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The Hangman's Daughter

(Die Henkerstochter #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  72,768 ratings  ·  6,315 reviews
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 fin ...more
Kindle Edition, US Edition, 448 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by AmazonCrossing (first published March 13th 2008)
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Joel Kanvik I think he has a couple of motivations. First, greed. He wanted the treasure and would stop at nothing to get it. Second, from what I inferred from hi…moreI think he has a couple of motivations. First, greed. He wanted the treasure and would stop at nothing to get it. Second, from what I inferred from his discussions with Kuisl, he was a soldier in the war and grew to like killing people. It became part of his being. So, when he was ordered by the young patrician to prevent the children from identifying the young patrician as being behind the search for the treasure, the "devil" was only too willing to comply with those orders. He was fundamentally an evil human being.(less)
Tami No, the book begins with Jacob's father being the town's Hangman. It mentions that the job of Hangman is passed down from father to son, so Jacob is o…moreNo, the book begins with Jacob's father being the town's Hangman. It mentions that the job of Hangman is passed down from father to son, so Jacob is one in a long line of Hangmen in the family. (less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him ... These things I know, Ubertino; I also have belonged to those groups of men who bel ...more
(Updated 1.30)
1.27.11 (20% read) Having a difficult time with this one. That's what I get for jumping on the popularity bandwagon. So far, the titular character has been on one page. ONE! WTF translators?!! Was this the original title? And it just feels a bit anachronistic, nothing (so far) I can really put a finger on, but I'm wondering if this is "new novelist" or "uninspired translation," or just plain sophomoric writing?

Meh. It'll get better, right? I hope... Last time I succumbed to "every
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A strong and enjoyable debut of a new series set in Schongau, Germany. The setting was the main reason I decided to give this series a try. Usually, historical mysteries happen either in London or somewhere in the US. This is why The Hangman's daughter is a breeze of fresh air in the genre.

1659. Schongau's Hangman, Jakob Kuisl is a feared man, avoided because of superstitions but also sought out for his healing skills. His daughter is too smart for a young girl and follows into her dad's shoes
David Mullen
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of historical fiction, thrillers, and mysteries
Recommended to David by:
I really enjoyed this historical thriller. It gives us a snapshot into the life of transitioning to modern period / medieval Germans. It just has a very authentic ring to it. Although, the translator uses some rather modern language here and there in his was originally written in German. In fact the authors family is the actual family of our hangman in the title. This hangman is a 5th generation executioner, a medicine man, and a tough guy. He and the mid-wife in the town share ...more
The Hangman’s Daughter is not quite the right title for this book. Yes the main character is a hangman, Jakob Kuisl, and yes, he's got a daughter, but this is not her story. She's not the main protagonist. The hangman is. The Hangman's Daughter is basically a mystery about some child murders.

The book starts off with Jakob as a boy witnessing a gristly, botched execution. It’s a shocking scene – grim and edgy. It perfectly captures the ghoulishness of 17th century, public, capital punishment.

Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-shelf
This was an excellent historical thriller. Set in Germany in the 1600's, the story involves a hangman and his family. When a midwife is accused of witchcraft, the hangman tries to solve the mystery of who is killing young orphaned children, all bearing a strange symbol on their bodies.
The politics and superstitions of that time seemed authentic. The mystery is impossible to guess and the suspense builds until you are on the edge of your seat.
The book was translated from German to English. Very
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a 3.5/4 for me. Basically I found this to be a very good genre crime novel set in 17th century Bavaria. There are good guys and bad guys, with the good guys using logic and rationality to solve a series of child murders before the killer strikes again, while others in the town think the murders are the result of witchcraft and devilry. The pages fly swiftly, the mystery is engrossing, and the historical setting is interesting. If you're looking for a morally uncomplicated historical mys ...more
Joel Margolese
May 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Overall, this book reads like a college research paper reworked the following term for a creative writing class in the spring of freshman year.

