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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AUDACIOUS ADVENTURES & A GREAT READ
1662. In Regensburg sister Lisbeth is gravely ill. At once Schongau's hangman Jakub Kuisl sets off to try cure her. It is a trap, he arrested on trumped up charges and destined for much suffering. Feisty daughter Magdalena, lover doctor's son Simon in tow, vows to save him. Whom to trust in this city so full of colourful characters and surprises? What hope for the...
Published 18 months ago by Mr. D. L. Rees

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3rd installment in series becoming a little formulaic?
Having read and enjoyed the 1st 2 books by the author i was looking forward to this 3rd book. Again the characters we know and love from the 1st 2 books are here and while this book provides a decent enough read, i felt like i was re reading the Dark Monk in parts.
The plot itself is quite interesting and i did enjoy the little twists as one of the characters meets...
Published 10 months ago by Mr. R. Williams


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AUDACIOUS ADVENTURES & A GREAT READ, 5 Jan 2013
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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1662. In Regensburg sister Lisbeth is gravely ill. At once Schongau's hangman Jakub Kuisl sets off to try cure her. It is a trap, he arrested on trumped up charges and destined for much suffering. Feisty daughter Magdalena, lover doctor's son Simon in tow, vows to save him. Whom to trust in this city so full of colourful characters and surprises? What hope for the three with villains so determined?

One senses throughout Oliver Potzsch is thoroughly enjoying himself, tongue firmly in cheek as cliffhangers abound and exploits grow ever more preposterous. Here are ghosts from the past, spies spying on spies, even a plot to change the course of history. Prominent is charismatic beggar Nathan the Wise, king of the catacombs, but exactly whose side is he on?

It is all great, if gory, fun - best enjoyed by readers who enter into the spirit of the thing. Especially relished is the sparring between formidable Magdalena and diminutive Simon - he once such a dandy, now increasingly a force to be reckoned with.

Almost everything is here in this third book of a stirring series - grandeur, squalor, superstition, unlikely alliances, dramatic (if not always plausible) escapes, so many around not quite what they seem.

As before, Potzsch follows up with a delightfully chatty tour round the places featured - Regensburg a city he loves and, he assures potential visitors, in a far better state than it was then.

A sequel already under way? That is good news indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic descriptions of the period and a wonderful story to go with it, 14 Jan 2013
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (UK Edition) (Kindle Edition)
This review contains no spoilers.

Oliver Potzsch, the author of The Beggar King, is a descendant of one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners and so has an interest in basing his series of historical novels on the hangman of Schongau, Jacob Kuisl and his daughter Magdalena. The book opens with a short prologue set in 1662 during the 30 years war which gives readers a glimpse of what rape and pillaging meant for a peaceful rural community. It is worth noting the names of those involved for they will feature 25 years later in the book we are about to read.

Jakob Kuisil leaves his home-town of Schonburg to travel to the regional centre of Regensburg where his sister is reportedly dying of cancer. Back in Schonburg, Jakob's daughter Magdalena has troubles of her own. Her boyfriend Simon is a partially-qualified medical doctor and between the two of them they have uncovered corruption in the home of a city dignitary who has poisoned one of his maids who he made pregnant. When Magdalena's home is attacked and burnt, the two lovers decide to follow Magdalena's father to Regensburg to try to make a new life for themselves, not knowing that they are going to get embroiled in a much bigger scandal behind the heavily guarded walls of the city.

Oliver Pptzsch is a very fine story-teller. The book moves along at a fast pace, swapping back and forth between Jakob and Magdalena's stories as they get more deeply involved in the crimes and conflicts of the city. When Jakob arrives in Regensburg he finds that his sister and her husband have been deeply implicated in a criminal conspiracy, but it quickly become apparent that this is a set-up and as Jakob begins to untangle the complex mysteries surrounding his sister he finds himself becoming a target for some very vicious people.

