Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Review of "The Ludwig Conspiracy" by Oliver Pötzsch
Just before he's brutally tortured and murdered an elderly gent hides a secret diary in an antiquarian used bookstore in Munich. The bookstore is owned by Steven Lukas, a young man who just wants to lead a quiet life among his tomes. Before long the old gent's niece, Sara Lengfeld, shows up. She and Steven soon discover that the diary - which is written in code and has some undecipherable passages in an even more mysterious cipher - was written by Theodor Marot, mad King Ludwig II’s medical assistant.
King Ludwig was a well-known 'eccentric' who spent all of Bavaria's money building elaborate castles for himself before he died rather suddenly in 1886 - broke, bloated, toothless, and friendless. Was old King Ludwig murdered? Was he gay? Does the diary explain his sudden death? It seems a lot of people want to know. Thus when Sara and Steve race out of Munich and rush hither and thither looking for clues to decipher the diary they're chased by a variety of cut-throats and gangs who want to grab the book for themselves.
As Steven and Sara decode the diary we learn a bit about King Ludwig's life as well as political machinations in 19th century Bavaria.
Though there are a couple of surprising twists, all the clue hunting and deciphering eventually lead to a reveal that's less spectacular than I'd hoped for. Still it's a pretty good thriller/mystery with a little bit of romance, some interesting characters, and some intriguing blather about secret codes.