The Wall Street Journal—The Enterprise of Death

“...‘The Enterprise of Death’ ends with a four-page bibliography of the author’s research, but you don’t need to know all this to admire the result. It’s macabre, gruesome, foul-mouthed and much more complex than the usual vampire-and-zombie routine. The book is also a great counter to any notion that it’s easy to tell the difference between scientific fact and occult fantasy.”

A phenomenal review—thanks so much, Tom!

The Onion AV Club—The Enterprise of Death


“...Bullington’s barbed iconoclasm is the sharpest weapon in his arsenal, but he doesn’t shoot for satire with Enterprise. Instead, he’s content to mock the tides of history as his characters themselves might have. And unlike his debut novel—2009’s bawdy, horrific, and similarly equipped The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart—Enterprise brings Bullington’s formidable wit to bear on a far tenderer subject….Beautifully balancing putridity, profanity, and poignancy, Bullington renders The Enterprise Of Death resonant and achingly human—even as it brims with the unhuman.”

A perceptive, grand review—thanks, Jason!

Pornokitsch—The Enterprise of Death

“It’s Don Quixote meets Queer as Folk by way of Best Served Cold – with a dash of Martin-esque The Girl with the Pearl Earring and a sprinkling of Heironimous Bosch thrown in. It’s cheerful, roundabout, jovial, and unutterably grim. And funny as hell…Bullington writes with equal parts elegance and a puckish wit…a wonderfully human novel about the very meaning of humanity”

This review would have made me swoon in its own right, but that it came hot on the heels of Pornokitsch announcing that Enterprise was one of their nominees for their annual Kitschie Awards led me to stalking around the house waving my arms and spluttering joyously for…far too long. Many, many, many (also: many) thanks to Anne for the great review, and to her and the other three Red Tentacle jurors (Jared Shurin, Lauren Beukes, and Rebecca Levene) for taking the time to read the book, to say nothing of nominating it alongside such worthy peers!

Ellen Datlow—The Enterprise of Death

“ engaging dark fantasy…it evolves into a totally demented variation of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.”

Ellen has marvelous taste, so her mentioning Enterprise as being one of her “Notable Books of 2011” in her intro to The Best Horror of the Year 4 really, really, really makes me grin—thanks, Ellen!

Cassie Alexander—The Enterprise of Death

“A mash-up of accurate history, fantasy, fairy-tale, it’s a whirlwind tour of the end of the Dark Ages, involving necromancy, the Inquisition, slavery, unintentional necrophilia, tips on running brothels in the Swiss capital, and the redemptive power of heart-touching friendships, and also cannibalism. It’s dark, but it’s also hilarious, and humane and shiningly honest in turns.

In short, I adored it. And,um, if there’s a ever a cannibalistic buffet at Mr. Bullington’s house — dibs on the brains!”

Coming from as marvelous a writer as Cassie, this is high praise indeed—thanks so much for the kind words!

Elitist Book Reviews—The Enterprise of Death

“You know, sometimes I’m a whiner. I admit it. If there’s something in a book bothers me, I mention it. Something I think could be better in a story? It bubbles out. I’m just trying to stay honest, really. There’s a certain set of pieces that I think help make a story good. I also believe that you faithful readers share my opinion of at least part of that set. So when writing these responses, I always do my best to show you the playing field, lay out my set of rules, and then stay consistent from one review to the next. And then someone like Jesse Bullington comes along and shows me that, yes, sometimes, you can even break the big rules and still come out on the other side smelling like roses.”

A very fine and fair review—thanks for reading and reviewing, Dan!

