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The Hangman's Daughterby Oliver Potzsch
Synopses & Reviews
Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangmans son—except that the town physicians son is hopelessly in love with her. And her fathers wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years War has finally ended, and there hasnt been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.
Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor to race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctors son face a terrifying and very real enemy.
Taking us back in history to a place where autopsies were blasphemous, coffee was an exotic drink, dried toads were the recommended remedy for the plague, and the devil was as real as anything, The Hangmans Daughter brings to cinematic life the sights, sounds, and smells of seventeenth-century Bavaria, telling the engrossing story of a compassionate hangman who will live on in readers imaginations long after theyve put down the novel.
Set in the mid-1600s in the Bavarian town of Schongau, a hangman, Jakob Kuisl, is asked to find out whether an ominous tattoo found on a dying boy means that witchcraft has come to town.
Thrilling new historical fiction starring a scoundrel with a heart of gold and set in the darkest debtors prison in Georgian London, where people fall dead as quickly as they fall in love and no one is as they seem.
"Antonia Hodgson’s London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real . . . A damn’d good read." —Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian
London, 1727. Tom Hawkins refuses to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with London’s notorious debtors’ prison.
The Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own, with simple rules: Those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of its ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom has never been good at following rules, even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: do the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.
Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder—or be the next to die.
A dazzling evocation of a startlingly modern era, The Devil in the Marshalsea is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.
Simon turned the boy on his belly. With a vigorous tug he ripped open the shirt on the back as well. A groan went through the crowd.
Beneath one shoulder blade there was a palm-size sign of a kind that Simon had never seen before—a washed-out purple circle with a cross protruding from the bottom: ♀
For a moment, there was total silence on the pier. Then the first screams rose. “Witchcraft! Theres witchcraft involved!” Somebody bawled: “The witches have come back to Schongau! Theyre getting our kids!”
About the Author
Oliver Pötzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He is a descendant of one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners. Pötzsch lives in Munich with his family.
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