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The Enterprise of Death

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,034 ratings  ·  122 reviews
As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 24th 2011 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jesse Bullington Yes, this is the French edition of The Enterprise of Death. It is translated by Laurent Philibert-Caillat, who also translated The Sad Tale of the Bro…moreYes, this is the French edition of The Enterprise of Death. It is translated by Laurent Philibert-Caillat, who also translated The Sad Tale of the Brother Grossbart.(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  1,034 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
So not only is our heroine a competent black woman, she's a competent gay black woman. She's also not the only gay or bisexual character in the book, and "alternate" sexuality is never portrayed as something weird or bad. Monique and Awa are probably the strongest characters in the entire book, and what's better is they don't wind up in a romance with each other. That's right, there are two lesbians in the book, but they're allowed to decide they're not romantically suited to one another and mov ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, e-books
5 Stars

Enterprise of Death is my cup of tea. I loved it…I had so much fun reading and eating up every word. I will remember the heroine Awa for a long time, she is something else. Bullington has created a really cool, dark, dirty, and not very nice world, where 3 young people are kidnapped by a horrible necromancer. I was already a Jesse Bullington fan as I thoroughly enjoyed his first novel The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart which I read a couple of years ago. This book would be a better la
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lesbian, taboo
I’d never heard of Jesse Bullington before stumbling across The Enterprise of Death, so I had the pleasure of entering into it with no expectations. To be honest, I’m not sure having heard of him previously (or having read The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart), would have made a lick of difference. This is the kind of book that beats you over the head, robs you of your expectations, and then forces you to watch as it tears those expectations to shreds, stomps upon them, and gleefully urinates ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, horror
It started brilliantly, then lost itself in a wash of emotional outpourings and muddled, confused and somehow unlikeable new characters. Book One was almost reminiscent of the Larry Niven Warlock series - fantasy that essentially creates the environment and the tools for a puzzle - and then leads you to the resolution of it using only those same rules. At its heart, its an intellectual exercise - how would we do this - and in Books Two and Three, The Enterprise of Death loses that focus.
How? H
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Not done reading yet, but this dude needs to read Strunk and White. The overuse of adjectives is driving me crazy. Just a very immature writer, technically speaking. A little lazy and self indulgent, too. And only four chapters in!

Alright, so i finished it. The guy is a talented writer, or could be with a more discerning pen. The book was just unnecessarily crass. The main character was sort of weak, enough so that i didn't really care what happened to her.

It read too much like a deadwood episo
Aaron Ingram
May 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010-2012
The jacket is what originally caught my eye - an intriguing cover, an interesting title, and good quality binding all lead me to hope that this would be worth a read. But once again, I'm reminded that you can't judge a book by it's cover.

I had high hopes for this one. The jacket description promised something of a rollicking adventure. Necromancy, swords, muskets, some comedy, and more! However, what was contained therein fell quite flat. Far too long with little or no pay-off, I wouldn't recom
S.B. Wright
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-review
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: death, fantasy, meta
Well then. I was worried that the book might be too dark for me. It might have given me a couple nightmares? But I stuck with it and thoroughly enjoyed its best moments. Though I must give credit to the death positive movement and my budding interest in medieval images for some of that enjoyment. Ain't no dance like a danse macabre! The resolution was on the "meh" side, but the plot and characters mostly worked for me. It helps to do some background reading on the historical figures, for the obv ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
For the most part, Enterprise of Death holds on to everything that made Brothers Grossbart great and improves tremendously on character building. The monsters are visceral, pungent horrors that feel medieval in a way that manages to sidestep the familiarity of the fantasy aesthetic. None of them match the witch, or the manticore, or the plague demon of Grossbart, and they’re a fair bit sparser, but they’re still just great. Bullington has a knack for potent textures and imagery that feel really ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Jesse Bullington's follow-up to The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart is just as energetic, muscular, horrific, violent, inventive, fast-paced and icky as his debut. What wrong-footed me slightly was the sympathetic lead characters when I had mentally braced myself for more in the way of entertainingly sociopathic monsters wreaking havoc on the innocent and the guilty and the spectacularly evil alike. Instead we get Awa, an ex-slave forced into an apprenticeship by a necromancer, as nasty a pie ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is historical fantasy like I’ve never read before. When a ship wreck leaves teenagers Awa, a Moorish slave, Omorose, her harem girl master, and Halim, a eunuch, stranded on what is probably the Rock of Gibralter, they are found, imprisoned, and trained by a necromancer. His attendants- including his mistress- are animated corpses ranging from the recently dead to skeletons and they prevent any escape. In the end, only Awa is left alive as the necromancer’s protégé. He leaves her for ten yea ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
c2011. Now, I love fantasy and history and I readily admit that I must be a closet ghoul - but this book? Nah, no way, huh?? It has such good reviews which invegieled me into ordering the book in the first place. The plot didn't put me off but the style of writing was not to my taste. I really did not like the attempt at regional accents by means of apostrophes or misspelling - but that is a personal dislike of mine - I find it hard to pass such a sentence without sounding it out to get an idea ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book... I wanted to like it so much! I still really like aspects of the plot. The subject matter is dark, sometimes darker than anything else I've read, but that isn't what bothered me. Every aspect of the description was appealing to me, honestly, which made the actual book all the more disappointing.