Magdalena and her boyfriend Simon have difficulties of their own having arrived in the city with no visible means of support. As they search for Jakob they also attract the attention of the conspirators and become fugitives living among the beggars in the stinking cellars and passages of derelict houses.

Apart from the gripping story contained in this book, for me the pleasure in reading was Potzsch's wonderful evocation of life in Regensburg. We learn so much about the various industries of the city, whether rafting on the Danube or brewing and baking within the city walls. When his scenes are set in inns I could almost sense the smells and noise as I read about the disgusting food being served to the customers.

We read much about Jakob's job as an executioner and doubtless this is based on Potzsch's impeccable research. The executioner was not only responsible for terminating the lives of assorted criminals, but was also responsible for the sanitation of the town. When Jakob falls into the hands of the Regensburg executioner later in the book he learns what it is like to be on the receiving end of a 16th century interrogation in which confessions were obtained by a wide variety of gruesome means (sensitive readers may wish to skim over these passages).

I don't usually enjoy historical novels but have to admit that this one gripped me from the start and kept me turning the pages and I hardly noticed its substantial length.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder mystery by numbers, 13 Jan 2013
By 
Petra Bryce "bookworm" (Malvern, Worcs) - See all my reviews
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Jakob Kuisl, the Schongau hangman, is on his way to Regensburg to visit his gravely ill sister. As he tries to enter the city, he is detained by the guards and has to spend the night in a cell. In the morning, as he enters the bathhouse that his brother-in-law and sister keep, he finds their bodies with their throats slit and the guards ready to arrest him minutes after the grisly discovery; someone had obviously tipped them off. With everyone convinced of his guilt, he is thrown into the city dungeon where he is awaiting torture before inevitable execution. It falls to Kuisl's daughter Magdalena and her lover Simon, fleeing the Schongau inhabitants' narrow-mindedness, to prove his innocence. Little do they know that they are about to stumble on a clever revenge plot centring on Magdalena's father, one that might have dangerous consequences for the entire German Empire.

This is already the third instalment in The Hangman's Daughter series but the first I read. It feels impeccably researched and the long chapters build up the atmosphere of Regensburg in the middle of the 17th century very well, yet, by the same token, they also reveal the novel's notable lengths; the book definitely feels 100 pages too long. There is a lot of fleeing from one point of refuge to another through a warren of back streets and alleyways and one too many rescues from certain death at the very last moment in my opinion, stretching credibility. The characters are mostly well drawn, even if some are teetering precariously close to cliché: the fat brewmaster monk and the fop and ladies' man Italian, for example. There's also the good old, if well-worn, plot device of "I'll make a few enquiries and will tell you the answer in the morning", only to find that the character has been conveniently killed off by that time, and I felt the lack of credible alternative villains rather keenly. There are annoying little plot inconsistencies that niggle in the background, and the final solution feels historically neat, yet too elaborate for the humble hangman to be involved in. The prologue, while important for setting the scene, also gives away the mystery of the hangman's enemies too easily, and I had guessed the reason for their planning revenge on Jakob Kuisl very early, thereby depriving me of the tension that revolved around their identities. Interesting from a historical perspective (the novel is set barely fifteen years after the Thirty Years' War) and diverting, yet a bit too formulaic for my taste: a generous four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beggar King, 1 Oct 2013
By 
R. J. Verrillo "hellsgrandad" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (UK Edition) (Kindle Edition)
The storyline and character development is excellent, the author really captures the atmosphere of the times. I would recommend this highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third in the series, 7 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (UK Edition) (Kindle Edition)
Another excellent read. I have given five stars because again i couldn't put this down however maybe with a slightly slower pace than the first two books. The familiar characters in new surroundings kept this a bit fresher than it could have been. I have already downloaded the last book but not sure how many more are possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3rd installment in series becoming a little formulaic?, 4 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (UK Edition) (Kindle Edition)
Having read and enjoyed the 1st 2 books by the author i was looking forward to this 3rd book. Again the characters we know and love from the 1st 2 books are here and while this book provides a decent enough read, i felt like i was re reading the Dark Monk in parts.
The plot itself is quite interesting and i did enjoy the little twists as one of the characters meets an old foe but i also felt that some elements were lifted straight from Dark Monk, changed round a little and placed into this work.
Having said that, it must be quite difficult to keep on inventing new scenarios whilst developing a series involving the same lead players who are stuck in one time and region so i applaud the author for at least keeping it interesting. If you have not read the other books then this would probably be as good as the previous 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 30 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (UK Edition) (Kindle Edition)
This is the best book of the series so far. I can't wait to start the next book. What an amazing discovery!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Aventure, 23 April 2013
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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The Hangman's Daughter series is part of the Amazon Crossing programme which aims to identify worthy foreign language literature for translation into English. I have now read all three of the Hangman's Daughter series which have been published to date and they have all been excellent. As I think is widely known, although these adventures are fictional, Jakob Kuisl, the hangman was an ancestor of the author which adds extra interest.

