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The Beggar King by Oliver Pötzsch

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Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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The Beggar King by Oliver Pötzsch

Postby Rowan » Wed March 15th, 2017, 6:40 pm

After my re-read of this book, I found that I hadn't put a review here on the forum, so here it is:

This third in the Hangman's Daughter series takes the main characters - Jakob, Magdalena and Simon - out of Schongau and into the world of a much larger city.

The hangman, Jakob Kuisl, travels from the modest town of Schongau to the much larger city of Regensburg to see his younger sister, whom he was close to when they were young. Once there, however, Jakob gets lured into the scene of a gruesome murder and is imprisoned for it. Meanwhile, Jakob's daughter, Magdalena, and her lover Simon decide to leave Schongau for good after Magdalena is attacked and they both realize that no one in the town will ever approve of their relationship. Once they've departed, the two young lovers decide to travel to Regensburg in the hopes of finding work with Magdalena's aunt and uncle. Once there, however, they learn of Jakob's arrest and set out to free him from prison and prove who the actual murderer is. Meanwhile, a very dangerous man from Jakob's past - one he believed to be dead - has returned for revenge and is using Jakob's imprisonment to his fullest advantage.

The plot itself is almost a reversal of the previous book's plot, in that this time it is Magdalena who finds a dashing man to help them in their mystery-solving, leaving Simon to be the jealous one. The bit that stands out to me, though, was the mentioning of the Reichstag. As with many things after World War II, this particular word has a negative connotation, thanks to the Nazis, and it was nice to learn exactly what it was throughout history. During this period, this area of Europe which would eventually become Germany, was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Simply put, a Reichstag was the legislative groups of the German-speaking countries within the HRE. Essentially, the Reichstag was the equivalent of the parliament. I found it useful to know.

Looking forward to re-reading the next book in the series and what new things I can learn about this part of the world.

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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Re: The Beggar King by Oliver Pötzsch

Postby Margaret » Mon March 20th, 2017, 2:27 am

This mystery series is set in a time and place that really interests me, since I am of German descent - my ancestors came over well before the Nazis came to power, so I'm much more interested in Germany during the centuries before the 20th. I was disappointed, though, by the first in the series, (The Hangman's Daughter - see review at http://www.historicalnovels.info/Hangmans-Daughter.html), although I thought the mystery was clever. But the translation really bugged me, because the slang was so specific to an earlier period of the 20th century. I kept getting thrown out of the time period because the dialogue sounded like an old Jimmy Cagney gangster movie. Did you find the translator has toned down the effect in the 2nd and 3rd mysteries in the series?
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User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Re: The Beggar King by Oliver Pötzsch

Postby Rowan » Mon March 20th, 2017, 2:44 pm

I didn't get that from any of the books that I've read thus far, but perhaps you know more about how they sounded in this part of the world at that time. Or maybe in the first book, the translator was told to (or did it on his own) add a bit of "pizzazz" to the story so it would sell. I don't know. The interactions between Magdalena and Simon can be tiresome on occasion, but that's about all I have noticed.


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