Review: The Dark Monk by Oliver Pötzsch

Review: The Dark Monk by Oliver PötzschThe Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 463
Series: The Hangman's Daughter #2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 2012
Genres: Fiction

1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors 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; and the town physician’s son team up with the priest’s aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.
But they’re not the only ones after the legendary fortune. A team of dangerous and mysterious monks is always close behind, tracking their every move, speaking Latin in the shadows, giving off a strange, intoxicating scent. And to throw the hangman off their trail, they have ensured he is tasked with capturing a band of thieves roving the countryside attacking solitary travelers and spreading panic.
Delivering on the promise of the international bestsellerThe Hangman’s Daughter, once again based on prodigious historical research into P�tzsch’s  family tree,The Dark Monk takes us on a whirlwind tour through the occult hiding places of Bavaria’s ancient monasteries, bringing to life an unforgettable compassionate hangman and his tenacious daughter, painting a robust tableau of a seventeenth-century Bavaria still negotiating the lasting impacts of war, and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.

I absolutely loved Pötzsch’s first book in this series. It was a smart historical mystery-thriller that I couldn’t put down. However, I didn’t enjoy this book as much. The Knight’s Templar/Monk angle was a little over done, too many twists and turns that felt forced rather than natural.

I also spent about 90% of this book wanting to shove Magdalena out a freaking window for her constant whining about Simon. Also speaking of Simon – he loved that she was uneducated? I understand its 1660, but I think we could come up with a better reason why he loves Magdalena. That really bothered me.

Overall the overall plot was uninteresting and the characters fell a little flat in this second installment, but there were a few shinning high points when it comes to Pötzsch’s characterization of Jakob and the hangman lifestyle.


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