Welcome to my English Site!
© Gerald von Foris
Even though you might not recognize it — at least I hope so — I decent on my mother's side from a real hangmen dynasty. Amongst my ancestors have been 14 hangmen, most of them "on duty" between the 16th and 19th century in southern Bavaria near the Alpes in the so-called "Pfaffenwinkel".
I myself was born on December 20th, 1970 in Munich. My father was of course no hangman, but a doctor and psychotherapist. My mother was a elementary school teacher. From her and my grandfather I inherited the gift of telling exciting and entertaining stories.
Already as a little boy I loved to entertain people with my stories — which mostly my two younger brothers had to experience. Later on I wrote first fantasy short fiction, role-play adventures, self-made comic strips and self recorded tapes, which I played to my classmates. Basically I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. When I wasn't talking, I sang — a hobby I continue today in various bands.
In order to learn something "useful", I enrolled to Munich journalist school and worked as a journalist for radio and television. But my dream to become a writer persisted.
Finally in 2007 the first part of the "Hangman's Daughter" series, following my ancestor Jakob Kuisl's life, was published. The series by now enables me to earn my living as an author. Until today I wrote almost a dozen novels, including books for children as well. Worldwide over 2,5 million copies were sold, translated into over 20 languages, spreading even to Russia and China. And it all started with my ancestor, the bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl. I wish, he would be proud of me. But most likely — as a typical Bavarian — he would have nothing for me but a grumpy curse ...
I wish you lots of fun with my stories!
/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Hangman´s Daughter (A Hangman´s Daughter Tale / Book 1)
Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.
Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor to race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemy.
Taking us back in history to a place where autopsies were blasphemous, coffee was an exotic drink, dried toads were the recommended remedy for the plague, and the devil was as real as anything, The Hangman’s Daughter brings to cinematic life the sights, sounds, and smells of seventeenth-century Bavaria, telling the engrossing story of a compassionate hangman who will live on in readers’ imaginations long after they’ve put down the novel.
© AmazonCrossing / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Dark MonkTThe Dark Monk (A Hangman´s Daughter Tale / Book 2)
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 Pötzsch’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.
© AmazonCrossing / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Beggar King (A Hangman´s Daughter Tale / Book 3)
1662: Jakob Kuisl, the hangman of a village in the Alps, receives a letter from his sister calling him to the imperial city of Regensburg, where a gruesome sight awaits him: her throat has been slit. When the city constable discovers Kuisl alongside the corpse she locks him in a dungeon, where Kuisl will experience first-hand the torture he’s administered himself for years. As nightmares assail him, Kuisl can only hope to prevail on the Regensburg executioner to show mercy to a fellow hangman. Kuisl’s steely daughter, Magdalena, and her young doctor paramour, Simon, rush to Regensburg and try to save Jakob, enlisting an underground network of beggars, a beer-brewing monk, and an Italian playboy for help. Navigating the labyrinthine city, they learn there is much more behind the false accusation than a personal vendetta: there is a plan that will endanger the entire German Empire.Chock-full of fascinating historical detail, The Beggar King brings to vibrant life another tremendous tale of an unlikely hangman and his tough-as-nails daughter, confirming Pötzsch’s mettle as a storyteller at the height of his powers.
© AmazonCrossing/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Poisoned Pilgrim (A Hangman´s Daughter Tale / Book 4)
1666: The monastery at Andechs has long been a pilgrimage destination, but when the hangman’s daughter, Magdalena, her doctor husband Simon, and their two small children arrive there, they learn that the monks have far larger concerns than saying Mass and receiving alms. It seems that once again, the hangman’s family has fallen into a mysterious and dangerous adventure. Two monks at the monastery experiment with cutting-edge technology, including a method of deflecting the lightning that has previously set the monastery ablaze. When one of the monks disappears and his lab is destroyed, foul play is suspected. Who better to investigate than the famed hangman, Jakob Kuisl? But as the hangman and his family attempt to solve the mystery of the missing monk, they must deal with both the eccentric denizens of the monastery and villagers who view the monks’ inventions as witchcraft that must be destroyed at all costs. This thrilling fourth entry of The Hangman’s Daughter series features scheming monks, murderous robots, and the action and intrigue that never seem to cease when the Kuisls are on a case.
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Amazon Crossing
The Werewolf of Bamberg (A Hangman´s Daughter Tale / Book 5)
In 1668, hangman Jakob Kuisl, his daughter Magdalena, and her husband Simon are traveling to the town of Bamberg. But what was planned as a family vacation soon becomes a nightmare: there is a murderer in Bamberg who is leaving the severed limbs of victims in the trash outside the city. When rumors quickly spread that the murders are the work of a werewolf, Jakob Kuisl must prove the superstition wrong and embarks on a search for the “devil of Bamberg.” This thrilling fifth entry in Oliver Pötzsch's Hangman's Daughter series follows the continuing adventures and mysteries that surround the Kuisl family.
