Oliver Pötzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He is a descendant of one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners. Pötzsch lives in Munich with his family.
In 1524, in what is now Germany, hundreds of thousands of peasants revolted against the harsh treatment of their aristocratic overlords. Agnes is the daughter of one of these overlords, but she is not a typical 16th-century girl, refusing to wear dresses and spending more time with her pet falcon than potential suitors. There is only one suitor she is interested in: Mathis, a childhood friend who she can never marry due to his low birth status. But when a rogue knight attacks Agnes and Mathis shoots the knight to save her, the two are forced to go on the run together, into the midst of the raging Peasants’ War.
In 1668, hangman Jakob Kuisl, his daughter Magdalena, and her husband Simon travel to the town of Bamberg. But what was planned as a family vacation soon becomes a nightmare: a murderer in Bamberg is leaving the severed limbs of victims in the trash outside the city. When rumors quickly spread that the deaths are the work of a werewolf, Jakob must prove the superstition wrong and embarks on a search for the “devil of Bamberg.”
An encoded diary by one of Ludwig II’s confidants falls into the hands of modern-day rare book dealer Steven Lukas, who soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Others want the diary as well --- and they will kill to get it. Lukas teams up with a beautiful art detective to investigate each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues to crack the diary’s code as mysterious thugs and Ludwig’s fanatical followers chase them at every step. Just what in the diary could be so explosive?
1666: The monastery at Andechs has long been a pilgrimage destination, but when the hangman’s daughter, Magdalena, her doctor husband Simon, and their two small children arrive there, they learn that the monks have far larger concerns than saying Mass and receiving alms. When one of the monks disappears and his lab is destroyed, the hangman and his family must attempt to solve the mystery. But first they have to deal with scheming monks, murderous robots, and angry villagers chanting witchcraft and brandishing their pitchforks.
In 1662, Jakob Kuisl, the hangman in a small village, got a letter from his sister asking him to come to the imperial city of Regensburg. When he arrives, he finds her throat has been slit and he is the prime suspect. Can his daughter, Magdalena, and her friends uncover the plot behind the false accusation?
Oliver Pötzsch takes readers 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 17th-century Bavaria still negotiating the lasting impacts of war, and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.
THE HANGMAN’S DAUGHTER brings to cinematic life the sights, sounds, and smells of 17th-century Bavaria, telling the engrossing story of a compassionate hangman who will live on in readers’ imaginations long after they’ve put down the novel.