The Ludwig Conspiracy
By: Oliver Pötzsch
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
In 1886, Ludwig II, the fairytale king of Bavaria, was deposed after being declared insane by doctors who had never met him. He died mysteriously soon thereafter, his eccentric and beautiful castles his only legacy.
When an encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of rare book dealer Steven Lukas, he soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Others want the diary as well—and they will kill to get it. Believing the diary to contain the secret truth behind Ludwig’s death, Steven and the detective Sara Lengfeld go on the run, investigating each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues. Just what in the diary could be so explosive that Ludwig’s deranged modern-day followers will do whatever it takes to keep it hidden?
I’ve been meaning to read something by Oliver Pötzsch for ages. I ended up picking up this book partly because it was on sale but also because it was a standalone and I wasn’t in the mood to pick up a series at the time.
Definitely my favourite part of this novel was the historical aspect of the story, about Ludwig and events leading up to his deposition and death. I’m not wholly familiar with Bavarian/German history beyond the general scope of European history so a lot of this information about Ludwig II is new for me (not so much the rise of German unification). I also didn’t know there was so much mystery and politics behind his deposition and death that I was definitely glued to the historical side of the story. Definitely leaves me wanting to visit Bavaria sometime in the near future (Germany has already been on my travel bucket list, but I might as well bump it higher on said list now 😉 )!
The contemporary side of the story was okay, as it spurs the story onward as to the mystery behind Ludwig’s final days. It was interesting enough, reminds me of Dan Brown or Steve Berry’s books with the thriller element, the race against time, secrets to be uncovered. Sometimes it went a bit far out–the antagonist in this story was a bit of a caricature–and at times the characters annoyed me: Sara’s tough and independent, but also a bit too unpredictable and abrasive. And much as I get where Steven’s reaction was coming from, especially at first, my Gott the man needs to tone the whining down a bit and get himself together.
Overall I enjoyed reading The Ludwig Conspiracy particularly for the historical aspect of the novel. If you enjoy historical thrillers in the vein of Dan Brown and Steve Berry, it’s a novel to pick up.