King Ludwig II, infamous for his eccentric behavior, is declared insane by his government and removed from his throne. A day later, Ludwig's corpse washes up in the shallows of Lake Starnberg. Rumours about the cause of the tragedy abound, but few people know why Ludwig was really killed. Or what secret was silenced by his death.
Germany, present day . . .
Hidden among the crates in a newly discovered Nazi bunker are documents stamped with a black swan, the insignia of the murdered king. As a favour to a friend, Jonathon Payne and David Jones fly to Bavaria to protect the documents, but soon face a life-or-death battle against an unknown enemy. From the depths of the Black Forest to the water canals underneath Ludwig's castles, the duo must solve the mystery behind the king's death or share his tragic fate.
Kuzneski's lightweight sixth contemporary thriller featuring former Special Forces pals Jonathon Payne and David Jones (after 2010's The Prophecy) takes the bantering duo to Bavaria, where they get on the trail of a hidden treasure belonging to Ludwig II, the eccentric 19th-century Bavarian monarch popularly known as Mad King Ludwig, who died mysteriously at age 40. A bad guy, Hans Mueller, also seeks the treasure, and a pretty young woman who works for a government ministry that oversees all the castles in Bavaria serves largely as the butt for sex jokes from the guys when they aren't making fun of each other's manhood. Kuzneski is good at parceling out interesting historical details, but it's pretty much a stroll through a Bavarian theme park for Payne and Jones, who barely break a sweat while dispatching evildoers. Fans of sophomoric humor will be most rewarded.