If you like: hallucinogens * setups * murder
The Beggar King is the third Hangman’s Daughter Tale. (See my reviews here and here.) Kuisl has traveled out of Schongau to visit his ailing sister in Regensburg. From the very beginning of his trip he senses trouble. Before Kuisl passes through the city gates he is detained. Once he finally makes it to his sister’s residence, he discovers a tragedy for which he is immediately arrested. As an outsider, he is forced to endure the very torture he must practice as a hangman. He works to clear his name and escape certain death as the story unfolds.
Moving the story outside of Schongau enhances the third installment of the series. Separating Kuisl, Magdalena, and Simon from the city where they are well known forces much needed character development. Through the authorities of Schongau often reprimand the two young lovers, they are still known for their skills and trusted for their abilities. Though Kuisl does not always agree with the decisions made, he faithfully carries them out. It is also well known that he is a capable healer, and knowledgeable in many ways. The people of Regensburg know none of this. They view the youths as silly lovers in over their heads, and Kuisl is perceived as a monster. His imposing size and gruff demeanor suit him as the resident hangman, but as a visitor he seems almost maniacal. Additionally, Simon and Magdalena are not accustomed to discerning the reliability of strangers, and often let their passion for each other rush them to judgement. Spending time in the city helps them to understand these failings, and will deeply enhance their relationship in future installments.
It is clear from the outset that this will be a different story from its predecessors. Though Kuisl’s past continues to play an important role in his present, the history of the city plays a less important role. Instead of happening upon action, the Kuisl’s are an intentional part of the mystery in this story. Kuisl has always had the benefit of his accumulated references and resources in the past. His continued capabilities are even more impressive when he must work with nothing but the clothes on his back and the bond between people of a lower station. He is not the only character that is developed further. Though she has a minor role, Anna-Marie gets some much deserved backstory in this tale. Though they still behave as young fools, Simon and Magdalena are positioned to become a powerful and successful duo in their future. The continued character building immersed in a captivating story makes The Beggar King a delightful read, and will leave the reader looking forward to The Poisoned Pilgrim.
If you find the closest city is like a whole new world, read The Beggar King.
Pötzsch, Oliver. The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (US Edition). AmazonEncore, 2013. Kindle Edition.