“LibraryCin said: 4 stars
Most of the story takes place in 1659 in a village in Bavaria. Jakob is the local hangman. Hangmen did more than execute people, they also tortured people in order to get confessions. They also knew a lot about what could heal people, so they often helped heal. When a child is found murdered with a witch's mark, a local midwife is accused and Jakob, though he doesn't want to, as he believes she is innocent, is ordered to torture her in order to get a confession. He and the man his daughter is inappropriately in love with, Simon the physician's son, work together against the clock to try to find out who really killed this child, and who appears determined to kill other children from the village, as well.
I really liked this story. I learned a lot – I didn't know (or expect) all that about executioners! The story itself was pretty fast-paced, as well, and it kept me wanting to read. I also found it interesting that the hangman was based on a real person, not only that, but based on an ancestor of the author. Have also found out it's part of a series, which means I will need to read the next one. Sigh...”