Title: The Dark Monk (The Hangman’s Daughter #2)
Author: Oliver Pötzsch and translated by Lee Chadeayne
My Rating: 4 Stars
Published: June 12th 2012 by Mariner Books
Recommended If You Like: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Religion, Germany, Bavaria, 17th Century, Crime
More Information: Goodreads
I’m a huge fan of Oliver Pötzsch, I loved the first book of this series and his novel The Ludwig Conspiracy is one of my all time favorite books. I had high expectations for this book and it did not disappoint. My favorite characters hadn’t changed a bit and the crazy mystery only more unbelievable this time around.
This time around the gang is drawn into a crazy goose chase when a priest in a neighboring town is found dead in his church. It doesn’t take the hangman, Jakob Kuisl, and his physician friend, Simon, long to discover he was murdered. But, before he died he was able to write a cryptic message, which leads Jakob, Simon, and Magdalena (the Hangman’s daughter and Simon’s love interest) on a trail of riddles leading to a centuries old treasure. However, this isn’t any ordinary treasure, this is treasure left behind by the Knights Templar.
And this time around it’s not just the three of them. A beautiful woman named Benedikta , the priest’s sister, arrives and wants to help look for the reason her brother was killed. But, they soon discover they are not the only ones looking for treasure. There are a group of Latin speaking monks following their every move and will do anything to get their hands on the treasure first. They even make sure to create a diversion of thieves in the country side to distract them. Also, all the while a fever is killing people throughout their sleepy village and threatens to take someone very special.
First, I have to talk about the world building. My favorite part of this book and the first in the series is the setting. He manages to bring 1600s Bavaria to life. He did extensive research and actually visited the real places in the book and the reader can tell that he put a lot of effort and love into creating this world. I felt like I really was being transported somewhere else, which makes this book so special. And as a fun extra he gives a guide of a tour of the places in the book at the end, as well as commentary about his experiences there. He also talks about his family who are the real people the characters of this book are based on.
The story itself is fantastic and a lot of fun. At first, I just wanted know who killed the priest and why. But, as the adventure turned to looking for Templar treasure, I was immediately hooked. The characters go to many different places and towns. I liked that the clues were very clever and difficult to figure out. I don’t like it when authors make it too easy to figure out clues in books. It makes it less fun. This was a mystery that I felt you got to unravel slowly, which made it better paced. Also, the ending wasn’t predictable, I thought I had it all figured out about the middle of book, but I was completely surprised by a lot at the end.
Simon is the local physician of Schongau and the main character of this book. He’s a man before his time and doesn’t quite fit into the small town. He’s well educated and loves reading books. He also dresses in the latest French fashions, unlike most of the men in town. He’s a bit of an outsider, but so are his friends. Jakob Kuisl is the local hangman and therefore shunned by the towns people. It’s bad luck to so much as look at the Kuisls’, let alone talk them. But, he and Simon become friends over the love of medicine and books. And in the meantime, Simon fell in love with his daughter Magdalena. She’s strong willed and speaks her mind, but that’s what he loves about her, which was not usually the case back then. Overall, the characters were as great as in the first book in the series. Simon and Magdalena’s romance takes a bit of a down turn and is put more on the back burner for this book, but they still work well together. And the new comer is a mysterious woman, and she has a few secrets up her sleeve. But, I thought the best characters were the mysterious monks that followed them in the shadows. They were very creepy and really helped darken the story and make it more intense.
I give this book 4 stars, the only reason I didn’t give 5 is because I felt that the book was a bit long winded and bit too long. However, the plot and characters were amazing! This book was great and I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in historical fiction and thrillers. And as of when I write this the book is free on the kindle lending library as are the others in this series.
Have you read this book yet or the first one? What did you think about them? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to like and share this page with your friends. And follow me for more book reviews like this one. Have a great day!