The British Fantasy Society Journal (Summer 2011 Issue)—The Enterprise of Death

“...Within the first few dozen pages the reader is exposed to cannibalism, necromancy, necrophilia, murder, mutilation, attempted rape and several other horrors, but Bullington’s skill ensures that the reader remains gripped and doesn’t give up in disgust. It’s still not a book for the fainted-hearted, all the same; he’s been accurately compared to Rabelais but his grotesques also bring Jonathan Swift’s baroque humour to mind. Aside from the occasional anachronistic American slang phrase in the dialogue, this is a finely written novel and it wears its detailed research lightly. The characters live (even the dead ones) and the twin strands continue to engage even after the realisation that one is taking place years after the other. Then, halfway through, just as the older strand is catching up to the start of the newer one, Bullington reintroduces some villainous characters from early in the novel which cranks up the tension once again.

Few books manage push the reader onwards with such a feeling of curiosity. Bullington has already left an indelible mark on the fantasy genre even if he stops here.”

  • Review by: Jim Steel

In addition to his marvelous review for the BFSJ, Jim listed Enterprise as one of his favorite books of the year in Vector # 270, describing it there as “...a superb blend of black humour, nerve-shredding horror and secret history.” Can’t thank you enough, Jim!

Strange Horizons—The Enterprise of Death

“(a) rollicking second novel…mines the territory of historical fantasy, and the result is highly impressive. Breathtakingly grand in scope and achingly nuanced in detail…”

Another perceptive review from Strange Horizons—many thanks, Richard, for the in depth reading you gave my sordid work!

Stephen Graham Jones—The Enterprise of Death

“, this is the imperative part: don’t delay, crack it open now, lose yourself, then, at the end, wish it wasn’t over. lots of books this size, they’re that size because the writer didn’t know where to stop, so just kept feeling ahead in the dark, hoping to latch onto some kind of useable end. that’s not ENTERPRISE. not even close. the whole way through, it’s intentional, never indulges itself, and, most importantly, never falls so in love with the characters or the setting that the story loses its thrust. however, yes, WE fall in love with the characters, with the setting, with this version of Renaissance Europe.”

Stephen is one helluva writer, and that he thinks so highly of my writing is proof that you don’t have to possess good taste in what you read in order to be a stellar author! This is the part where I’d put a smiley face emoticon, if only I could bring myself to do it…

Book Geeks: The Enterprise of Death

“...The Enterprise of Death is not for everyone. Awa’s adventures are frequently garish and often grotesque. Her peculiar way of going about setting the world right may turn some stomachs, and Bullington is not afraid to take that extra step that really shows just how far his characters are willing to go. That said, Awa inhabits a fascinating world and the rest of the characters that surround her make for a breathless journey across war and conflict ridden landscapes. This is no-holds-barred writing, uncensored, tormented, mad and well worth a try.”

An awesome review—thanks so much, Jennie, very much appreciated!

Stephen Graham Jones—The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart

“’ll love it. Best compliment I can give it, or Bullington? That, if Jesse’d been born a hundred years ago, maybe HE could have written Conan for us. The world he creates is that kind of real, is that kind of place, where you want to go, be, live, in spite of the fact that you’ll surely be killed your first ten minutes there. They’ll be your best ten minutes, though. Completely worth it.”

Stephen’s an amazing writer, and a genuinely nice guy to boot. Doesn’t really explain why he’d roll with my nasty old graverobbing twins, but I’m not complaining—thanks, Stephen!

SFX—The Enterprise of Death

“...A mix of sardonic wordplay, sordid sex and violent setpieces that crackle with energy. Better still, you really have no idea where the plot might be going…Bullington has the odd Garth Marenghi moment, but this is also in part what makes him worth reading. There’s a sense here of a hugely talented novelist finding his voice, working his way through that difficult second novel, and eventually emerging triumphant. In a vamp obsessed era where cityscape cool is the name of the game, Bullington’s Rabelaisian vim and his way of twisting folk tales is hugely refreshing.”

Let it be known here and forever that I can die happy, having been compared to the Hierophant of Horror—were it not for Marenghi’s seminal classic Juggers I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. The magazine also has a cool pie chart of the book’s content (“sex with the dead—3%”)—many thanks, Jonathan!

