“Pötzsch paints picturesque landscapes, whether it’s damp, dark castles, the stink of a medieval tannery, or whirlpool-plagued Rhine River rapids . . . Combine Princess Bride with Germanic history circa 1500, add a dash of Lord of the Rings, and there’s a week of good fun.” — Kirkus Reviews
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 whom she can never marry due to his low birth status.
In the midst of war, Agnes’s falcon finds a mysterious ring, and Agnes begins having strange but seemingly meaningful dreams. Dreams that lead her and Mathis to run away from their home in Trifels Castle and into the midst of the tumultuous Peasants’ War, cast into an adventure that will lead them to shocking revelations about themselves and the future of the emerging German states.
“The war scenes are grimly realistic, and the narration gripping . . . The author makes the fantastical elements work by harnessing them to the grim reality of the Peasants’ War, setting his far-fetched romance in an utterly convincing world of economic hardship, social strife and religious and political uncertainty.” — Wall Street Journal
It's 1524 in what is now Germany, and 16-year-old countess Lady Agnes, daughter of the castellan of Trifels Castle, loves nothing more than eschewing dresses and spending time with her falcon, Percival. Meanwhile, her dear friend, 17-year-old Mathis Weilenbach, is fascinated by the possibilities presented by gunpowder, and he's not afraid to experiment. When Agnes finds a ring attached to Percival's foot, she's mystified and determined to find out where it came from. Her confidant, Father Tristan, seems to know something relevant but is hesitant to share it. Soon, Mathis is caught up in a rebellion that's fueled by peasants tired of struggling when nobles and the clergy drape themselves in finery. He's horrified by the bloodshed and, along with Agnes, goes on the run. P tzsch (The Hangman's Daughter) packs a dizzying amount into this hefty novel, which spans two years: battles, romance, rebellion, jailbreaks, robber knights, treasure hunts, and above all, a heroine who is not afraid to defy her station or the constraints of her gender. Historical fans will find much to love in the immersive worldbuilding and fully realized characters.