The Bloodletter’s Daughter: A Novel of Old Bohemia
Born to King Rudolf’s mistress, young Giuglio believes his mother a whore. If he had been born to the queen, he would one day inherit the Hapsburg Empire. In deep contemplation at Prazsky Hrad, the royal castle in Prague, he tries to decipher the Coded Book of Wonder. It is a miserably cold day in February of 1599, but his gaze on the bare-breasted bathmaids offers warmth, for he knows they hold the secret to many mysteries and quiet the voices in his head. The king would do anything for his son. It soon becomes evident that Giuglio, called Don Julius, is mentally disturbed, frightfully so. When his father learns of his son’s continued sexually deviant and violent behavior, he is exiled to a part of Bohemia in order to protect the Hapsburg Empire from public gossip and secure his son’s safety.
Rudolf II sends for the bloodletter to treat his son. The bloodletter’s daughter, Marketa, accompanies her father, as it is her wish to become a surgeon. Her presence calms Don Julius, who refuses to allow anyone else to apply the blood-sucking leeches to his skin. Marketa’s life is in serious jeopardy when she fails to see the danger of his erratic lunacy.
Linda Lafferty writes as if she were creating a movie screenplay. She captures the essence of Don Julius’ demonic sociopathic behavior with precision and detail. He is a disturbing character; the reader will shudder while experiencing his depravity. Marketa, on the other hand, trusting and virginally pure, is the polar opposite. Based on the life of Don Julius, this debut novel by Linda Lafferty will offer readers suspenseful drama.