The Dark Monk is the second book in The Hangman’s Daughter tales by Oliver Pötzsch. As I mentioned in my review of The Hangman’s Daughter, I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the serises, and wasted no time downloading the second book, The Dark Monk, onto my Kindle.
This novel, like The Hangman’s Daughter, is situated in Bavarian town of Schongau in the seventeenth century. Unlike The Hangman’s Daughter, the reader is taken all across the countryside in this tale of whodunit that is filled with mystery, intrigue, and a few spine tingling chills.
The story starts off with the parish priest, Andreas Koppmeyer making a remarkable discovery in the church basement. Before he can convey the mysterious discovery, he is murdered with poison donuts (the priest had a reputation for overindulgence in sweets). What follows is a series of brilliant riddles that lead the hangman, Jakob Kuisl; his daughter, Magdalena, a midwife in training; and Simon Fronwieser, son of Schongau’s doctor across the countryside in search of a long lost and mysterious treasure of the Knights Templar. Jakob, Magdalena, and Simon are impeded by a group of nefarious monks who also seek to find the treasure.
When I was a little girl, I used to get into trouble for sneaking a flashlight to read under the covers, after the house had quieted for bed, because I just could not put a story down. This is one such story. I could not put it down. I devoured the pages of The Dark Monk, much as I did The Hangman’s Daughter. Pötzsch is, indeed, a clever wordsmith and his characters are well crafted.
My only complaint? That the next novel in the series, The Beggar King, has not yet been published in English. It is scheduled to hit the shelves on January 8, 2012. That is 181 days that I have to wait. It has been said that the measure of a good book is how much time you spend wondering, after you finish it, what the sequel will offer? If that is the case, The Dark Monk and The Hangman’s Daughter rise to the top, because the characters continue to speak to me well after I’ve finished the pages! I find myself randomly thinking of them and I have NEVER actually cared when, or even IF, a book was going to have a sequel. This series, for me, is the exception! One. Hundred. and. Eighty. One. Days.