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The Dark Monk

(Die Henkerstochter - The Hangman's Daughter Series #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  21,335 ratings  ·  1,587 reviews
1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors on the night a parish priest discovers he's been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength to scratch a cryptic sign in the frost.

Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl, his headstrong daughter, Magdalena, an

Paperback, 463 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Mariner Books (first published April 3rd 2009)
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J.C. I hadn’t realized this was a sequel when I read it.  You can definitely read it without the prior knowledge from book one.  But you might enjoy it mor…moreI hadn’t realized this was a sequel when I read it.  You can definitely read it without the prior knowledge from book one.  But you might enjoy it more with the “back story” from The Hangman’s Daughter.(less)
Kelley Snorklefoxie Yes he evolves into more of a man as it goes due to a strong female character. I think I enjoyed the 2nd more then the first. There were preferences a…moreYes he evolves into more of a man as it goes due to a strong female character. I think I enjoyed the 2nd more then the first. There were preferences about the templar knights. Plus the daughter starts to really show a fiestiness and spirit of a strong woman. The council's characters came into play as well. More action.(less)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
”Immobilized with terror, Magdalena felt Brother Jakobus throw his whole weight against her and smelled the fire that had turned his robe into gigantic torch. Desperately, she tried to push away his burning body, but his hands held her in a tight grip down on the ground. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see how long strings of a sticky, viscous substance were dripping down on her. Brother Jakobus must have taken pitch from the buckets in the corridor and rubbed it all over his body. The c ...more
Jan 06, 2022 marked it as abandoned
DNF at 25%

I liked the 1st installment in the series and I decided to give The Hangman and his crew another chance. This time I found the book not so well written, full of coincidences, unrealistic and with flat characters. Maybe I was in a bad mood but there are so many historical mysteries out there so I will not spend too much time with a book I do not enjoy.
Ms. Smartarse
Translated into English as The Dark Monk

The priest of the St. Lorenz Church has been killed in a rather bizarre manner (I will NEVER eat a bowl of honeyed noodles again!), and the promising young doctor Simon Fronwieser is itching to get his hands on the mystery behind it. Beats having to listen to his father's constant disgruntled lectures, and watching the town folk slowly waste away of yet another mysterious fever.

So first things first, he calls on the Hangman for help, because Jakob Kuisl is
Lewis Weinstein
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
UPDATE 8/27/18 ... two weeks after putting it down, I went back to The Dark Monk and finished it. The story is, to me, still a mishmash of action scenes with too many characters and no coherence ... but something made me keep reading and, in truth, enjoying the ride more than I did for the first half of the book ... upped my rating to 3*** instead of 2


I have read past 50% and now put it down ... there is a continuing series of often unrelated action scenes ... very little character developme
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second installment of the seven-part-series felt like a cross of a danbrownish riddle paired with indianajonesque treasure hunting and a good dash of Name of the Rose feeling and I quite liked it. Reading this helped me get my mind off things that bothered me during the day. There are not that many entertainment novels that can do that. One can skim the text without missing too much of the plot and be done with it in a day or two. Or you can read it thoroughly and be rewarded with some inter ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this series. It has so much going for it. A Bavarian town in the 17th century in the aftermath of The Thirty Years War, a not-so-usual backdrop for historical fiction (mostly we get Tudor England served up this way over and over again). A central character who is the town's hangman, the latest in a dynasty of executioners, his father and grandfather having had the job before him. As the town's hangman, he is treated like a pariah, part of an untouchable caste that include ...more
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, e-books
3 Stars

This is a really tough book for me to review. I really may have hyped up my feelings about the first book The Hangman's Daughter, as I really believed that it was a dark and dirty period piece with an awesome hero...The Hangman. It is really freaking cool that Oliver Potzsch has taken interest and explored so much about his families history. These books are fantastic pieces of historical fiction mysteries.

As I started to read The Dark Monk, I was confused and unclear with the audience tha
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, audible
I really like this series. Apparently, the author actually is descended from a hangman.

This is the second in the series revolving around the hangman, his daughter, and her romantic interest, the town doctor's educated son.

In this story, we have a dead priest, bandits, a mystery involving the Templars, and a rival for Simon's affections. The conspiracy mystery is really nicely done and I loved all the flavor of the time.