It was so tedious.

The writing is sometimes brilliant and sometimes funny, but so much of it is so wandering and tedious that it's painful to read. One sentence feels like an
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book to death!

I really enjoyed how uncomfortable this book made me feel and how I got to read about some truly different and difficult ideas. It was a truly mind expanding book, insofar as it put a whole slew of ideas in my head that I'd never encountered anywhere else before.

It's a very intellectually confronting book- hooray! Despite the generally grisly subject matter it's also a surprisingly tender book. I really came to love the main character, Awa, and I absolutely enjoyed r
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I blew through this book in 2-3 days. It was an amazing historical fantasy novel. The narrative voice and dialog are almost perfect and fit every character like a glove. The main protagonist's character arc is long and full of change, yet something that somehow seems "core" to her remains. I cared about what happened to her and the other two I would consider to be protagonists. They each had a unique voice and outlook that the author did a great job of "showing" rather than "telling" me. What vi ...more
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a ride! I did not expect to enjoy this book near as much as I did. I've read all of Jesse Bullington's books now and have to say this was probably his best in my opinion. It has everything- war, death, the undead, romance, completely believable and tangible characters that you genuinely care for and much more. Despite the few uncomfortable issues the story deals with (which is what great books do) I genuinely loved this story and am sad that it's over. I highly recommend this book if y ...more
Keri B.
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning of this book was FANTASTIC. It was horror such as I have never seen done: grotesque and nightmarish, but balanced with this almost cartoon-ish, tongue-in-cheek humor to take the edge off. The first 180 pages or so I would equate to a Grimm's fairy tale on crack: X-rated and twice as twisted, yet...magical with fun dalliances in historical re-imagining to boot.

The second half of the book, however, began losing traction pretty quickly. The tone completely changed and the timeline ju
I really did like this, and I feel like three stars might not be enough, but I also feel that four is too high. For all its uniqueness and humor, it was also really uneven. The author’s choice to have the narrative jump back and forth in time with no warning was distracting and took away from the experience of reading. Overall, this was a good read and I would seek out more work by this author, but there was definitely room for improvement.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Loved having portrayals of atypical characters which is largely absent from novels set in this time period. I give it five stars for that. Also liked the attention to historical detail. Middle section of the novel was the weakest for me. Bored me enough I considered skimming through to the end of the novel. Sex, alcohol, alcohol, sex. I'm not into "romance novels" whatsoever and that's what it read like to me, although a bit more crass. Picked up towards the end. A fun read. ...more
Well written book focused on loathsomeness

There is no disgusting topic this book didn't dwell upon - death, rot, corpses, vomit, feces, necrophilia, cannibalism, etc. Nor did I like the characters or care about how the plot resolved. It is well written and quite original but I'm not reading anything else by this author.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
I had trouble getting into this one, but it slowly grew on me and I was totally hooked by the end. The ending seemed a bit rushed and made me think some of that fol-de-rol in the middle could have been eliminated and replaced with a more fleshed-out ending, but overall an enjoyable read that left me with lots of actual history tidbits to explore and enjoy.
Chris Bartholomew
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A good writer and a good story. Following a young women captured by a necromancer and trained in the arts. Trained and released to the wider world she must find a way to release herself from his grip. A bawdy tale of the living the half living, the sometimes living and the dead. The author has a unique way of making something gross, grosser and something expected a bit more unexpected.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you can stand the gritty parts, the story of personal growth and mistakes made through naivete is fantastic. The inclusion of real historical people added fun flavor, since elements of what made them unique in real life made those people believable characters in the setting.
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jesse Bullington is a talented author who cleverly injects relatable humor into a very dark tale. He certainly paints a masterful picture, so long as you're not put off by morbid themes. It could be a bit too explicit for some. ...more
Kisbali Tamás
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A hilarious (and hilariously gross) period horror. I loved how necromancy is depicted.
Louis Gaty
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sooo good....!!
Ben Brackett
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
while more fanciful it was less fun then his other books as making characters actual heros rather than bastards didn't feel genuine at all ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great novel which takes an interesting approach on necromancy, death and life.
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Author. Dream Weaver. Visionary. Plus Actor. So long as you're cool with discovering just how dull I really am, I welcome adds here, on FB, LJ etc.

My novels The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart and The Enterprise of Death are available in a variety of languages. I have it on admittedly shaky authority that they are charming. My third novel, The Folly of the World, will be released in December of

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“Where are you going?"
"Home," Awa said numbly, getting up and pushing open the door.
"As the devil told the sinner," the necromancer called after her, "you ARE home.”
More quotes…