© Amazon Crossing / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Play of Death (A Hangman´s Daughter Tale / Book 6)
It is 1670 and Simon Fronwieser is in the town of Oberammergau to bring his seven-year-old son to boarding school. As he bids his boy a tearful farewell, news comes of a shocking murder: the man who was to play the part of Christ in the town’s Passion play has been found dead, nailed to the set’s cross. As there is no doctor in town, Simon is brought in to examine the body. The opportunities to spend more time with his son and to investigate the murder quickly convince him to stay.
Soon he is joined by his father-in-law, Jakob Kuisl, the Schongau hangman, and the two begin piecing together the puzzle of the actor’s death. Was he murdered by a jealous rival? Are the recently arrived and unpopular immigrant workers somehow involved? Or is it a punishment from God for the villagers’ arrogance in trying to schedule the play four years earlier than prescribed by ancient custom? Once again it looks like it is up to the Kuisls to unravel the mystery and bring a town’s dark secrets to light.
Coming in May 2017!
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Ludwig Conspiracy
Ludwig II, the Fairy-tale King of Bavaria, is today remembered for his beautiful castles—popular tourist destinations that inspired the Disney Castle, but whose origins were much more fantastical than anything Disney could dream up. Also known as the Mad King, Ludwig was deposed in 1886 after being declared insane by doctors who had never met him. He promptly died—mysteriously drowned in waist-deep water—his eccentric castles his only legacy. Master of historical suspense Oliver Pötzsch brings the Mad King back to life in The Ludwig Conspiracy. An encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of modern-day rare book dealer Steven Lukas, who soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Others want the diary as well—and they will kill to get it. Lukas teams up with a beautiful art detective, Sara Lengfeld, to investigate each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues to crack the diary’s code as mysterious thugs and Ludwig’s fanatical followers chase them at every step. Just what in the diary could be so explosive? Combining contemporary mystery and a gripping historical saga and centered on an ingenious code that can be cracked only with a combination of modern computers and nineteenth-century texts, The Ludwig Conspiracy is a bold new thriller from the best-selling author of The Hangman’s Daughter series.
© Amazon Kindle Singles
A gripping short story by the author of the bestselling Hangman’s Daughter series.
June 16, 1692. Relic dealer Georg Ayndorfer is found slain in the Chapel of St. Quirinus of Tegernsee. Was it the holy rage of St. Quirinus himself, or was Ayndorfer murdered by jealous colleagues?
Georg Asam, a famous artist commissioned to paint a fresco in the chapel, feels compelled to investigate.
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Castle of Kings
In 1524, in what is now Germany, hundreds of thousands of peasants revolted against the harsh treatment of their aristocratic overlords. Agnes is the daughter of one of these overlords, but she is not a typical sixteenth-century girl, refusing to wear dresses and spending more time with her pet falcon than potential suitors. There is only one suitor she is interested in: Mathis, a childhood friend who she can never marry due to his low birth status. But when a rogue knight attacks Agnes and Mathis shoots the knight to save her, the two are forced to go on the run together, into the midst of the raging Peasants’ War.
Knight Kyle and the Magic Silver Lance (Adventures Beyond Dragon Mountain)
Beyond the great forest and towering Dragon Mountain lies Fairyland, a land of elves and trolls, dragons and giants, magicians and fairies. And in one corner, Fairyland East, lives Knight Kyle.
Kyle’s great-grandfather once possessed a silver lance that, according to legend, gave its owner invincible power. The lance is now missing, and Kyle is always looking for it, but so are his worst enemies: the robber Rasputin and the evil magician Balduin.
Luckily, Kyle has the help of his friends, including Lady Constance (who is as brave as a dragon), Dragobert (who really is a dragon), Elf Aurin (whose harp playing, unfortunately, puts Kyle to sleep), and Prince Nepomuk (who protects his friends and his wardrobe at all times).
Almost every day they find themselves in a new amazing adventure…
This enchanting story by bestselling author Oliver Pötzsch is beautifully illustrated by Sibylle Hammer.
Book of the Night: The Black Musketeers
In this thrilling adventure by bestselling author Oliver Pötzsch, thirteen-year-old Lukas has been trained as a swordsman by his father, a nobleman who was once a famed Musketeer. When the threat of war and accusations of witchcraft spread across the land, Lukas’s life is forever changed. He flees his home and vows to find his missing sister.
Surviving as an outcast, Lukas encounters thieves and mercenaries, a strange astrologer, and a master swordsman. He also meets three other fencers - Giovanni, Paulus, and Jerome. Each brings a special talent to their team that leads them to the Black Musketeers, the best fighters in the army. But living with the black-armored Musketeers is nothing like they imagined. In his quest to find his sister, Lukas learns of a legendary book that holds powerful magic. As he fights to keep the Book of the Night out of the hands of his greatest enemy, Lukas discovers the secrets of his own family and what it really means to be a Musketeer.
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