Like a lot of happenings medieval times, this tale is brutal and horrifying. It’s also historical fiction at it’s finest! Ripped from 16th century pamphlets, Neil Mackay takes us behind the scenes of a true case, documented as one of the earliest accounts of a serial killer.
William Loos is now 80 year-old historian in England, but that’s not who he has always been. He was once known as Willy Lessinger, an assistant to the solicitor, Paulus Melchior.
In the year of 1563, Paulus and his student Willy, along with representatives from the Church, traveled to Bideburg, Germany to officiate at the trial of Peter Stumpf. Peter Stumpf was a wealthy wood mill owner and timber merchant in the town of Bideburg, who was being tried for brutally killing 68 men, women and children. Here’s the thing…Peter was tried as a werewolf!
Paulus and Willy work painstakingly hard to uncover the facts behind the fiction. Is Peter a werewolf or merely a psychotic killer? Are his wife and children also afflicted by the curse of the devil?
This gruesome recounting of the trial of Peter the Wolf is definitely not for the squeamish. The medieval age was not an enlightened time period. Plague was rampant, religious persecution abounded and tales of the devil in the form of vampires, witches and werewolves were commonly held superstitions. Full of horror, cruelty and uncountable atrocities, this is an unflinching look at the evils of human nature at that time.
I seriously had to take a breather after reading this book! I also went online to read more about this unbelievable but true history. Horror lovers and history buffs will be enthralled reading this book. The writing is absolutely superb and the epilogue is masterful.
I want to thank the publisher (Freight Books) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.