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The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old…

The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Linda Lafferty

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2151554,204 (3.39)7
Title:The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia)
Authors:Linda Lafferty
Info:Amazon Publishing (2012), Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Bloodletter's Daughter by Linda Lafferty (2012)



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Fascinating historical fiction based on the true story of illegitimate Hapsburg heir Don Julius and how he murdered a girl from Český Krumlov, a small village where he had been banished as punishment for his erratic and violent behavior (his father, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, seemed to be in denial about Don Julius' mental illness). Great historical detail of the Hapsburg dynasty as well as an insightful look at life in Eastern Europe in the early 1600s. Vivid characters and a well-written story that captures the issues of the times (religious, political, gender). ( )
  PaulaKrapf | Aug 2, 2014 |
I LOVED this book. The fact that it is historical fiction and makes me want to go look up more history on the time is telling regarding how good it is. It is well written and the audio book was well read. I became very involved as I was reading. I love some characters, wanted to slap others, and hated a few. Any book that gets you emotionally involved is a good book. I highly recommend reading this book! ( )
  morandia | Aug 1, 2014 |
I stopped at page 170 because I simply couldn't read anymore of this book. At first glance, it was interesting, even captivating, so I kept reading. It was too salacious for my tastes, but that isn't why I gave it one star and stopped reading. The characters were caricatures or stereotypes; the writing was rife with cliche'; the dialogue was stilted, and the descriptions unimaginative. If the author did thorough research of the time period (early 17th century), it didn't show. She didn't tell me anything I hadn't already learned in school. Granted, I didn't get past 170 pages, so I can't say unequivocally that the book doesn't go into more depth. But at a whopping 514 pages, it required a time commitment that I stopped being willing to make. A book that long better be a quality book because it is asking a lot from the reader. I'm afraid that this book didn't even come close to being worth it. ( )
1 vote TheLoopyLibrarian | Jul 26, 2014 |
With "The Bloodletter’s Daughter" Linda Lafferty retells the legend of mad Don Julius, illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and his murder in 1608 of an innocent Bohemian bath maid. This telling takes the form of a thriller, but the author is too wise to think her readers are as much in the dark as the citizens of the time.

The story features a good many actors with axes to grind, maybe too many to do any single character the justice of a full fictional treatment. The king imprisons his schizophrenic bastard son Don Julius in a newly purchased castle and simultaneously awards him lordship and governance over the region. The bath maid catches his eye, and her ambitious mother engineers a near-fatal assignation for her and the prince. Death and destruction threatens the town unless the prince gets his way in the end. In addition, Catholics and Protestants in Hungary must unite to fight the infidel Ottomans who encroach ever farther into Europe. There’s a lot going on, and affairs of state, even when they involve mad murderous princes, take precedence over the most basic characterization and internal dialogue.

I found precious little to sympathize with along the way, and felt finishing the book was simply an exercise gratefully completed. I do appreciate the research that went into this, and the honest attempt to capture Don Julius’s madness; these were effective and commend the book. Overall, however, it was time that could be better spent.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-bloodletters-daughter-by-linda.ht... ( )
  LukeS | Jan 19, 2014 |
Ah! A surprising treat! I don't know quite where I found this book, perhaps Amazon suggested it to me for my Kindle, and I loved the picture on the cover. It accounts a true "scandalous butchery" of the bath maid Marketa Pichlerova by Bohemia's Rudolf II's son Don Julius in 1608. Don Julius was crazy, perhaps a genetic result of royal inbreeding, perhaps with schizophrenia. According to Lafferty's fictional account he was alternately "in love" with Marketa and enraged that she was a whore; he also feared witchcraft. Lafferty did extensive research into the state of science, religion (Catholic priests and nuns as well as Protestants), medicine, and folk ways, including women herbal healers who were called witches. There were times while I was reading the book that I felt irritated by her casting Marketa as a girl who wanted to learn science, and who wanted to be a doctor. The author strained my credulity quite a bit but in the end she came up with a very clever trick ending which resulted in a happy ever-after ending which was satisfying. I am pretty sure the real person was murdered but that would make a very sad, and probably unsatisfactory, novel. I liked the book and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction, and maybe those who like a little romance patina on it. ( )
  maggie1944 | Dec 22, 2013 |
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In 1606, the city of Prague shines as a golden mecca of art and culture carefully cultivated by Emperor Rudolf II. But the emperor hides an ugly secret: His bastard son, Don Julius, is afflicted with a madness that pushes the young prince to unspeakable depravity. Desperate to stem his son's growing number of scandals, the emperor exiles Don Julius to a remote corner of Bohemia, where the young man is placed in the care of a bloodletter named Pichler. The bloodletter's task: cure Don Julius of his madness by purging the vicious humors coursing through his veins. When Pichler brings his daughter Marketa to assist him, she becomes the object of Don Julius's frenzied - and dangerous - obsession. To him, she embodies the women pictured in the Coded Book of Wonder, a priceless manuscript from the imperial library that was his only link to sanity. As the prince descends further into the darkness of his mind, his acts become ever more desperate, as Marketa, both frightened and fascinated, can't stay away. Inspired by a real - life murder that threatened to topple the powerful Hapsburg dynasty, The Bloodletter's Daughter is a dark and richly detailed saga of passion and revenge.… (more)

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