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The Dark Monk by Oliver Pötzsch

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Rowan
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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
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The Dark Monk by Oliver Pötzsch

Post by Rowan » Wed March 20th, 2013, 1:05 pm

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.

******

This is the second book of the Hangman's Daughter series, the first of which I reviewed previously. I read this a few months ago, so my recollection might not be terrific.

As with most historical mysteries, it's not only the mystery itself but the backdrop against which the events of the story happen. For those who are unfamiliar with Bavaria's history, this story takes place roughly 12 years after the end of the Thirty Years' War. I presume that it is that conflict which Jakob Kuisl ran toward as a young boy in an effort to avoid becoming a hangman like his father. Though the war has ended by the time this story unfolds, there is still a post-war feel to everything. Destruction is still quite visible in the buildings and sometimes in the country-side as well.

I bought this book after enjoying the first one so much and without knowing very much about the plot. I was happily surprised to discover that another interest of mine - the Knights Templar - was woven into the storyline. It was somewhat of a surprise (though it shouldn't have been) to read about the Knights being that far north since I typically tend to think of them only in terms of protecting pilgrims headed to the Holy Land. But I suppose pilgrims were to be found everywhere in Christendom. And the treasure sought isn't THE treasure smuggled out when the Templars were persecuted, but it's a pretty big one nonetheless.

Highly recommend this book in addition to the first.

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Susan
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Post by Susan » Wed March 20th, 2013, 11:15 pm

Ditto Rowan's recommendation. I've read all three published books and I am eagerly awaiting the fourth. The author is a descendant of the hangman Jakob Kuisl.
~Susan~
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Rowan
Bibliophile
Posts: 1462
Joined: August 2008
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:

Post by Rowan » Thu March 21st, 2013, 10:08 pm

Glad someone has read and enjoyed these as much as I have, Susan! I pre-ordered my copy of the fourth book for my Kindle earlier this week.

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