The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch -Reading Guide

The Dark Monk

By Oliver Potzsch

PBR Book Review:

(by- Linda )
A good who done it mystery that delves into the history of the Knights Templar. It's set in 17th century Germany and includes great descriptions of churches, religious relics, customs, medical practices of the time and simple day to day struggles; traveling to a near by town for supplies for example, can be difficult and dangerous. The characters are strong and captivate right from the start. I love fiery women, so Magdalena's willful passionate personality appealed to me but I also loved Jakob, the empathetic hangman. It's characters like these, that are easy to relate to and very real, that add immensely to the reading enjoyment. Reading about the religious practices and it's member always amazes me too, as they are not exactly pillars of society, but rather like the modern day politician with an end justifies the means mentality. It's also interesting to note that the author is a descendant of a executioner and bases is characters on real people.

Book Club Talking Points:

Aside from a well plotted mystery, this book examines the socioeconomic restrictions of class and explores the early days of medicine. Full of passion, Magdalena the hangman's daughter, pushes the limits of what is socially acceptable and struggles to understand her place in society. Great book for those that enjoy historical fiction and puzzle mysteries. Buy From

*Author Website:

*Discussion Questions

1. There are a number of allusions to the Templar text Ordinis Templorum Historia and Latin quotes throughout the novel. Explain these references: How do they help to solve the mystery?

2. Explain the various roles religion plays in The Dark Monk

3. Augustin Bonenmayr is seeking the True Cross of Christ-"It will adorn this church, and crowds of pilgrims will once again come flocking to Steingaden!"-and is willing to do anything to obtain it, even kill. How does history show that religious fervor always leads to violence?

4. The novel opens with a quote from Aristotle, Poetics, XXIV: "We delight in marvelous things. One proof of that is that everyone embellishes somewhat when telling a story in the assumption he is pleasing his listener." How is this sentiment explored in The Dark Monk? Who in the novel embellishes their story? What, if any, punishment is given to this person?

5. Compare how Oliver Potzsch fleshes out the male and female characters. Do you think he does a better job with one gender? Why do you think he chose Magdalena Kuisl instead of Jakob Kuisl to title the series after?

6. Discuss the significance of Andreas Koppmeyer. What is his role in the story?

7. How does Benedikta serve as a foil to Magdalena? Who, if anyone, fills that role for Simon?

8. Why is Simon "both attracted and repelled" by Benedikta?

9. How does Simon's superficial love of fashion and appearance blind him to potential danger?

10. How much, if any, has Johann Lechner changed since the first novel? Is Lechner still willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of Schongau?

11. Explain Kuisl's worry for Simon while having hardly any for his daughter, Magdalena, while she is in Augsburg. Was it was a wise decision to send Magdalena, a young woman, to Augsburg without an escort?

12. Who do you think the hidden "master" of the story is? Who do you think is the fourth robber?

13. Discuss the significance of Jakob Kuisl referring to his time as a soldier as "from before."

14.What do you make of Jakob Kuisl's distinction "I'm a hangman, but not a murderer"?

15.What are some of the pleasures and drawbacks of reading historical novels, especially those with a grounding in reality?

Book Summary

THE ANTICIPATED FOLLOWUP TO THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER, THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER 1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors the night a parish priest discovers he's been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength to scratch a cryptic sign in the frost.

Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl; his headstrong daughter Magdalena; and the town physician's son team up with the priest's aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.

But they're not the only ones after the legendary fortune. A team of dangerous and mysterious monks is always close behind, tracking their every move, speaking Latin in the shadows, giving off a strange, intoxicating scent. And to throw the hangman off their trail, they have ensured he is tasked with capturing a band of thieves roving the countryside attacking solitary travelers and spreading panic.

Delivering on the promise of the international bestseller The Hangman's Daughter, once again based on prodigious historical research into Potzsch's family tree, The Dark Monk takes us on a whirlwind tour through the occult hiding places of Bavaria's ancient monasteries, bringing to life an unforgettable compassionate hangman and his tenacious daughter, painting a robust tableau of a seventeenth-century Bavaria still negotiating the lasting impacts of war, and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.
PbrHome - totes, wine bags, pillows for the book lover
Go There Now
More Reading Suggestions
Popular Books
If you have a passion for reading and, like most, have no time to find the right book, browse the most popular books trending right now. They are all page-turners, and they all let you escape from reality.

Popular Book-  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Song of Achilles
By Madeline Miller
A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, THE SONG OF ACHILLES is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer's enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously...More

Popular Book-The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In this entrancing novel "that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all" (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the...More

Popular The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman's act of violence against her husband-and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive. Alicia Berenson's life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter...More

Popular Book- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
By Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child-not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for ...More

Popular Book- The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
The Unhoneymooners
By Christina Lauren
AFor two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime-maybe even love-in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies. Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky ...More

Visit Our Blog
Browse A Little
PBR book reviews and Reading guides for book clubs
Visit out Etsy Shop
10 Books I Can't Stop Recommending