The Bloodletter's Daughter Summary and Reviews

The Bloodletter's Daughter

A Novel of Old Bohemia

by Linda Lafferty

The Bloodletter's Daughter
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Sep 2012
    492 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Inspired by a real-life murder that threatened to topple the powerful Hapsburg dynasty, The Bloodletter’s Daughter is a dark and richly detailed saga of passion and revenge.

Within the glittering Hapsburg court in Prague lurks a darkness of which no one dares speak…

In 1606, the city of Prague shines as a golden mecca of art and culture carefully cultivated by Emperor Rudolf II. But the emperor hides an ugly secret: His bastard son, Don Julius, is afflicted with a madness that pushes the young prince to unspeakable depravity. Desperate to stem his son's growing number of scandals, the emperor exiles Don Julius to a remote corner of Bohemia where the young man is placed in the care of a bloodletter named Pichler. The bloodletter's task: cure Don Julius of his madness by purging the vicious humors coursing through his veins.

When Pichler brings his daughter Marketa to assist him, she becomes the object of Don Julius's frenzied - and dangerous - obsession. To him, she is the embodiment of the women pictured in the Coded Book of Wonder, a priceless manuscript from the imperial library that was the mad prince's only link to sanity. As the prince descends further into the darkness of his mind, his acts become ever more desperate, as Marketa, both frightened and fascinated, can’t stay away.

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Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Michelle H. (Van Buren, AR)

Interesting Look at Little-Known History
I wasn't sure what to expect when I read The Bloodletter's Daughter, and I was pleasantly surprised. I knew nothing about Rudolf II or his illegitimate son, Julius. The story of the Hapsburg ruler and his mentally ill son is told from the perspective of a smart, scientist-doctor-bathmaid. I dare not give away too much of the story, but I was interested enough to research Julius and the bathmaid. I was shocked to discover that the story was mostly true. It was a page-turner that seemed to fantastic too be real. Excellent historical fiction!

Nancy L. (Denver, NC)

The Bloodletter's Daughter
Had no idea this really happened. It is so scary to think people lived this way in the 1600s. I've heard of the Hapsburgs, but did not know anything about Don Julius and how mean he was.
It was encouraging to know there were women in that time who sought to be more than was expected of them. Marketa had to be extremely brave to do what she did and not expect any credit for it.

Dianne F. (Saint Helena, CA)

A great read
This book had me hooked from start to finish. I really enjoyed reading about the Hapsburgs and the history of that time period. The way the author wove the characters into that historical time period was very believable and fascinating. I would highly recommend this book to our book club.

Linda M. (Lititz, PA)

The Bloodletter's Daughter
Amazing historical fiction read. If you are a lover of historical fiction, which I am, this is the book for you. I learned so much from this book about the Ottman Time Frame in history (1600's). This was a time period that glanced over in my history classes in school so I was in for a real treat with the amount of research that this author has supplied for the book. It is based on a little known true story of the rulers of that time, part of the Hapsburg Monarchy. There were medical issues with the family that the Royal Doctor treated and when the patient was moved to a part of the empire far from the city of Prague he had to rely on the local barber/bloodletter to treat him. Bloodletting was one way of treating certain diseases if you were wealthy enough. The poorer folks relied on herbs and natural offerings they could easily gather from the earth. The Bloodletter's daughter tells the story of the local bloodletter's daughter, Marketa who was interested in the study of science like her father but could never be more than his assistant because in that time females were not allowed to study or learn. She was considered ahead of her time because she was taught to read and write which was something only the more wealthy and schooled males knew how to do. I had a hard time putting the book down, reading through most of the night sometimes. It is something I will remember and go back to again to read.

Mary Lou C. (Shenandoah Junction, WV)

Bloodletter's Daughter
Bloodletter's Daughter is based on a true historical event. It takes place in Bohemia in the early 1600s. The author obviously researched the period and event well. Her resulting tale is riveting. The characters are fascinating and well developed. I couldn't put this book down. It made my heart race! I enjoyed it so much, I'd read it again.

Diane S. (Batavia, IL)

The Bloodletter's Daughter
Love the fact that this book is written about a time and place that has not been written about much. The writing style is very reader friendly and I really liked Marketa, felt very bad for her and limited choices. Also liked that so much of this book is based on historical fact, which for me makes the book more personal and informative. It was an added bonus that the author included an afterward and an author interview. Thought this was a wonderful book. sure to appeal to historical fiction lovers and those who just love reading about a subject that has not been over covered. Look froward to this authors' next subject.

...13 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Linda Lafferty Author Biography

The daughter of a naval commander, Linda Lafferty attended fourteen different schools growing up, ultimately graduating from the University of Colorado with a master's degree and a PhD in education. Her peripatetic childhood nourished a lifelong love of travel, and she studied abroad in England, France, Mexico, and Spain. Her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo when she was just ten years old, and she enjoys playing to this day. She also competed on the Lancaster University Riding Team in England in stadium jumping, cross country, and dressage. A veteran school educator, she is the author of The Bloodletter's Daughter and The Drowning Guard. She lives in Colorado.

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