In his gripping follow-up to The Hangman's Daughter, Oliver Pötzsch takes us to the sleepy Bavarian village of Altenstadt in 1660, as hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to decipher a cryptic final message scratched in the frost by a dying parish priest. Teaming up with his headstrong daughter Magdalena and her suitor Simon Fronwieser, the compassionate hangman follows a trail of riddles that takes them deep into the troubled history of Church politics and sends them after a legendary lost treasure of the Knights Templar. Pötzsch, himself a descendant of the Kuisl dynasty of executioners, paints unforgettable characters in a robust 17th-century tableau.
"Swift and sure, compelling as any conspiracy theory, persuasive as any spasm of paranoia, The Dark Monk grips you at the base of your skull and doesn't let go."—Gregory Maguire