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Hangman’s Daughter Books In Order

Publication Order of Hangman's Daughter Books

The Hangman's Daughter (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dark Monk (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Beggar King (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Poisoned Pilgrim (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The “Hangman’s Daughter” series was originally written in German by German author, television personality, and television screenwriter Oliver Potzsch (who descends from a famous Bavarian clan that used to execute people, the real life Kuisls) and was translated into English by Lee Chadeayne. The e-book editions of the books sell very well online.

The series is historical fiction set in 1660 Germany with Jakob Kuisl, the town hangman, in the lead role. He investigates crimes, especially the odd ones that happen in his small village. The role of hangman is one that Jakob inherited from his father (who inherited the role from his father). It is a role that makes whichever family is chosen to perform the executions shunned and social outcasts. He has the help of his daughter Magdalena (an apprentice mid-wife) and the town doctor Simon.

The series requres Oliver Potzsch to do quite a bit of research before he writes. He feels that books are a defense of his ancestors’s honor, and they try to give respect to the people who have carried out executions, something that is not often done. He believes that some prejudice is given to the people who perform executions for a living. Research into his family’s background, but also into the way things were back then to make sure there is a realistic quality to the books.

This book (“The Hangman’s Daughter”) sheds light on the fact that claiming something was the result of witchcraft making something a valid excuse for something happening. Because something was thought to be the work of witchcraft gave whoever investigated the case the right to torture or use whatever means necessary to stop the supposed witch from continuing to commit crimes and punish them for being a witch. “The Hangman’s Daughter” also shows that it is not just the church that does this, but the secular too.

“The Hangman’s Daughter” is the second book in the “Hangman’s Daughter” series. Set in 1660 Germany. A boy, who is in the process of dying, is pulled out of a river with only something crudely tattooed on his shoulder to identify him. A hangman named Jakob Kuisl is tasked with figuring out what happened, and whether or not witchcraft played a part in the boy winding up in the river. He comes across a woman, who is believed to be the killer, and after torturing her, he determines that she is innocent, and he tries to find out who actually killed the boy. Jakob tries to figure out who actually killed the boy before the woman is hung for the crime. He gets some help from his daughter and her love interest, the town doctor Simon (who is called a hack because he does not believe in purging or bloodletting but more modern techniques). Some of the people in the town do not really care about who actually committed the crime but only about protecting their money. It is seen as bad form for a doctor to go after someone considered of low status like a hangman’s daughter.

It is worth noting that the book does not have the pacing of a thriller but of a historical novel. It also does not feature that much graphic violence or language. It does feature a balance between humor, drama, and suspense.

Fans of the book enjoyed that Jakob is not a man who enjoys torturing or killing the innocent; he is also a man of god, but finds god in nature, not in man. He goes so far as to help the woman he tortures to endure what he’s doing to her. Readers have found that the characters in the book do not seem to be made up but rather real people in real places; the author has the ability to give enough historical details to be accurate but not too much to give the reader unnecessary details. Some of the readers did not like the book because of some of the phrases that it uses; it is possible that some of the word choice used is due to the fact that it has been translated from another language and it was determined by the translator to use this language. Some found the book, besides the first chapter, to read like a book a thirteen year old kid would read and was packed with cliches.

“The Dark Monk” is the second book in the “Hangman’s Daughter” series. This book takes place not long after the events of “The Hangman’s Daughter”, in 1660. A parish priest finds out that he has been poisoned while winter descends on the sleepy village. He is on his own because everyone is indoors to get out of the cold weather. All he can do is scratch a message in the snow, as well as other things that baffle anyone else who tries to piece them together. Jakob is given the case and along with help from the priest’s sister, the four investigate the crime. They find that there is treasure to be found, treasure of the Knights Templar. There are many other people after the treasure as well; like a group of dangerous monks, who are watching everything the four does from afar.

Fans of the book like the way Oliver creates a maze of mystery and intrigue, crafts characters well, and there is some romance as well. Readers like Magdalena, Jakob’s daughter; they say that she gives depth to the doctor, a character who would be too concerned with his image to date a woman considered of low social position and makes him more respectable too as he does not let something petty like social position get in the way of being in love with her. They also like that she is a strong female that is head strong to boot. The author does a good job of drawing readers in to the Knights Templar, with all of their secrets and exposes them all, showing them for what they truly are.

This series is for fans of the “Prussian” series set in the early nineteenth century by Michael Gregorio.

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