Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Enterprise Of Death The Enterprise Of Death
by Jesse Bullington

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: John Toon

There ought to be a word for what Jesse Bullington does, and that word ought to be "medievalpunk". Or possibly "Grimmpunk".

Like his debut, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, Bullington's new novel The Enterprise of Death is set in Europe during the Middle Ages, and features a generous quantity of folk-tale monsters and eldritch magic. Unlike its forebear, this book includes protagonists you can sympathise with! Nasty things still happen, but this time they happen to nice (-ish) characters - I'm not sure if that's better or worse.

The story follows an unwilling necromancer's apprentice as she scours early 16th century Europe for the grimoire that will free her from the curse put on her by her mentor. Along the way she teams up with Niklaus Manuel - a genuine historical figure, famous for his paintings and engravings (the picture on the cover is one of his) but here moonlighting as a mercenary with the Swiss army - and a lesbian gunsmith who dreams of running the finest brothel in France. Their adventures are rarely pleasant, but never less than gripping, with some hilarious diversions - notably their encounters with the alchemist Paracelsus - and several surprising twists.

The Enterprise of Death is filthy, foul-mouthed, funny and heartfelt, often all at once. Worth a look.

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