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The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old…

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

by Linda Lafferty

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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

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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 |
I have absolutely no idea how I ran across this book on the Kindle -- but I'm glad I did!

It's the early 1600's, in Prague and Bohemia. Emperor Rudolf II has no legitimate heirs, but his illegitimate first-born son is much-loved, if only by the Emperor and his mistress. This son, Don Julius, suffers from what is undoubtedly schizophrenia -- he hears voices, he has mad rages, he acts completely recklessly and inappropriately (and illegally). To keep the townspeople from revolting, the emperor sends his son to be held in a castle in a small town in Bohemia.

In this town, the barber surgeon (or blood-letter) is tasked with bleeding Don Julius to get his "humors into balance". His daughter, Marketa, is headstrong and wants what no girl is allowed -- to be a doctor. Marketa does assist her father, handling tools and such, and when Don Julius sees Marketa, he realizes the voices in his head go quiet.

That's the main gist. There's also a mysterious Book of Wonder that no one can translate, and several interesting side stories. The ending is exciting and fascinating, considering the book is based upon a real murder of the time.

I was captivated by the characters (even when they irritated me) and it's a unique story worth reading.

Lori Anderson

Book Blog
( )
  limamikealpha | Jun 5, 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 |
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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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