1662: Jakob Kuisl, The Hangman of Schongau, is summoned to visit his little sister in Regensburg. According to the letter, she’s quite ill & needs her brother along with all his medicinal knowledge. Without a second’s hesitation, Jakob takes off for Regensburg where his sister & brother-in-law operate a bathhouse.
Meanwhile, in Schongau, Magdalena & Simon are being terribly persecuted. Because the Hangman & his family are considered cursed, they’re treated as outcasts. Likewise, Simon’s town standing has diminished due to his relationship with Magdalena. Desperate to protect her mother & siblings, Magdalene urges Simon to run off with her. Under the premise of starting a new life, they, also end up in Regensburg. However, Jakob initially has no idea they’re there too.
Soon, Jakob will be tremendously glad to see them! After his arrival, he discovers a murder has occurred & the powers-that-be are convinced Jakob’s done it. Now the tables have turned on the hangman as he has become the condemned. It’s up to Simon & Magdalena to save the day. No one was aware of the corruption & underhanded tactics swirling around Regensburg. Before it’s all said & done, Simon & Magdalena will get caught up in world of underground beggars, repercussions from The Great War, & shady dealings with the Bishop. But, can they save Jakob’s life?
‘The Beggar King’, apparently titled after a character who appears midway through the book, is definitely an unexpected turn in the series. Readers see a more in depth look at what took place during the Great War. Prior to Book 3, we have little info about Jakob the Mercenary. By far, this one is the most brutal to date. There is a lot of death & a ton of torture.
For the most part, the majority of the plot is cloak-and-dagger as Magdalena & Simon launch their rescue plan for Jakob. The cast of supporting characters is at time creepy & definitely a unique bunch. There a quite a few subplots, too, which adds to the original plot without overshadowing it. However, there wasn’t enough mention of him to justify the book’s title. I definitely could think of several more relevant titles.
As for the violence, there was probably a bit more included than was necessary for plot development. The series itself is violent to a point, but many of the details could’ve been reduced. Again, the novel is very lengthy. Perhaps leaving out some of the violent, torture descriptions would have shortened it a tad.
For the most part, if one ignores the gore, it’s a good plot continuation for the series. I definitely liked that the author included so much character development. It certainly takes skill to make a villain (The Hangman) into a hero. I give this one 4 stars.