Monday, March 14, 2011

THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER

A few days ago I finished this book by Oliver Potzsch. It's not a quick read, not a pageturner like some. But it was interesting.

It's about a medieval executioner who is thoughtful, learned, and kind. When several village children are murdered, the midwife who tended his wife in childbirth is accused of witchcraft. The executioner's job is to torture her to get her to confess.

But he and the village doctor's son (who loves the hangman's daughter and who's a better doctor than his father) are convinced the midwife is innocent.

Executioner families intermarried back then because no one wanted anything to do with them. They were always a reminder that death lay waiting. So the hangman is not pleased with his daughter's suitor but works with the doctor's son anyway to find the real murderer.

The description of the German village and its politics is engrossing. What I found more interesting is that, while this is a novel, the author is a descendent of the main character who actually existed.

Good read.

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