Synopses & Reviews
A chilling, mesmerizing novel that combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the detail and drama of historical fiction.
In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town's Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry I is no friend of the Jews or anyone, really but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," an early version of the medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno. But her name is Adelia the king has been sent a mistress of the art of death.
Adelia and her companions Simon, a Jew, and Mansur, a Moor travel to England to unravel the mystery of the Cambridge murders, which turn out to be the work of a serial killer, most likely one who has been on Crusade with the king. In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia must conceal her true identity as a doctor in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she is assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, one of the king's tax collectors, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. Rowley may be a needed friend, or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia's investigation takes her into Cambridge's shadowy river paths and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again...
"The bold, brilliant heroine of Mistress of the Art of Death is the medieval answer to Kay Scarpetta and the CSI detectives. This is a compelling, unique and vibrant page-turner."
Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of the Elizabeth I mystery series
"Though her narrative is somewhat uneven, Franklin (City of Shadows) delivers rich period detail and a bloody good ending reflecting the savagery of the times." Booklist
"CSI meets The Canterbury Tales....Franklin hits commercial paydirt....Franklin has devised an appealing amalgam of genres....A potentially winning formula, delivered with panache." Kirkus Reviews
"Franklin presents a fascinating character in Adelia, who is odd for her era and profession yet familiar in her flaws and complexity. This novel will surely please mystery fans as well as lovers of historical fiction." Library Journal
"[A] spellbinding yarn of pageantry, intrigue, sharp character studies and provocative themes....You won't be able to put it down." Chicago Sun-Times
"[A] rollicking microcosm of budding science, medieval culture and edge-of-your-seat suspense." USA Today
"A fabulous read...irresistible." -- New York Daily News
"Vivid and engaging...succeeds brilliantly as both historical fiction and crime thriller. [A] terrific book...with a dozen twists." -- Diana Gabaldon, Washington Post
"One of the most compelling, suspenseful mysteries I've read in years." -- New York Times
bestselling author Sharon Kay Penman "The medieval answer to Kay Scarpetta and the CSI detectives." -- Karen Harper, bestselling author of the Elizabeth I
mystery series "Fascinating...a rollicking microcosm of budding science, medieval culture, and edge-of-your-seat suspense." -- USA Today
"Expert researched, a brilliant heroine." -- Kate Mosse, New York Times
bestselling author of Labyrinth
"CSI meets The Canterbury Tales
...commercial paydirt...delivered with panache." -- Kirkus Reviews
"The Beggar King
is a richly appointed historical novel, a compelling tapestry of violence, intrigue, and tenderness. Pötzsch drags you into his beautifully rendered and dangerous seventeenth-century Europe and doesn't let you escape until the final climactic page."
—Glenn Cooper, international bestselling author of Secret of the Seventh Son
"Twists and turns enmesh both the characters and the reader in this absorbing tale that captures, with an authenticity that is truly rare, the sounds and sights and smells of seventeenth-century Germany. A gripping story of love, betrayal, and long-delayed revenge."
—James Becker, author of The Moses Stone
"The Beggar King weaves a fascinating web of intrigue that invokes much more than just the intricate politics of 17th-century Germany. Oliver Pötzsch has brought to life the heady smells and tastes, the true reality of an era we've never seen quite like this before. The hangman Jakob and his feisty daughter Magdalena are characters we will want to root for in many books to come."—Katherine Neville, bestselling author of The Eight and The Magic Circle
Praise for The Dark Monk
"Swift and sure, compelling as any conspiracy theory, persuasive as any spasm of paranoia, The Dark Monk grips you at the base of your skull and doesn't let go."
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz
"Oliver Pötzsch takes readers on a darkly atmospheric visit to seventeenth-century Bavaria in his latest adventure. With enough mystery and intrigue to satisfy those who like gritty historical fiction, The Dark Monk has convincing characters, rip-roaring action, and finely-drawn settings."
—Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night
"Weaving together the mystery of a murdered priest, a Templar treasure, and a kind-hearted hangman, Oliver Pötzsch's The Dark Monk is a labyrinth of clues and rich characters in seventeenth-century Bavaria. Pötzsch keeps the action boiling, the clues intriguing, and the history fascinating and authentic."