Paul Tremblay—The Enterprise of Death

“Another book, steeped in meticulous research, Jesse uses historical fact and his ravenous intelligence to bring to life his unique brand of magic and mayhem mixed with the harsh realities of a time gone by. Spanish-Inquisition/Renaissance Europe is the backdrop. The novel opens with a young African slave (Awa) is rescued (well, not really) by a necromancer, and forced to be his apprentice. Darkly funny, and often gruesome, Bullington’s story telling talent is all over every page.”

Being a huge fan of Paul’s writing, this means a lot to me—thank you, sir!

Skull Salad Reviews: The Enterprise of Death

“...The friendships that develop are extremely well-drawn and compassionate. The underlying themes of friendship, faith, and bravery in the face of adversity are nicely explored. The characters – especially that of the protagonist – are quite flawed but manage to be extremely understandable and relatable…I recommend it heartily if you have a strong stomach with a strong tolerance for the profane. My six pack rating: 4 out of 6 mugs of a stout mead accompanied by a nice shredded long pork barbecue sammich. ”

A mixed but overall favorable review from Skull Salad—thanks, T.J.!

Innsmouth Free Press—The Enterprise of Death

“...Once I got going, I found myself almost unable to put Enterprise down and, most notably, every time the story veered in some direction that I expected to find annoying, Bullington would either veer away again, or otherwise twist it in some enchanting fashion so that I never once found the adventure tiresome.

Ultimately, The Enterprise of Death, like so many great fantasy novels, is a story of friendship and acceptance. There’s a quest, as well, and magic, and monsters (just wait ’til you meet the Bastards of the Schwartzwald), but the friendships form the book’s beating heart. While the exploits of Awa and her companions are still leavened liberally with a gallows humor, Enterprise is seldom as laugh-out-loud funny as The Brothers Grossbart, but the genuineness and humanity of Enterprise more than make up for any deficit. And, y’know, a bunch of Ray Harryhausen-style skeletons running around don’t hurt a thing.”

Mr. Grey is the kindest of skeletons—thank you, sir!

SF Revu—The Enterprise of Death

“Bullington is one of those rare writers who come along once every so often with a truly original vision. His work is quite unlike anything I have previously encountered - it is often sordid and grotesque, yet this is an author capable of great and profound insight, often conveyed via his equally finely tuned sense of the ridiculous. This new novel confirms the first was no fluke and makes it patently clear that Bullington is a very much name to watch. Highly recommended.”

  • Review by: Liz de Jager
  • Website: SFRevu

A quick, wonderful review—very much appreciated, Liz!

Total Sci-Fi Online

“...death has never been as scary as it is here. The flippancy with which life is taken and the multitude of horrifying possibilities that await both body and spirit are truly appalling. Readers have always been captivated by the appalling and perverse, and The Enterprise of Death is merely the latest example of this long literary tradition. As you scrunch up your nose in disgust, you’ll be keener than ever to see what horrors await you next.”

Great review—thanks, Alice!

“Death Be a Lady: Bullington’s The Enterprise of Death”

“...In The Enterprise of Death, Bullington manages to tell a story laced with dark fantasy and horror, as well as elements of historical fiction, in a manner that is by turns gruesome, satirical, shocking, hilarious, repulsive, surprisingly humane, and strangely beautiful. All of the potential he demonstrated in his first novel, in terms of the brilliance of his concepts and prose, have finally paid off in this rich, dark, supernatural gem of a story that, as in his first book, stirs fairy tale, legend, folk tale, and history into a delightfully malicious melange but one which, this time around, chills and warms the heart in equal measure.”

Rob was a reviewer who was less than crazy about the Brothers Grossbart but who seemed to love Enterprise—can’t thank him enough for giving me a second chance, and for the awesome review!

Bibrary Bookslut: The Enterprise of Death

“Quite possibly the strangest book I’ve read in a very long time, it’s also one I find myself thinking about reading once again (something I rarely do). I’d love to get my hands on a physical copy, to smell the ink, to feel the paper, to suffer the weight of it in my hands, and to get lost in the experience of reading. Perhaps too dark and morose for a beach read, I suspect it would be an entirely fitting read for a hot, stuffy, candlelit room during a violent summer thunderstorm…”

A great review—thanks so much, Sally!

