The year is 1364. Hungry creatures stalk the dark woods of medieval Europe, and both sea and sky teem with unspeakable horrors. There is no foulness, however, no witch nor demon, to rival the grave-robbing twins Hegel and Manfried Grossbart. This is their tale, sad but true.
"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." (Booklist)
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Best Listen Since Eco's Baudolino
Funny Epic Tragedy
The characters managed to stay just this side of unbelievable. The Grossbarts, in particular, managed to somehow be ridiculous and yet cogent at times. Being an amateur medievalist myself, I always enjoy tales set in those times, but especially when the authors seem to capture the mind of the medieval, without apology.
The Brothers have a twisted but surprisingly consistent theological bent that really drives them and the story along. Bullington manages to make them seem sincere in their beliefs, at times even likable, so that you have to remind yourself (or Bullington does it for you) that they are terribly depraved.
In the longer parts of their travels, he uses clever techniques to give you a sense of the monotony and duration without making the story itself feel that way. He doesn't shy away from telling the tale in all its grotesquerie, and it adds a bit of realism to an otherwise fantastical story.
And to end with the beginning, the introduction in itself was quite amusing and does a fine job of getting you in the right frame of mind for the tale to come.
His highly imaginative voices really bring the characters to life; I doubt they'd be so memorable without his reading. Every so often I would wonder just how much of the reading was his interpretation and how much was actually in the text.
The book that probably shouldn't be made into a film.
Very well written.