The Hangman's Daughter

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
1

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 hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t 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 doctor’s 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 Hangman’s 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 they’ve put down the novel.

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More by Oliver Pötzsch

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“Pötzsch paints picturesque landscapes, whether it’s damp, dark castles, the stink of a medieval tannery, or whirlpool-plagued Rhine River rapids . . . Combine Princess Bride with Germanic history circa 1500, add a dash of Lord of the Rings, and there’s a week of good fun.” — Kirkus Reviews
 
In 1524, in what is now Germany, hundreds of thousands of peasants revolted against the harsh treatment of their aristocratic overlords. Agnes is the daughter of one of these overlords, but she is not a typical sixteenth-century girl, refusing to wear dresses and spending more time with her pet falcon than potential suitors. There is only one suitor she is interested in: Mathis, a childhood friend whom she can never marry due to his low birth status.

In the midst of war, Agnes’s falcon finds a mysterious ring, and Agnes begins having strange but seemingly meaningful dreams. Dreams that lead her and Mathis to run away from their home in Trifels Castle and into the midst of the tumultuous Peasants’ War, cast into an adventure that will lead them to shocking revelations about themselves and the future of the emerging German states.
 
“The war scenes are grimly realistic, and the narration gripping . . . The author makes the fantastical elements work by harnessing them to the grim reality of the Peasants’ War, setting his far-fetched romance in an utterly convincing world of economic hardship, social strife and religious and political uncertainty.” — Wall Street Journal
 
5.0
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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Jun 12, 2012
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780547536835
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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