File this one under adventure/NPC/character inspiration.
“My book is based on the personal journal that German executioner Frantz Schmidt (aka Meister Frantz) kept during his forty-five years in the profession, from 1573-1618. During this time, he executed 394 individuals by various methods, and also flogged, disfigured, or tortured many hundreds more. This was clearly an amazingly prolific executioner, but what has been even more intriguing to me since my first encounter of this manuscript is the unexpected portrait of Meister Frantz that emerges: a man forced into an unsavory occupation, who appears to never lose his commitment to fairness, forgiveness, and other humane values.
Excerpt for non-Longreads members: