Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Bloodletter's Daughter-Linda Lafferty

The Bloodletter's Daughter

Linda Lafferty

Amazon Publishing, Sep 4 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781612184654

In 1606, King Rudolph II is concerned with the violent depraved behavior of his illegitimate offspring Don “Giuglio” Julius. At first ignoring his son’s destructiveness as youthful foolishness, the monarch finally takes action at controlling his offspring’s madness for fear Giuglio’s scandalous behavior will foment rebellion. Thus the King exiles Giuglio from Prague to an isolated castle in Bohemia, and assigns priests and physicians to cure the lad or face punishment for failure.

In Cescky Kreumlov, Marketa Pichlerova works at the bathhouse she loathes. When her father barber-surgeon Zigmund is sent to bleed the ill humors from prince Giuglio, Marketa joins him. Giuglio is stunned by Marketa as she looks similar to an illustration in the Book of Wonder that the mad royal uses as his link to sanity. He must have her.

Based on a true murder that shook the Hapsburg Dynasty, The Bloodletter's Daughter is a fascinating look at the reign of King Rudolph II as his patronage for science and intellectual thinking (by supporting Kepler and Brahe) is contrasted with the limitations of a teenage female in a remote village. The storyline reads like two novels that never gels as the plot rotates focus between Marketa and the prince, and Matthias’ revolt. The inclusion of the mysterious coded Book of Wonder (The Voynich Manuscript) enhances this engaging historical fiction.

Harriet Klausner

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