I love good historical fiction, but this book just doesn't deserve the adjective. The first problem is the title. The Hangman's daughter is wonderful, but a very minor character. I learned after the fact that it's a translation (poorly done) and based on the author's family which explains his fawning view of the hangman. There were a number of anachronis
✨Sumi's Books✨
Very well-researched.
A town in the grip of a witch craze, children gone missing or turn up dead, treasure, torture and forbidden love. This is Jakob Kusil's world where he looms over the town like a dark shadow as he plays the role of the hangman. Can Jakob and his trusted friend Simon solve the mystery and discover the perpetrator before all is lost?
Okay first off, this book was beautifully written. even though it was written in another language originally it translates very beautifully to Engl
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I have read some reviews that say this is not about the Hangman's daughter, but about The Hangman (Jakob) & The Physician (Simon). I thought Magdalena played a key role - and I liked the strong female characters throughout the story. The midwives & also Jakob, being thought of as witches by the very same people that come knocking upon their doors after dark for a potion, or to help deliver a baby.

So well described are the people - the "devil with his bone hand" is truly frightening. The detail
Once I got into this, it was very good. It just took a bit of world building because you have a whole village to get set up in, another time, another culture, well, just like any other new place. I was worried because of this that I would forget who was whom.
Well, there is a guide in the front of major players and really you will get to know those whom matter sooner than later. Don’t let the cast of characters, nor the beginning, nor all the use of German scare you off.
It’s really cool. I had
Montzalee Wittmann
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter #1) by Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (Translator) is a very interesting book. I listened to the audio version and the narrator was perfect for this. The world building was wonderful, felt like I was back in time and living in this world. The characters were well developed. The book has suspense, mystery, superstition, murder, and more. I did enjoy this unusual book.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
I broke my own rule about finishing a book if I have read 50 pages of it. I was really bored by this book and saw over 200+ pages to go and had to quit. I really can't read this anymore. Maybe it's the translation. I have no idea. I know that this book has been an absolute chore for me to read for the last 100 pages at least and I am giving up.
I liked the setting, (small, walled hamlet in Bavaria), the characters (the hangman, his daughter, a physician and the bad guys, to name a few) and the time frame (witch hunts and torture chambers make for interesting reading) but it went really slow for me. I would like to continue with the series to see what happens next with the characters. I'm hoping the next book moves a bit quicker!

An interesting tidbit is that the author is a descendant of the main character, Kuisel, the hangman!
Clif Hostetler
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book describes a historic time, place, and environment (1660—Schongau, Germany—witchcraft fear) within which a fictional murder mystery plot is placed. In this fictional plot we meet the town’s executioner whose task is to torture a woman to force a confession so she can be burned at the stake for witchcraft. The town officials believe that such an execution will calm down the widespread belief among the townspeople that the woman's witchcraft is causing the death of children and other sort ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hangman’s Daughter

A book I read by accident-
This is because I clicked the right button but in the wrong browser tab and I accidentally bought the Kindle edition of this book when I really wanted was another book by the same author, Der Spielmann, depicting the life of the historical Johann Georg Faustus. But never mind. The wrong decision turned out to be the right one after all.

April 1659. A boy is found dead on the banks of the river Lech near the town of Schongau in Bavaria. Obviously th
Mar 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I chose this book because of its being set in Bavaria (a part of Germany I have visited and really like), because of its rather original concept (a hangman as detective), and because of the many glowing reviews it has received. I feel cheated.

Set in the village of Schongau in 1659, it revolves around the death and/or disappearance of several children. Martha Stechlin, the local midwife, is quickly suspected of being a witch and thought to be responsible. Jakob Kuisl, the hangman, must torture he
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I thought the story of the handman's history was interesting. And the mystery of the killer kept me reading. I was surprised to find out, at the end of the book, the book is based on historical facts for the most part; as well as it being about his family history. We all want to know who our ancestors are; but to find out you can from a long line of hangman would be so shocking.
Melinda Leigh
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book, from the story and characters to unexpected bits of humor and historical details.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the last quarter of this book, I struggled with the first three-quarters. I had some issues with the translation. In addition to the flow being off for me in places, there were phrases and words that I had to stop and read again to understand what was meant. In the first half of the book, I found myself skimming large sections of descriptions that did not seem pertinent.
I had a hard time keeping the lesser characters in the book straight, and that was undoubtedly due to my own inability
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
This story takes place in Bavaria in 1659. It is not really that much about the hangman's daughter, than it is about the hangman and the young physician in the town. There is a lot about torture and death that is a little uncomfortable to read about. But overall it was gripping and had compelling characters. (view spoiler) ...more
Tim The Enchanter
My #10 Favorite read of 2013

