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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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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 |
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 |
I really enjoyed this story of Bohemia in the early 1600s, about the mad prince Don Julius, favourite son of the King Rudolf II. He was so depraved he would do unmentionable things to anyone around him on a whim. Told about a time when the letting of blood was believed to cure the humours in the body when they become unbalanced. The story concerns Marketa the daughter of the villages Bloodletter, who unusually helps her father. Don Julius's unbalanced mind conjures up all kinds of fantasies concerning Marketa and danger overtakes the whole village that Don Julius is sent to, to be cured.
A story based on historical facts, but I think the author has taken some liberties in the telling of the tale! Nevertheless an intruiging and intersting read. ( )
1 vote Glorybe1 | Oct 17, 2013 |
Wow... What an amazing book! I actually would give it 4.9 stars. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was the ending. The ending was rather abrupt and it didn't really explain how Marketa survived, only that her aunt possibly took her place but it's not clear that that annoyed me. As well as the reasoning behind Annabella sleeping with Jakub... Just to clear him of his issues with virginity? It didn't make sense and wasn't well explained. Otherwise this was a great book! ( )
1 vote wagrobanite | Sep 24, 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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