Top positive review
the novel is recommended if you can overlook mistranslation issues and Simon
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2018
This is the fourth in The Hangman's Daughter series, entitled The Poisoned Pilgrim. I rated the book a four for the plot line and the development of the characters. I did not have the option to rate a three for inconsistency, writing/translation, redundancy, and inconsistency. The gist of the novel is that multitudes are climbing a mountain to a monastery for the celebration of "the three hosts," an annual religious event. The year is 1666 and the setting is a village in Bavaria close to where the author actually grew up. The novel contains myriad simultaneous stories within the central story, and this is quite well done. The lead Benedictines are painted with a negative brush while little is written about the ordinary monks who comprise the majority of the community. The novel is replete with a type of sensory and visual realism, that is, the rough conditions of the time, the intertwining of Church and State, the smells of feces and floating carcasses, and so forth. Superstition and religion are difficult to separate, while there is evidence that science is beginning to present itself at the monastery. A major translation or author error relates to the improper use of the word "novitiate". This word means either a place where novices of an order live and are trained or a period of time which novices spend in special prayer and learning. The proper word for a person who is in this period of development is "novice" (L. novus = new). The novel consistently transposes novitiate for novice, an indication of superficial knowledge/bad translation of the text. In general, the novel is recommended if you can overlook mistranslation issues and Simon, the medicus, behaving out of character.