The first book was very much about the hangman himself, whilst his daughter, Magdalena really only had a walk on part. The second in the series, The Dark Monk was, however, all about Magda and her boyfriend, Simon, son of the local doctor. This time round all are very involved in this action packed and quite complex tale.

The hangman receives a letter from Regensburg, telling him that his sister is dangerously ill. He quickly sets off for that city with his medicines, but it proves to be a plot to ensnare him from someone from his past who clearly has a grudge against him. Jakob ends up on the receiving end of some of the treatment he is used to meting out to others from the Regensburg executioner and torturer who proves to have a lot in common with him. Meanwhile Magdalena and Simon flee their home town and set off to Regensburg to start a new life as they cannot marry due to the lowly status of members of an executioner's family. They quickly become embroiled in Jakob's problems and an apparent far reaching conspiracy although they do receive help from unlikely quarters.

This is quite an action packed book, particularly towards the climax as all three of the main characters have their own perils to deal with. This is a story which will appeal to most readers even if historical novels are not their usual reading matter. Although Jakob is tortured, potential readers should not be put off by this even if they are of a squeamish disposition as it is not treated in an overly graphic fashion so as to offend. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series, The Poisoned Pilgrim. As a postscript the author gives us a detailed description of Regensburg which has definitely made me want to visit this very interesting and historical Bavarian town.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preposterous, darkly comic, brilliant 17th century romp., 10 Mar 2013
By 
JK "Julie K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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The most preposterous book I've read. Packed full of darkly comical moments alongside completely off-the-wall adventures and I enjoyed every single word. Don't read this book and expect it to be anything other than entertaining. It's not. You have to suspend an awful lot of belief to get through it and; there's a lot to get through at 530 pages. The author takes us back to 1662 and features a hangman/torturer, Jacob Kuisl, who is framed for the murder of his sister. Jacob is sent into the prison in which he has himself inflicted so much pain. It's up to his daughter, Magdalena, and her partner, Simon, to clear his name and save the hangman from a fate worse than death!. The plot runs away with itself and the author is so obviously enjoying himself you feel the humour coming at you through the pages. It's quite breathless. There's gore and 'nastiness' in places, this is the story of a 17th century hangman/torturer after all, you need to be ready for the darker elements. There's so much going on and yet the story romps along really well and rarely ever stumbles but; the plot's so complex there are moments when it's difficult to believe what's happening. Features ghosts, spies, plotting, cliffhangers, beggars, catacombs, superstition, to name but a few, and set in and around different locations in Bavaria which are beautifully described. You do need to enter into the fun when you read the Beggar King and not attempt to take it too seriously however; the depth and richness of the story telling is quite remarkable. Brilliant gory, dark fun and I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment!, 9 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (UK Edition) (Kindle Edition)
A very exciting tale and well told. Not a work of art but nevertheless a very absorbing tale of adventure.
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