Frantz Schmidt was a complex man. He spent his life in quest of honor, holding fast to his religious convictions, but earning a living as a career killer. His father was an executioner, and in 1554 that meant he would inherit that profession. Executioners dealt out justice for towns that looked down on them. They weren’t allowed to hold citizenship, enter churches, or live within the city walls. Frantz kept a journal for 45 years, chronicling the 394 executions he performed and the personal anguish they wrought. With great psychological fortitude he respected his duty to the violent job he despised. This book is a fascinating account of a man trying to reconcile the hopes he had for his life with the dishonorable curse he was born into.

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