Hegel and Manfried Grossbart may not consider themselves bad men - but death still stalks them through the dark woods of medieval Europe.
The year is 1364, and the brothers Grossbart have embarked on a na�ve quest for fortune. Descended from a long line of graverobbers, they are determined to follow their family's footsteps to the fabled crypts of Gyptland. To get there, they will have to brave dangerous and unknown lands and keep company with all manner of desperate travelers-merchants, priests, and scoundrels alike. For theirs is a world both familiar and distant; a world of living saints and livelier demons, of monsters and madmen.
The Brothers Grossbart are about to discover that all legends have their truths, and worse fates than death await those who would take the red road of villainy.
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 Crusades, the papal schism and the Black Death all make appearances, as do the obligatory witches, priests and knights. In addition to robbing, torturing and murdering innocent peasants, the brothers dispatch demons and imitation popes while debating theology and the nature of mercy, e.g., finishing a victim off rather than leaving him for the crows. 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, but it may not be compelling enough to keep readers slogging along with the brothers' endless travels and copious letting of bodily fluids. (Nov.)
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November 15, 2009
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