Warpcore SF—The Enterprise of Death

“This novel is clearly very well researched, and it’s full of rich period detail. But it wears its scholarship lightly, never weighing down the narrative with long passages of unnecessary facts. The history alone gives The Enterprise Of Death the fascinating allure of something exotic…This is a rollicking story full of martial adventure, historical colour, and legions of the undead. Jesse Bullington strikes the perfect balance between breathtaking action, the heartbreak of Awa’s relationships, the oddness of witchcraft, and a fair helping of soul-searching on the part of some of the characters. The result is sometimes as gory as a triple-tiered eyeball cake at a zombie wedding, but it’s always thoroughly entertaining.”

Many thanks to Ros for the awesome five star review!

Adventures of a Bookonaut—The Enterprise of Death

“Bullington’s writing drew me in and had me to the last page…Dark, gritty and likely to put you off your lunch.  A pleasure to read.”

Thanks, Sean!

Falcata Times—The Enterprise of Death

“...Add to this a great understanding of pace, a masterful building of characters and a whole host of the weird and wonderful makes you wonder if he’s not Terry Gilliam’s Love Child…All in I loved this book and when you add to it that this is only the authors second title its probably going to surprise a few readers that he’s not been around for years. Definitely an author to watch as this Monty Pythonesque author flattens you with his writerly giant foot.”

Many thanks to FT for the great review!


“When the Brothers Grimm published their celebrated folktales, critics took aim at the inclusion of disturbing material unsuitable for children. Modeled after the grimmest of the Grimm tales, Bullington’s debut about a pair of villainous medieval brothers throws aside any concerns for children from the first chapter…Bullington makes little attempt to cast his protagonists as sympathetic anti-heroes; the Grossbarts are cutthroats to the core. Yet Bullington’s masterfully engaging style marks him as a writer of considerable promise.”

  • Review by: Carl Hays

Booklist’s favorable review is mostly plot synopsis but is very much appreciated. Thanks Carl!

Library Journal Review

“...This debut novel is kind of like the unexpurgated versions of Grimm’s fairy tales, as imagined by Chuck Palahniuk on some seriously bad drugs. Bullington clearly has a great appreciation for the rich history of folklore, and his viscerally evocative writing is excellent. On the other hand, he has also clearly gone out of his way to be as disgusting as possible. There are certainly people who will enjoy this book but probably not a lot of them. Verdict A zestfully grotesque adventure; not for the squeamish or faint of heart.”

Meant to post this ages ago. The less mature part of would like to point out that I have by no means gone out of my way to be as disgusting as possible—if I had the result would be something else entirely! Thanks Jenne!

Splice Today

“At this point, a good three quarters of the way through Jesse Bullington’s wildly energetic first novel, I realized exactly why I had been enjoying the book so much. Bullington has given Dark Ages Europe the Deadwood treatment, heaping profanity, humor, grit and violence on the shoulders of a wandering adventure through medieval Europe….Brothers Grossbart is, in its coarse and sanguinary grandeur, rather unlike any other novel I have ever read. Bullington does not dare complex themes—he treads lightly on class conflict, desires for paternal approval, prejudice, the weakness of knowledge in an age of ignorance and the indelible bond of the brothers themselves, but overall he sticks to brisk action and memorably grotesque showstoppers. The novel smacks of Blood Meridian, Army of Darkness, various westerns, maybe Umberto Eco, but despite its multiple influences it belongs wholly to its author.”

The reviewer had some quibbles with the novel but overall enjoyed it, and uses a lot of the magic words that make me happy: Eco, Blood Meridian, Army of Darkness, The Dark Tower, Deadwood, etc. Thanks Ari!

Interzone 226

“Dancing through the grotesque and shit-stained beauty of the medieval, the story cavorts in its possibilities…Bullington’s book expresses joie de vevere throughout, as well as giving periodic knowing winks to the audience. It reminded me of my initial excitement at reading China Miéville or Jeff VanderMeer and the possibilities that they outlined for the reader. The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart asks the reader to continually question what they are expecting from different varieties of the fantastic, in the same way that any of the post-modern fantasy writers have done, whilst also being an engrossing read.”

Interzone is an awesome UK magazine, and Mr. Emsley really nails it with his intelligent, in-depth review. Thanks, Iain!

Strange Horizons

“...Just as we think we’ve found a way to deal with Bullington’s manipulation of our emotion, he comes at us from another direction and overpowers us again. Even in the midst of a deeply negative reaction to this assault, it can’t be denied that Bullington’s ability to navigate these sudden shifts in tone is impressive, and that with The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart he has proven himself to be an extremely talented writer, who has written an unusual, even remarkable, debut in which he showcases a prodigious talent for manipulating his readers’ emotional responses. I say this, however, in much the same way that Doctor Who will on occasion express admiration for the villain of the week’s master plan—it’s very clever, but why would you want to overrun the universe with your hordes of killer robots?”

One of the most thorough and in-depth reviews the novel I’ve received, and one that is all the more intriguing due to the critic’s obvious and stated dislike for the novel. A very interesting read, though one that is, as with most academic examinations of texts, rather spoiler heavy. Thanks for taking the time, Ms. Nussbaum!

Esquire UK

One of their “Three To Read” in their January 2010 issue, with a wee blurb that describes the novel as “raucous, lewd, and grisly.”

An awesome surprise—thanks, Esquire!

The Telegraph

“Jesse Bullington’s modern folk tale reminds us that for most people the Dark Ages were a time not of fearless warriors and fair damsels but of brutish squalor. This is a tale grimmer than the grimmest of the Grimms’, redolent of blood, excrement, vomit and putrefaction. After butchering a farmer’s family, the Grossbart twins, scions of a line of grave-robbers and two of the most loathsome characters in modern fiction, set off for Egypt, where they believe the tombs offer lavish pickings. Along the way the brothers encounter witchery, plague, demonic possession and manifestations of all the fears and myths that inhabited the superstitious minds of medieval man. As the antithesis of conventional fantasy, this is a tour de force, but only for those with a strong stomach.”

My first “tour de force”—exciting! Considering the book seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it novel I’m thrilled to have such praise from the Telegraph; many thanks to Peter for such a great write-up.

Sci-Fi-London’s Favourite Books of 2009

Not a review, but a list of Rob Grant’s ten favorite books of 2009—with The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart ranking number one! Thanks Rob!

The Guardian

From the December 5, 2009 print edition of The Guardian: “To claim that the brothers Grossbart were cruel and selfish brigands is to slander even the nastiest highwayman.”  Thus the first line introduces the unsuspecting reader to a pair of the vilest, meanest, most murderous thugs ever to grace the pages of a fantasy novel … This is not for the faint-hearted or the queasy – imagine Tarantino crossed with Rabelais – but Bullington refrains from moralising and presents a buboes-and-all portrait of life in the middle ages.  It’s not all blood and guts… that the brothers believe they have God on their side in their crusade into the Holy Land adds a level of pertinent satire.’

  • Review by: Eric Brown

The Guardian! The Guardian! Thanks Eric!

San Francisco Book Review

“One is never sure what to expect in a debut novel. With prepublication endorsement from the likes of Jeff VanderMeer, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, perhaps unfairly, has a high level of expectation. Fortunately for Jesse Bullington, he’s got the writing and storytelling chops to back up the expectations…Readers who can handle Hegel and Manfried as protagonists will be rewarded with an ultimately rich and entertaining reading experience, that is especially more impressive since it is the author’s first novel.”

Being compared to Angela Carter made me swoon. A thoughtful and choice review, and the author also included the book as one of his three favorite debuts of 2009—thanks a lot, Rob, very much appreciated!

