1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors on the night a parish priest discovers he's been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength to scratch a cryptic sign in the frost.
Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl, his headstrong daughter, Magdalena, and the town physician's son team up with the priest's aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.
But they're not the only ones after the legendary fortune. A team of dangerous and mysterious monks is always close behind, tracking their every move, speaking Latin in the shadows, giving off a strange, intoxicating scent. And to throw the hangman off their trail, they have ensured he is tasked with capturing a band of thieves roving the countryside attacking solitary travellers and spreading panic.
Delivering on the promise of the international bestseller The Hangman's Daughter, Oliver Pötzsch takes us on a whirlwind tour through the occult hiding places of Bavaria's ancient monasteries. Once again based on prodigious historical research into Pötzsch's family tree, The Dark Monk brings to life an unforgettable, compassionate hangman and his tenacious daughter, painting a robust tableau of a seventeenth-century Bavaria and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.
"Readers will also appreciate the nice balance between drama, suspense, and humor: this is a serious story, Potzsch seems to be saying, but it's OK to have some fun with it. At least two more books in the series are forthcoming, and they will be most welcome." - Booklist
"Fans of Michael Gregorio's early 19th-century Prussian series (Unholy Awakening, etc.) will find a lot to enjoy." - Publishers Weekly
"Swift and sure, compelling as any conspiracy theory, persuasive as any spasm of paranoia, The Dark Monk grips you at the base of your skull and doesn't let go." - Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz
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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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