Additionally, the travelogue after the book was nice too.
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very happy to spend more time with the complex Hangman of Schongau. I really love the Bavaria of the 17th Century the author re-creates . And, as with the first book in the series, I loved the "Author's Note" as much as the book. He is so tuned into his ancestry and the connection he feels to them through the stories his grandmother tells and those that he reads. ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
This is a reminder to myself not to read any more of this series. The story is too slow moving, the translation is full of anachronisms, and the characters have the emotional depth of teenagers. The book is about 200 pages too long - one long scavenger hunt.
Dec 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I would have rated this at a 4 if the author hadn't used so many modern terms in a medieval novel. Although set in 17th century what would become Germany, the book contains many modernisms. Each time I read one, I cringed. "There's nothing between me and Benedikta Koppmeyer." ".... she's off-limits." "You forget that Scheller has his big day tomorrow."

This is the second book in a series by a German author who has actually traced his ancestory back to a Jakob Kuisl, a hangman in the 17th century.
There is a tendency among historical mystery writers that seems almost impossible to break and which invariably makes a murder mystery series a different matter altogether from a standalone work. I speak of motivation. When you write your first novel it’s easy to explain why somebody would investigate the crime despite there being no such thing as a detective at that stage – it’s something personal. Someone you know, or possibly even yourself, is in danger and the only way to help is to find the ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
By all accounts I should like this book.
The setting is interesting, the historical details are interesting, the mystery is interesting.
So why didn't I like it? It all comes down to the characters and their relationships with each other. The titular character, Magdalena, actually got a bit more plot in this book (which is nice) but the way she was treated by her father and the man who claims to love her just made me really angry. They're not abusive or anything but they are incredibly dismissive
I am officially in love with this series. First - I love big books. Many reviews say this book was too long, but I think good historical fiction needs some length to it in order to obtain the richness of description. The who-dun-it part is there, but at the same time I'm researching these areas of Germany, many of which I would love to visit. Once I hit the internet to learn more about Schongau, I know I'm hooked. The book moves along at a great pace, and while there are some aspects that were o ...more
Matt Schiariti
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Dark Monk was every bit as good as the Hangman's daughter.

This one hits the ground running right out of the gate when a local priest is found murdered. Simon is summoned to the scene in order to help the portly old man but by the time he gets there too late but the priest left a clue. Simon thinks there's a bigger mystery than the murder of the priest and ends up enlisting the help of Jakob the hangman. What follows is a whirlwind mystery rich in ancient societies, historical detail, misplac
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
I really enjoyed this second book in the Hangman's Daughter series. I think I found it more enjoyable since I feel like I knew the main characters now. This story involved the Templers and a hidden treasure! Loved this book and I'm so happy that I already have the next book loaded and ready to start! ...more
Richard Booth
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very engaging historical mystery set in 15-16th century Bavaria. Characters are defined well and the plot line is interestingly circuitous. Monk-Templars and others are in search of a hidden treasure. Murder, treachery, and moderate suspense pervade the work . Well worth the read for insight into the era in which the book is set.
Catherine  Mustread
Second in the Hangman's Daughter series, full of interesting characters, suspense, intrigue and authentic historical (1600s) details. ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5

Thoughts: It feels like I'm always in the middle with this series. I am really interested in the mystery and the plot as it's usually a good set up, though by the end it's ends a little meh as it's all smashed together to hurry up and finish.

The hangman and Simon are the most well rounded characters and keep me interested in their continued partnership. The hangman's daughter continues to annoy me with her whinnng.
Duffy Pratt
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I didn't like this book anywhere near as much as I liked The Hangman's Daughter. The setting is the same: Bavaria several years after the thirty years war. The hangman, his daughter, and the town medicus again play the prominent roles. And I like all three of these characters. But I don't think they developed much in this book. Nor did the book play to the strength of the first book by showing interesting aspects of life in a small German town in the 17th century.

Rather, the book decided to focu
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First read The Hangman's Daughter by the same author. That is the first in the series and this one is the second. The author is a descendant of the legendary hangman, Jakob Kuisl and his books are translated into English. It's the 1600's in Bavaria. The three main characters appear in both novels. Jakob Kuisl is the hangman and his other duties in the town of Schongau is to torture the accused/guilty, remove dead animals, and do whatever the city council bids him to do. But he is a hangman with ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Second in this series, historical murder mystery suspense fiction set in 1660 Bavaria--in the winter.