—William Dietrich, author of The Emerald Storm
"Readers who like a plot-driven story with identifiable heroes and villains will be drawn to this ambitious novel. And unlike some stories in the genre, The Hangmans Daughter
only gets better as the climax approaches — an exciting duel between the hangman and his nemesis. It truly delivers the thing so many of us look for in our novels: entertainment." —BookPage
"This work seamlessly merges brutality and compassion, and its elegant plot, appealing characters and satisfying conclusion will keep the reader wide awake and turning pages well into the night." — Shelf Awareness for Readers
"The translator has done very well by the author; both setting and characters are vividly drawn, making for a compelling read . . . Based on the author's research into his own family history, this novel offers a rare glimpse into a less commonly seen historical setting. If you liked Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, give this a try." —Library Journal Xpress
"[Pötzsch's] novel reads quite vividly . . . Based on the authors family history, this excellent story brings 17th-century Bavaria alive with all its fears, superstitions and politics. Jacob Kuisl is not your ordinary hangman, and readers will root for him and his search for the truth. Theres enough 'unreality' in the evil of superstitions that this novel may appeal to fantasy readers, and the twists and turns of the plot will appeal to mystery fans."—School Library Journal
"A brilliantly-researched and exciting story of a formative era of history when witches were hunted and the inquisitors had little belief in their methods beyond their effect in pacifying superstitious townspeople . . . Pötzsch, actually descended from a line of hangmen, delivers a fantastically fast-paced read, rife with details on the social and power structures in the town as well as dichotomy between university medicine and the traditional remedies, which are skillfully communicated through character interactions, particularly that of Magdalena and Simon. The shocking motivations from unlikely players provide for a twist that will leave readers admiring this complex tale from a talented new voice." —Publishers Weekly "This novel has been popular in Germany since its 2008 publication there, and its easy to see why . . . [Pötzsch] does an excellent job of telling the story and supplying the historical backdrop. And his characters . . . are extremely well drawn and believable. Kudos, too, to translator Chadeayne, who retains the storys German flavor while rendering the text in smooth and highly readable English. Readers of historical fiction should find this very much to their liking." —Booklist "I loved every page, character and plot twist of The Hangmans Daughter, an inventive historical novel about a 17th-century hangmans quest to save a witch—from himself." —Scott Turow
A chilling, mesmerizing novel that combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the detail and drama of historical fiction.
In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town's Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry I is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," an early version of the medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno. But her name is Adelia-the king has been sent a mistress of the art of death.
Adelia and her companions-Simon, a Jew, and Mansur, a Moor-travel to England to unravel the mystery of the Cambridge murders, which turn out to be the work of a serial killer, most likely one who has been on Crusade with the king. In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia must conceal her true identity as a doctor in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she is assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, one of the king's tax collectors, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. Rowley may be a needed friend, or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia's investigation takes her into Cambridge's shadowy river paths and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again . .
Set in medieval England, this chilling, mesmerizing novel combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the detail and drama of historical fiction, as a "mistress of the art of death" an early version of a medical examiner arrives in Cambridge from Italy to investigate the suspicious deaths of four children.
The national bestselling hit hailed by the New York Times as a "vibrant medieval mystery...[it] outdoes the competition."
In medieval Cambridge, England, Adelia, a female forensics expert, is summoned by King Henry II to investigate a series of gruesome murders that has wrongly implicated the Jewish population, yielding even more tragic results. As Adelia's investigation takes her behind the closed doors of the country's churches, the killer prepares to strike again.
The third book in the internationally bestselling Hangman's Daughter series takes readers to the imperial city of Regensburg, where the hangman has been accused of murder.
The third installment of the international best-selling Hangmans Daughter series
1662: Jakob Kuisl, the hangman of a village in the Alps, receives a letter from his sister calling him to the imperial city of Regensburg, where a gruesome sight awaits him: her throat has been slit. When the city constable discovers Kuisl alongside the corpse she locks him in a dungeon, where Kuisl will experience first-hand the torture hes administered himself for years. As nightmares assail him, Kuisl can only hope to prevail on the Regensburg executioner to show mercy to a fellow hangman.
Kuisls steely daughter, Magdalena, and her young doctor paramour, Simon, rush to Regensburg and try to save Jakob, enlisting an underground network of beggars, a beer-brewing monk, and an Italian playboy for help. Navigating the labyrinthine city, they learn there is much more behind the false accusation than a personal vendetta: there is a plan that will endanger the entire German Empire.
Chock-full of fascinating historical detail, The Beggar King brings to vibrant life another tremendous tale of an unlikely hangman and his tough-as-nails daughter, confirming Pötzschs mettle as a storyteller at the height of his powers.
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.
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.
About the Author
Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A former journalist, Norman has written several critically acclaimed biographies and historical novels. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, the film critic Barry Norman.