The Hangman's Daughter: Book summary and reviews of The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch

The Hangman's Daughter

By Oliver Potzsch

The Hangman's Daughter

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Book Summary

Germany, 1660: 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 the 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.

A brilliantly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller, The Hangman's Daughter is the first novel from German television screenwriter Oliver Pötzsch, a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A brilliantly-researched and exciting story of a formative era of history when witches were hunted and the inquisitors had little belief in their methods beyond their effect in pacifying superstitious townspeople...The shocking motivations from unlikely players provide for a twist that will leave readers admiring this complex tale from a talented new voice." - Publishers Weekly

"The translator has done very well by the author; both setting and characters are vividly drawn, making for a compelling read . . . Based on the author's research into his own family history, this novel offers a rare glimpse into a less commonly seen historical setting. If you liked Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, give this a try." - Library Journal

"This novel has been popular in Germany since its 2008 publication there, and it's easy to see why ... [Pötzsch] does an excellent job of telling the story and supplying the historical backdrop. And his characters ... are extremely well drawn and believable. Kudos, too, to translator Chadeayne, who retains the story's German flavor while rendering the text in smooth and highly readable English. Readers of historical fiction should find this very much to their liking." - Booklist

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Author Information

Oliver Potzsch Author Biography

Oliver Pötzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He is a descendant of one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners. Pötzsch lives in Munich with his family.

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