I actually liked the first book more: given the dense detailing done there to establish context and setting, I found it both fun and informative. In this sequel, I fear that the great success of the first volume influenced decisions to dash off another more rapidly, and so the care and precision I saw in the first volume, with regard to establishing character and mood, is not as prevalent here. S
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A 3.5 round up to 4☆ rating. Primarily, I found that the main story mission was a bit hokey. I had anticipated the hunt for Templar treasure would have been fun, but I lost interest. I guess I wasn't into riddle-solving and "just-so-happens" situations, found so common in run of the mill thrillers. That, and the "last minute saviors" and chapter-breaking cliffhangers. That's why I had fallen out of reading thrillers.
I did enjoy the side stories better -- those involving the spreading fever in t
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
A man digs into his genealogy and finds he's decended from a long line of hangmen - and proceeds to write mysteries based on it. As he says - "..sometimes reality is stranger than fiction...The history of my family was ..there long before I came along. I just embelleshed it a bit and put it down on paper."

I quite enjoyed it - when I read I tend to imagine myself in the story. In this case it didn't take much imagination - real people lived this story in one way or another (sans embellishments ;)
Tim The Enchanter
I have had difficulty getting to my reviews. I will provide a more in depth review if I can remember to get back to it.

The Dark Monk is the second book in the Hangman's Daughter series. They are historical mysteries with thriller aspects. It would be a mistake to call them "cozy" but they do not qualify as a "dark". They provide a pleasing and entertaining read somewhere in between.

The second installment is, in my opinion, even better than the first. The charactes are entertaining and vibrant.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really love this series. The premise of this book reminded me a bit of the Da Vinci Code, except the main characters are a million times better. Set in Bavaria during 1660, the unlikely sleuthing trio is comprised of a "dishonorable" hangman, his strong-willed daughter, and a medical school drop-out, who at 5' tall is still considered the local ladies man. Each character is completely flawed, which makes you love them even more. I can't wait until the 3rd book is translated into English. Note- ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Taking place in the 15th century the second book in, I hope will be, a continuing series about the hangman and his daughter in a small village in Bavaria. Wonderful historical plus mystery story. This one has them on the hunt for the treasure of the Knights Templar - showing the greed and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and its minions. Surprises and many side stories included with the history of the time period.
Apr 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, kindle, german
Enjoyable but would have benefited from editing to tighten up the writing, shortening the book and eliminating some of the repetitive phrases.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed The Hangman's Daughter, and I was glad to find that I enjoyed The Dark Monk just as much. I enjoyed the historical part as well as the mystery part.

I really enjoyed getting to see my favorite characters again from the first book. While sometimes I just wanted to smack Simon, I still enjoyed Magdalena and her father Jakob. However, as in the previous novel, there were still some secondary characters that I would have enjoyed finding out more about. One in particular would be the
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This brief review does not contain a synopsis of the story or any spoilers.

Oliver Potzsch is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. This historical mystery is an excellent sequel to his enormously successful first book, The Hangman's Daughter, and, as such, follows the life of the hangman, his daughter and a young man much attracted to her, in a small, Bavarian town during the 17th century. These characters, and their relationships, are not static but, rather, continue to develop seamlessl
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Oliver Pötzsch is a German writer and filmmaker. After high school he attended the German School of Journalism in Munich from 1992 to 1997. He then worked for Radio Bavaria. In addition to his professional activities in radio and television, Pötzsch researched his family history. He is a descendant of the Kuisle, from the 16th to the 19th Century a famous dynasty of executioners in Schongau.

Other books in the series

Die Henkerstochter - The Hangman's Daughter Series (9 books)
  • The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter, #1)
  • The Beggar King (The Hangman's Daughter, #3)
  • The Poisoned Pilgrim (The Hangman's Daughter, #4)
  • The Werewolf of Bamberg (The Hangman's Daughter, # 5)
  • The Play of Death (The Hangman's Daughter, #6)
  • The Council of Twelve (The Hangman's Daughter #7)
  • Die Henkerstochter und der Fluch der Pest (Die Henkerstochter, #8)
  • Die Henkerstochter und die schwarze Madonna (Die Henkerstochter-Saga #9)

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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
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“Sometimes belief is the best potion.” 5 likes
“Jakob Kuisl loved peace and quiet, and nothing was as peaceful as a winter evening after it had snowed all day. It felt as if the snow had swallowed up every sound, leaving emptiness that overcame any thoughts, worries, strivings—leaving only space for quiet meditation.” 2 likes
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