The Dark Monk

By ,

In the dead of winter in a 17th-century Bavarian village, a priest discovers he’s been poisoned. The village executioner, his headstrong daughter, and her dandyish doctor beau begin investigating the priest’s murder, and what they find sends them on a dangerous quest for Templar treasure.

Pötzsch’s first novel, The Hangman’s Daughter, boasted swift plotting, a distinctive setting, and unique characterization – executioner Jakob Kuisl is a compelling mix of folk wisdom, empathy, and brutality. Sadly, The Dark Monk is a less engaging book: the Templar bandwagon groans under the weight of another occupant, and Catholic Church as unmitigated villain is also a tired theme. The major fault of this novel (and its predecessor), however, is the prose – village women are “broads”; a random choice of page yields a book that “burns like the dickens,” a priest whose “nerves are shot,” and a woman who’s taunted as “Madame Smarty Pants.” These are just a few examples of the rampant anachronism which, along with repetitive phrasing, plagues the novel and constantly pulls the reader out of period. It’s difficult to know where the blame lies; this work was translated from the original German, and one is inclined to believe the unfortunate phraseology to be the fault of inept translation. Regardless, it should be addressed by a careful editor for the next in the series, which hopefully will more closely resemble the inaugural book in its appeal and plotting.

Share this review

Available from June 10th

The wait is over for the eighth Outlander novel!

Details

Online Exclusive

Publisher
,

Published

Genre

Century

Price
(US) $18.00
(UK) £8.99

ISBN
(US) 9780547807683
(UK) 9781611090833

Format
Paperback

Pages
463

Review

Appeared in

Reviewed by