A superb 4.5 Stars

An excellent historical fiction mystery. The background is German town in 1659. Our two major players are the intelligent and kind-hearted town hangman/torturer/street cleaner and a young, questioning Doctor with an inquisitive mind.

I am a bit of a Historical Fiction snob. Traditionally, it has been my favorite genre. When I read a new HF, I have a hundred others to which it is compared. As a mystery, this book works exceptionally well. The story
Ann Collette
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
There's been a lot of noise lately about Amazon bypassing major commercial publishers and publishing books directly themselves. Based on this deadly dull "thriller," major commercial publishing has nothing to worry about. I have no idea why it's called THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER, cause she doesn't play much of a role in the book. I have no idea why the translator of this book was chosen for the job, since he not only has zero understanding of pace but has no feel at all for the time period the book ...more
Well, this was a new experience for me! I downloaded the Kindle version for free during a promotion, and discovered that it was not only illustrated, but ANIMATED! I've never seen such a thing, but it was so cool! Torches would light, the map of the town would become more detailed, the hangman's ragged coat would blow in the wind! Crazy stuff! Honestly, if not that for that, this would have been a four star book. It's fascinating, it was full of action and mystery and horrifying torture, but . . ...more
The Hangman's Daughter held a surprise in its pages for me. It was not an immediate surprise and it took some time for it to actually dawn on me. It came late in the book. About two thirds of the way through, and despite what you may be thinking, no, it had nothing to do with the mystery or the 'hook' or the whodunnit. The surprise came in the form of the history and how the author's research had been inserted within the story.

I knew how important the research was to this author, as I was lucky
"Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play. So begins The Hangman's Daughter--the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller[...]"

I think it was set in Germany, somewhere around 1660 (who's counting?), but otherwise, the description for this book is full of lies. The mark wasn't "tattooed" crudely or otherwise, it was drawn in freaking berry juice.
I've been reading too much fantasy lately and needed a break … so I decided to read a historical crime fiction involving witches … yeah … in my head that made a lot more sense.
First let me mention a little complaint here. Despite being titled The Hangman's Daughter … this book isn't actually about the hangman's daughter. Of the 500 pages and multiple POV's maybe 50 were from Magdalena's POV (the titular hangman's daughter), which is only slightly more than the wrongfully accused midwife. The act
Interesting story. I do agree with what others have said, that this book could have been shorter. There really was some stuff that didnt have to be in it to enjoy it. But all in all this was an good book about whether or not witchcraft took place in their town when dead bodies with weird marks start showing up.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jakob Kuisl is the Hangman of the title. The term hangman sort of lumps together his all around function of the town, for hanging is not the only form of execution. Further, he is the one who tortures in order to extract confessions. He is a huge man and well suited to the profession that has been handed down from father to son for generations. But Kuisl finds it against his very nature to conduct the actions required and when he knows an execution or interrogation is on the horizon he chooses t ...more
Brenda  Whitner
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was definitely a page turner. I couldn't put the book down at times. The ending moved a little slow. This was the story about the executioner Jakob Kuisl and his mission to save the midwife Martha from a crime that she did not commit. Children were dying and on their backs were a witch’s symbol. They blamed the midwife for being a witch and had her arrested and tortured until she admitted that she committed the crime. Jakob knew that the midwife was innocent. Two children were murdered afte ...more
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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 (8 books)
  • The Dark Monk (The Hangman's Daughter, #2)
  • 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)

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