Saturday, September 29, 2012

Historical Fiction by Oliver Potzsch

I finished reading The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch, set in 17th century Bavaria, a few weeks ago and recommended it as our book club pick for October.  In this story hangman Jakob Kuisl; his daughter Magdalena; and Simon,a Physician's Assistant; try to solve the mystery of a murdered child and to vindicate the midwife accused of murdering the child and practicing witchcraft.  It turns out that this historical fiction is the first of 4 books by Potzsch, a descendant of the Kuisl family.

I have moved on to the second book, The Dark Monk.  I am on page 71.  In this story the hangman, Simon and Magdalena are taking an interest in a priest who was poisoned in the city of Altenstadt.   Simon and Magdalena had a romantic relationship in Book 1 and in Book 2 jealousy is raising its ugly head as Simon seems to have an interest in the dead priest's wealthy sister, Benedikta.  However on page 71, the hangman's attention has to be directed from the mystery of the priest to other matters. He has been assigned the job of leader of a 17th century Bavarian version of  a posse.  He and the townsmen are supposed to hunt down some bandits who have been attacking their city of Schongau.

The Knight Templars is mentioned in this novel.  The church where the dead priest was found was once the headquarters of the Knight Templars; a band of religious zealots with headquarters across Europe originally assigned to guide travelers safely to Israel. The Knights have been mentioned in several novels lately.  I know I read a Steve Berry book about them, Templar Legacy.

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