My Wife’s Grandmother

“It makes the Shining look like the Bible.”

  • Review by: Granny

Frankly, this is one of my favorite reviews to date. Thanks for reading, Granny!

Lateral Books

“...The Grossbarts, I think, will remain two of my favourite characters ever created and that’s a fact…There’s humour, action sequences which leave you breathless, dark fairytale monsters and secondary characters caught in the Grossbart web to feel sorry for. You’ve just got everything you need for an absolute ripper of a book…Pageturner? I ate this like it was my last meal.”

A great review that does give away one or two little details, so spoilers ahead and all. Thanks Lucas!


“This book has a bit of a background behind it, in that the story goes that this debut author was discovered by none other than Jeff Vandermeer, upon whose recommendation the author’s first book was sold. Consequently some have felt that this book is nothing more than the consequence of a literary ‘leg-up’. However, in my opinion that’s a little unfair, because I think the book is good enough not to need such backing. TSTotBG is a morality tale for characters with no morals. It is dark, cynical, and at times unpleasant, VERY unpleasant. And yet, in that strange watching a car-crash manner, an enthralling read…Whilst I would not say this was a book for everyone, the wicked sense of amorality and humour will appeal to many who like their humour dark. Like its amazing cover, it is a satisfyingly clever, well-plotted book that never takes itself too seriously and a very promising debut.”

A great review from Mr. Yon; many thanks!

The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is one of the most original books I’ve read all year in terms of style and it is a debut to boot. It also sports one of the best covers of the year with M.C. Escher like art from István Orosz. The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbarts reminds me a lot of Christopher Moore’s recent Fool, only not as nice.  Jesse Bullington twists folktales to places they have never gone before with the strength and bravado of an author much more seasoned. Forget about the Brothers Grimm.  Long live the Brothers Grossbart!”

Not only did Monsieur Hatter’s thoughtful review conclude with a 9 out of 10 Hat rating, but he also named it as the Most Original Debut of 2009 in his end of the year review. Thanks!

Forbidden Planet International

“Its rude and vulgar and nasty in places, but for appropriate effect, not just shock (it suits the historical period and characters perfectly), as it plays brilliantly with Medieval mores, folklore and the old fairy tales before they were cleaned up and sweetened for the delight of children…Its not for the easily offended but for those who do pick it up its one of the most original fantasy novels I’ve read in years (if you loved SF writer Richard Morgan’s hardboiled, noir take on fantasy the other year then this is for you) and, much as I love the genre, it’s fair to say it has more than its share of interchangeable generic series, so its immensely refreshing when someone comes along and kicks the genre up its leather britches-covered behind like this. The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart will be making my list of best books of the year; highly recommended.”

I’m finding very few things as rewarding as stumbling over reviews by people who really get and appreciate what I was going for.

The Bookbag

“Another way to consider this book then is something like the Van Helsing film, or Terry Gilliam’s Brothers Grimm disaster, as redirected by Quentin Tarantino…I don’t want to denigrate the book however by saying it is merely a mash-up of this meets that, or someone a la someone else. It certainly is its own beast….a fantasy that pretty much succeeds in doing what it wants to - offering a very well imbued sense of period, a well-sustained style (I liked the way the glottal speech was spelled out for us all so vividly), and a finely nailed character for the brothers…”

A tidy four star review, and a recommendation, from the UK site, and the conclusion that “ this point I generally suggest something else similar to read, either linked in style or subject. Well, I’m happily stumped here. There certainly is nothing like this out there.”

What a Nasty Pair They Are!

“...One of those stories where you find yourself laughing and then checking to see if anyone saw because you get an instant twinge of guilt…Bullington’s written word seriously brings to mind the strange worlds Gilliam portrays in his various films. I’m not sure if Bullington is a fan of Gilliam, but since I am, this is a super cool accomplishment in my book.”

Gilliam comparison FTW!


