About the book:
Welcome to the world of Frantz Schmidt: citizen of Nuremberg, executioner of 394 unfortunates, and torturer of many hundreds more. Most unusually for his times, Frantz was also a diarist. Drawing deeply on this exceptional and overlooked record that he kept for over forty-five years, The Faithful Executioner takes us deep inside his world and his thinking. But the picture that emerges is not of a monster. Could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate - even progressive? Young Frantz enters the trade as the Apprentice, following in his father's footsteps. Later, as the Journeyman, he travels the roads of Franconia, learning to reconcile his desire for respectability with his violent work. After a lifetime working amid human cruelty, tragedy, injustice and simple misfortune as the Master in Nuremberg, Frantz has become a moralist and storyteller, the Sage. And, in the closing chapters of his life, retired now from his role as executioner, he is the Healer, running the large medical practice that he always viewed as his true vocation. The Faithful Executioner is the biography of an ordinary man struggling to overcome an unjust family curse and a panorama of a Europe poised on the cusp of modernity, a world with startling parallels to our own.