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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 June 2012
It took me a little while to get into this story but the more I read, the better I liked it. It has a wonderfully authentic feel to it and the author obviously knows, and loves, both the places and the period. The lives and times of the characters are wonderfully vivid. The story itself is a hunt for treasure, in the style of The Da Vinci Code, but set in medieval Europe. There are a couple of neat plot twists along the way as well, as Jakob Kuisl, his daughter and their young Doctor friend tackle murderes and bandits, as well as trying to track down the Templar treasure. My only slight reservation is that one or two of the villains came across as a bit stereotyped and one or two minor characters appeared and disappeared rather too quickly, but that is probably me being too picky. On the whole, it was very well constructed and kept me guessing to the end.

This is a thoroughly entertaining story, set against a truly authentic historical background. Don't be put off by the original being written in German; the translation is very good indeed and comes across as very natural.
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on 16 June 2012
Well this has got it all...17th Century Bavaria, a treasure hunt, a murder mystery and a fair few action set pieces.

The triumvirate of the hangman, the local doctor and the hangmans daughter make a great little team and this was an entertaining and well written book from the offset.

The bad guts are out and out loons but there are lots of grey people in the middle of this story who are sympathetically written.

Engrossing from start to finish.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Our heroes search for Templar treasure in 17th century Bavaria, trying to keep one step ahead of some very dark monks indeed. Semi-comic, occasionally tragic, this is a terrific story and very well told.

All the characters - and they're a delightfully mixed bunch - are well drawn and real. The translation is excellent, completely natural and good modern English. Refreshingly for an historical novel, there is no attempt at ye olde Englishe-speake, no annoying `Tolkienese'.

The Dark Monk is a sequel, but there are very few references to the earlier novel and it can easily be read as a stand alone, it was never a problem for me that I hadn't read the first book, The Hangman's Daughter, though I certainly will now.

In short, this is a brilliant tale very well told. The most enjoyable book I've read this year and very highly recommended indeed.
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on 28 July 2012
This was certainly an exciting read, with stacks of action stretching imagination to its extremes. One felt sorry for the stigma carried by the hangman's daughter, who was feeling pretty well jilted out of her loved one's attentions most of the story, but she proved extremely resourceful when the testing times arose. All in all I felt that there were too many chance happenings although the twists and turns certainly kept a reader in suspense right through to the end. I considered The Dark Monk to be a worth while effort.

Ken R
Amazon verified purchase
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on 14 January 2013
The plot and characters were interesting - my main problem with this book was the dreadful translation, clearly by an American, which was so inappropropriate (referring to an 17th century doctor as a "medic") it became a distraction from the text.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 March 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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 read a number from this programme and frankly they have been variable. However, both the Hangman's Daughter, which was the first in this series, and the Dark Monk I would classify as excellent. There is an added interest, as the author explains in both books in a postscript, in that the executioner and torturer, Jakob Kuisl, was his real life ancestor although the actual events portrayed are fictional.

The profession of executioner was a family profession being passed from generation to generation. They were usually shunned by the populace in general and as a result generally intermarried. The Kuisls were one of the best known such dynasties in Bavaria. This story is to a large extent a classic treasure hunt for the treasure of the Knights Templar, complete with arcane clues and other sinister, interested parties who are hot on the trail too.

Unlike the first in this series, which had Jakob Kuisl in the central role and was not so much about the Hangman's Daughter, Magdalena, this time both Magda and her boyfriend, Simon, son of the local medical practitioner take the central role. However, it is still Jakob who is the intriguing character. Due to his profession he is quite an unlikely hero, but he carries out his duties with apparent reluctance, and as is his habit, has to go on a heavy drinking session before breaking a bandit on the wheel. He is also a gifted healer and is generally compassionate towards those he has to deal with in his official capacity. He makes a thoughtful and intelligent hero.

Translation is generally well done and there were only a couple of occasions where I winced as something did not come across as intended. In particular the author describes the settings very well and the reader can almost believe that he is walking around Shongau and the other settings for this book.

This story retains the ability to surprise and the outcome was certainly not signposted in advance. The climax is quite frenetic and the conclusion makes sense as the author ties up the loose ends efficiently. I think that most will enjoy this even if historical fiction is not their usual reading matter. In particular the potential reader should not be put off by the torturer/executioner angle as there is little here which could be classified as at all grisly. I believe The Beggar King has already been translated and The Warlock from this series will follow in due course. These will certainly be high on my reading list.
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on 3 July 2012
I loved this book! I brought the first book in this series as it was on sale in Jan for the Kindle. I really enjoyed that story so as soon as the second book came out I brought it. This is just as good as the first and had me fully captivated throughout. I really enjoyed the mystery and the love aspect too. The plot twists are good and make the story flow well. The characters are well written and it is clear that the author knows and loves the area. I can highly recommend this book and I am very much looking forward to the third book.
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on 9 December 2015
I have had enough of this book. I am struggling to follow and only on the first chapter. The translation seems to change from one theme to another too quickly without explaining what happened previously. For instance I couldn't understand following on from the prologue whether the late priest died on the slab of the gravestone or raised the gravestone and got in. I presumed he lay down on the slab, but later it states he was capable of opening it. Then it moves quickly on to the executioners daughter giving birth which involves a midwife and a few other characters who are confusing the picture. I cant understand the characters in this book and there purpose. The pace of this book is also going far too slow.. where the story goes from here I cant fathom. Witchcraft or not I have give up as my brain has frazzled. I don't know how I get back into it, it was also becoming dark and morbid which I have been reading about a bit too much of late. I need a easier and lighter read. I have read others comments and the book seems highly thought of but this book is definitely overrated in my opinion.
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on 17 June 2016
This is a good read. A quite unusual "Hero" being a hangman along with his physician friend and daughter. A well told story with lots of detail of the time. Don't be put off by the main character being a hangman, this is not a graphic novel with lots of gore. It is a medieval whodunit and a very good one too. The hangman angle makes it quite different in terms of subject matter. I have read a number of authors who write about this period and this is right up there with some of the best (for me!). It gives a great insight into the beliefs and lives of the time. A good, well structured book with characters who are rich and deep.
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on 5 September 2014
I kept going with this book but I don't know why. The translation reads like a teen novel or a low quality romance. The story becomes increasingly implausible and the characters and their relationships with each other are cliched and unbelievable. It's also interminably long. A big mistake to have wasted time with it, and I will now be even more wary (if that's possible!) of believing the good reviews submitted by others.
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