by Oliver Potzsch
2011 (2013 - English translation)
'In 1886, Ludwig II, the Fairy-tale 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. In The Ludwig Conspiracy, master of historical suspense Oliver Pötzsch brings the Mad King back to life.
An encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of modern-day rare-book dealer Steven Lukas, who soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Lukas teams up with a beautiful art detective, Sara Lengfeld, to investigate each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues to crack the diary’s code as mysterious thugs and Ludwig’s fanatical followers chase them at every step. Just what in the diary could be so explosive?'
I'm all about Ludwig II these days, as you all know. I'd actually started reading this book just days before I received the Ludwig movie. Unfortunately, I've given up on this book. I did struggle through about 250 of the 420 pages but then decided I just couldn't do it anymore.
I was intrigued by this book because it mixes the past and the present. It does bring a lot of history into the otherwise fictional story. But it just got too busy and complicated for me. It's supposed to be a DaVinci Code type thing, with the main guy coming into possession of an old secret diary. Turns out this diary is about King Ludwig's death, and it's written in code. Also turns out that plenty of other people want to get their hands on this, and some will even kill for it. So it becomes a race to decode the text, and figure out the clues that will lead them to . . . what? I wasn't even sure. The truth of Ludwig's death? They have to figure out keywords and travel from one Ludwig-related place to the next in search of the next keyword. So not only is the story in the diary written in code, but there is a second type of coded message mixed in throughout it all. What? I got so confused on what the keywords were for and why it took such extremes to come up with such simple words.
I thought the story in the diary would be the most interesting part because it took place back in Ludwig's day, written by someone actually close to the king. (This is all pure fiction, by the way.) But no, it became a sappy love story about the writer and a servant girl, and it portrayed Ludwig heavily on the side of 'He's a freakin' weirdo.' So I thought okay, well this part is fail but maybe the present day stuff about them visiting his castles in search of clues would be cool. No, that because boring too, especially when people were suddenly allowing them total access to places and other people were shooting the places up in attempts to get the diary.
A lot of the conversations seemed clunky and odd. Since I see now that this is the English translation version of the book, maybe that explains why.
I always hate giving up on a book, and I especially hated giving up on a *Ludwig* book, but I just have so many other ones I want to read and could probably getting way more joy and satisfaction out of. I did skip to the end to see if I could find some closing explanation of the things going on in the book. I did get a sort of general one, and that's good enough for me at this point.