The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart
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The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart

3.4 21
by Jesse Bullington
     
 

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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 naïve 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.

Overview

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 naïve 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers 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 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.)
Kirkus Reviews
Fantasy debut plunges viscerally into the depths of medieval nightmare. Hegel and Manfried Grossbart are sincere (albeit highly unconventional) Mariolaters as well as murderous grave robbers. The German siblings travel across 14th-century Europe toward Egypt, where they believe a multitude of rich infidel tombs await them. Along the way, they confront plague-bearing demons, assorted other evil creatures and treacherous locals. Gaining enemies wherever they go, they beguile their journey with heavy drinking and profanity-laced, profoundly heretical theological debate. A dementedly vengeful farmer whose family the Grossbarts slaughtered follows in dogged pursuit. 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, drenched with bodily fluids-blood, vomit, semen and plague bubo discharge, among others. Whether readers enjoy this amusing, skillfully distasteful experience depends on the strength of their stomachs and the extent of their tolerance for intimate acquaintance with unpleasant characters. Discomfiting, disgusting and at times as grotesquely pleasurable as picking at a scab.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316049344
Publisher:
Orbit
Publication date:
11/16/2009
Pages:
453
Sales rank:
309,056
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.12(d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Bullington spent the bulk of his formative years in rural Pennsylvania, the Netherlands, and Tallahassee, Florida. He is a folklore and outdoor enthusiast who holds a bachelor's degree in History and English Literature from Florida State University. He currently resides in Colorado, and his blog, as well as fan art, news and exclusive content can be found at www.jessebullington.com.

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The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
The_Alternative More than 1 year ago
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart Jesse Bullington Orbit 2009 Trade Paperback 464 pages ISBN: 0316049344 Its 14th century Medieval Europe and the most despicable human beings to have ever graced the pages of historical fiction are given life and a certain morbid sense of humor by debut author Jesse Bullington. Manfried and Hegel Grossbart are far and away the most evil-incarnate and foul-mouthed creatures to have ever spilled from a pen. Base, sacrilegious, and merciless these men are destined to go down in history as more loathsome than any modern day serial killer, tougher than Vlad the Impaler or a Tarantino character, and in possession of more cons than a flat-broke hustler just before the weekend. And if that alone isn't enough incentive to immediately go out and buy this book then how about this? The story overflows with well-written scenes of abject brutality, acts of unimaginable inhumanity, ill-reasoned religious doggerel, heavy-handed gratuitous violence, demonic possession, blood and guts, gore and grey matter, vengeance, retribution, indifference to the suffering of others, and a smattering of the European countryside which would, under normal circumstances, keep one interested in the exploits of the twin Grossbart's throughout an entire novel. But get this. everything I just mentioned occurs in the first few chapters!! The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is a quick and enjoyable read, full of wonderfully creative exposition, humorous banter, and dialogue loaded with swearing and cursing, both profane and blasphemous. But it also has a feel for the medieval way of life, how people lived and spoke and worshipped and is unlike any other historical fiction I've ever read. The Grossbart's tale will keep you turning pages and will make you miss a lot of sleep. Not only from reading late into the night to find out where the brothers quest next (and who or what they kill) but frightened by the shadows that the story conjures too. Plague survivors, pocket philosophers, demon killers, grave robbers, mad monks, demons, witches, and more join the Brothers Grossbart on their quest to "Gyptland" and the fabled graves of kings rumored to be held by their grandfather. But forewarned is forearmed, keep an eye on your purse and a hand on your dagger. Now that I've told you this much here's the kicker... As savage and inhumane as the Grossbart's are what pursues them is much, much worse. And in the end while we are not told of the Grossbart's demise we are left with the feeling that they get what's coming to them. Or so we would like to think. Truly inspired The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is just that, a sad and cautionary story of evil, vengeance, cruelty, and gore and, in my opinion, definitely worth every minute of your time. Mr. Bullington? I'd stand in line for more. (And yes, that's a hint.) 4 1/2 stars out of 5 Also, the cover art, a facsimile of a medieval woodcut by Hungarian artist Orosz István, is brilliant. The Alternative Southeast Wisconsin
Melhay More than 1 year ago
I have to start off with saying I do love the cover of this book. I thought it was cool being two pictures in one here. The writing was a little hard for me to get ahold of at the beginning of the book, but not long into the book I adjusted well. There are different point of views given in the book, but they are not separated out in the reading. In reading along I would come to a paragraph which in the first sentence changed views quickly, but the nice thing was in that first sentence of change it specified whos view you where changing to. With each of the characters I came across in the book there was a short story written into the book on them. A few of them told their story as a whole chapter of their own. I enjoyed these short stories. I felt more interested in the short stories at times than the story of the Grossbart brothers. The story of the Grossbart brothers dragged for me many times in the book. But the brothers had very unique views in the book. The Grossbart brothers had very distinctive views on Religion, Mercy, and life in general. The brothers seem to be the victims of their narrow view of Religion. Their view of Religion and life seemed to have a personal twist to it. If someone did not see things in the same light as the brothers they figured that person to be a heretic of the religious belief of the Virgin Mary and killed them. Through the book no one seemed to be able to stand the brothers for long, everyone either wanted to kill them or just be away from them. One thing I did like through the book was when a character left the brothers presence and went about their way you got a short blip on what happened to that person after they left. This gave a closing to me as a reader to all the characters in the story. If you do read this book be ready for some gruesome scenes and to come across twin brothers that could be the two men you love to hate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great gory book
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One of my desert island books
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1364 the grim brothers Hegel and Manfried Grossbart, knowing what flows in their ancestral blood, decide to join the family business so they can make a fortune robbing graves. Their plan is to keep robbing graves while they seek their family heaven the Gyptland crypts. On their quest across Europe and the Holy Land, they receive help from the Pope, the Crusades, and especially the Black Plague. Along their journey they kill peasants and demons with no regard to either species. Still they march on as grave-robbers and slayers of the innocent and the monstrous. However, as they argue theological dogma, the siblings dodging bodily liquids will learn death can be kinder than life. Not an easy read especially on a full stomach, this blood and guts and blood and vomit satirical medieval pilgrimage is a humorous over the top of the Alps fantasy thriller; just don't stay down wind from the slice and dice brothers. The grim brothers Grossbart are a gruesome pair with no redeeming qualities as their seemingly endless road trip is fueled by human liquid logistics, vividly described; sort of a 400 page story line version of the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knight keeps fighting as he loses his limbs. For select fans who relish a high body count as the brothers grim learn there is much worse out there than death. Harriet Klausner