Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Ludwig Conspiracy

Ludwig II by Gabriel Schachinger
The enigmatic King Ludwig II of Bavaria and his fairytale castles are at the heart of this latest mystery by German author Oliver Pötzsch. In The Ludwig Conspiracy, a mild-mannered rare book collector named Steven Lukas is given the lost journal of one of Ludwig’s closest friends. The journal, written in code, is said to contain the truth about Ludwig’s mysterious death. Steven soon finds himself hunted by several shady characters who appear to be set upon stealing the diary from him. He is rescued from a violent death by an attractive young art detective, Sara Lengfeld, with whom he joins forces in order to piece together the King’s last days.

As Steven and Sara travel throughout Bavaria exploring Ludwig’s marvelous castles, they are chased by both the police and the members of an Arthurian-obsessed cult. In the meantime, Steven is brought closer not only to the secrets of the king but to the secrets of his own family history. Amid the suspenseful, lively and humorous narrative, the author offers a poignant depiction of the Dream King, shedding a great deal of light into the magical world of his creation. Ludwig’s attempt to withdraw from modernity into the romantic past led to his destruction but greatly benefitted his people in the long run. For anyone who has traveled in Bavaria, the novel will help you to mentally return there, so vivid are the descriptions. For those planning to visit Ludwig’s castles someday, The Ludwig Conspiracy is an excellent guide, as well as a gripping story.

This review originally appeared in the November 2013 edition of the Historical Novels Review.

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the Historical Novel Society in exchange for my honest opinion.)


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