The Bloodletter's Daughter

The Bloodletter's Daughter

by Linda Lafferty

Overview: In 1606, the grand city of Prague hides an ugly secret: the emperorís bastard son, Don Julius, is afflicted with a madness that pushes the prince to unspeakable depravity. Banished to a remote corner of Bohemia, Don Julius comes under the care of a bloodletter who works to purge the vicious humors coursing through the young royalís veins. When the prince meets the bloodletterís daughter Marketa, his madness sparks a frenzied ó and dangerous ó obsession. He believes Marketa embodies the women from the Coded Book of Wonder, a priceless manuscript from the imperial library that was the young princeís only link to sanity. As the prince descends further into the darkness of his mind, his acts become ever more desperate, and Marketa, both frightened and fascinated, canít stay away. Inspired by a true murder that rocked the Hapsburg dynasty, The Bloodletterís Daughter is a dark and richly detailed saga of passion and revenge.

Debbie Weiss (12/20/14): This book was well written and the story line was very interesting. The main character, Marketa, was a strong, independent young lady in the 17th century. Instead of wanting to following the usual path of the women of that time, Marketa wanted to learn science and follow the footsteps of her father, a bloodletter.

Marketa got the opportunity that she hoped for, to practice bloodletting, when the king's bastard son became infatuated with her and would allow noone else to perform this procedure each day on him. Don Julius was not quite right in his mind and the relationship between the two of them evolved into one in which Marketa's life was in danger. I am not a big fan of historical fiction, but this story definitely kept my attention.
Rating: ***

Ricki Brodie (02/06/14): The novel was inspired by real-life events that threatened the Hapsburg Empire. It is set in the early 1600ís when Emperor Rudolph II is head of the Hapsburg empire. Unfortunately the Emperorís bastard son, Don Julius, is afflicted with madness that manifests itself both physically and verbally in acts of extreme depravity (rape, murder). The Emperorís solution is to have him sequestered in a castle in a remote village where the local bloodletter can remove the evil coursing through his body.

The bloodletter/doctor has a 16 year old daughter Marketa who wants follow in her fatherís footsteps (impermissible by law and culture) rather than tend to the villagers seeking baths (and more) at her motherís public bathhouse. The bloodletter takes Marketa to assist him at the castle. Julius becomes obsessed with her and will only agree to have the bloodlettings if Marketa administers them.

There is a back story of a plot to overthrow the Emperor and use the madness as a vehicle to foster a coup. Julius is released as cured, becomes the lord of the land and begins to wreak havoc on the town. The townsfolk believe Marketa can rescue them but she must fight for her survival.

The characters are well drawn as is life back then. You feel for Marketaís lot in life and watch her become stronger throughout the book. That it was based on fact makes the story that much more interesting.
Rating: ****

Dale Israel (11/08/12): I stumbled across this engaging little novel while looking for a good read on Amazon and almost passed it up because of the just didn't sound appealing. However, the book got excellent reviews and the concept of learning more about ancient medical practices of using leeches to cure people piqued my interest as a nurse. The year is 1599 and the place is Prague. Marketa Is the daughter of the local bloodletter and her mom operates the bath house. Marketa wants to follow in her father's footsteps and is allowed to assist him in trying to cure the king's crazy son Don Julious who in my estimation suffers from schizophrenia. This quirky little novel may not appeal to all but I absolutely loved it. It read like a fairy tale or fable which I found original and creative. It was different and refreshing. If you're interested in historical fiction with a twist of humor this is the book for you. I really liked it but I can see where others may not find it as entertaining as I did. If you are the adventurous type give it a whirl and let me know what you think....I give it a 4 1/2 thumbs up!
Rating: ****+

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