Posted in Book Reviews

The Dark Monk: Oliver Potzsch

A Hangman’s Daughter Tale Book 2

January 1660 A.D.: Having survived their last escapade, Hangman, Jakob Kuisl, his daughter, Magdalena, & her love interest, Simon, have gone back to their normal everyday lives. When Simon is summoned to aid a sick, local priest, he assumes it’s a simple case.
He couldn’t be more wrong.

Andreas Koppmeyer doesn’t need a doctor. By the time Simon arrives, he needs a mortician. Found by his staff, Father Koppmeyer is precariously draped near the church altar. Nothing seems to make sense. What appears to be a case of the man’s unhealthy eating catching up with him takes a darker turn when Simon examines the priest’s last meal.
Who would want to do away with a well-liked, innocent priest? Calling in the Hangman for assistance, the duo are too curious to let it go. Their search uncovers some history the Church would rather forget. What on Earth did Koppmeyer discover that someone wanted to keep buried?
This mess will have to wait as the town of Schongau needs their heroes. Robbers are trapping local merchants on the roadways, killing & stealing. Clerk Johann Lechner appoints Jakob to lead a band of townsmen into battle with the bandits. Less than pleased, Kuisl will do as he’s told.
Meanwhile, a vicious fever has invaded the town. People of all ages are succumbing to the illness while the town’s doctor is powerless. Simon needs every ounce of knowledge taught to him by the Hangman to help. All the while, he’ll need to keep his blood-letting physician father from making things worse.
Poor Magdalena isn’t fairing much better while her two favorite men are busy. Trying to aid the local midwife, her status as the town outcast makes it a difficult task. While worrying after the men, she needs to help the fever sufferers, too. But, soon, she’ll need to lend a hand to both men.
‘The Dark Monk’ shows again how blessed we all are for living in a time period where antibiotics flow freely! Suffering as badly as people did in the 1600s is unbelievable. Clever readers will pick up on modern medicines mentioned in their simplest forms as Simon & his dad experiment with herbs & plants.
As for the Church storyline, there were big pluses & minuses. Pluses included the riddles & relics discussed as well as seeing the stark contrast of how the Church played a bigger role in life during this era. Minuses were definitely the dragging of the plot, especially during the middle chapters, & the confusion between all the monks in their different monasteries. There were a lot of characters to remember.

However, as a series, ‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ still remains an amazing work. This particular installment was not as well done as its predecessor, though. I found it to be a 4 star novel.


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