“A psychopathic Bob ‘n’ Bing on the ‘Road To Hell’ directed by the bastard child of Scorsese and Tarantino…I have to say right off that as debut novels go this is one the best I’ve read, and while it’s a strangely crafted book - the language changes style and it switches POVs seemingly at random from character to narrator and back again - it is utterly absorbing and as fine a tale as you’ll read this year.”

It’s rare indeed that I get a review that manages to draw in Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, yet Mr. Grant succeeds wildly. Bravo!

Innsmouth Free Press

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is disgusting, violent, and filled to the brim with cursing, blaspheming, great quantities of bodily fluids, and just about every manner of degeneracy, and it takes some getting used to…That said, it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that’s generally for me, either, but after getting my sea legs, I found it to be wonderfully written, clever, funny, and ultimately, brilliantly itself. It’s a debut novel of a kind we rarely see, and I think it’ll divide a lot of people, and get a lot of much-deserved attention.”

A very tidy and honest review from a talking skeleton.

Falcata Times

“If you want spartan description, cracking prose and a tale with the stuff of legends then this is going to be a must own. Great stuff.”

Short and sweet write-up from the good editors at Falcata.

Ekaterina Sedia

“as you might’ve heard, the book is bloody and grim, the protagonists have no redeeming qualities apart from their heretical and often hilarious theological views, and people get murdered left and right. This is not why this book is good, and not even because of its Terry Gilliam-esque Medieval mud and grime, although that one is delightful. I recommend it because it does such a wonderful job capturing that fevered worldview, apparently common in the Dark Ages, most familiar from works like Malleus Maleficarum—the ease of coexistence between things quite mundane and the monsters so horrifying and obscene as to evoke paintings of Bosch and Bruegel the Elder. All of that against the backdrop of plague-ridden Medieval Europe, crime sprees and grave-robbing.”

Ekaternia Sedia is an amazing author, and her thoughts on the novel are witty and on point.

Best Books of 2009—Top 10 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Not really a review, but squeaking into Amazon’s Top 10 F&SF; Books of the Year warrants mention somewhere, I think.

Holy fuck!

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

“If all this wasn’t enough, Bullington paints a world appropriately dark and sinister with a confidence that makes you wonder if he knew someone who lived there.”

9 1/2 out of 10 from such a great site makes me incredibly happy.


“For me, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is what would happen if the Brothers Grimm, Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk and Warren Ellis all came together and wrote a novel…”

A 4 1/2 Star review from Robert Thompson, who reprinted it at Fantasy Book Critic as well.


“Fantasy debut plunges viscerally into the depths of medieval nightmare…Deeply rooted in history and folklore, the novel is both earthier and far more cynical than the original versions of Grimms’ fairy tales; it’s a perverse Dark Ages anti-Candide…amusing, skillfully distasteful…at times as grotesquely pleasurable as picking at a scab.”

Romantic Times

“Almost Rabelaisian…Bullington is definitely a promising new writer of the fantastic.”

Genre Go Round

“...satirical medieval pilgrimage is a humorous over the top of the Alps fantasy thriller…”

As with the Publisher’s Weekly review, this one has more spoilers than I usually like in my reviews so proceed with caution. She appears to have given the book four out of five stars on the Barnes and Noble page.

Publisher’s Weekly

“With liberal inclusion of vomit, gore and turnips, Bullington’s bizarre debut follows two monstrous siblings across 1364 Europe and the Middle East as they seek ever-richer graves to rob…The mix of grimmer-than-Grimm fairy tale tropes, spaghetti Western dialogue (“Yeah, can’t suffer no traitorous churls to keep on bein traitorous”) and medieval history is striking and often funny…”

Thanks, PW!

OF Blog of the Fallen

“When I finished the novel last night, I was sad that there were no more pages left to read. I usually don’t like caper or anti-hero novels that much, or at least those that bowdlerize the dark aspects of such characters, but The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart grabbed my attention from the first page and I had to keep reading until the final page. This is the best 2009 debut novel that I’ve read, hands down.”

Manages to work in references to The Blues Brothers and Shaft, no mean feat.