer. Jakob is considered an untouchable by the locals because of his inherited profession despite the fact that he's smart, well read and an ace healer. Magdalena is thought of as equally "unclean" and if she and Simon were to marry... it would lower his station in town and they might even be driven out of of the community. Dark days, indeed!
With the priest's demise, Simon is sent for and while investigating begins to suspect something sinister and drags Jakob and even Magdalena into the mystery. Enter a new character, the deceased priest's sister, Benedikta, a worldly, attractive woman who seems as comfortable on a horse as she does with a pistol in her hand. Could Simon have eyes for this stranger? Magdalena is suspicious as Simon helps Benedikta to solve clues and cover-ups and riddle after riddle that seems to be leading them on a treasure hunt. Meanwhile Jakob is being forced to lead a hunt for the robbers and Magdalena is trying to forget Simon by setting off on her own adventure. What will happen to our heroes? Read this fantastic book yourself and find out!
The Recommender LOVES the hangman and all the main characters in this series. A likable hangman, you might ask? Yes, Jakob is an extremely likable, compassionate and sometimes cynical man making the best of his lot in life, he's a good and loyal friend and family man and  not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. Not a bad role model. I'll be starting book three in the upcoming weeks.

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