Book Review: The Enterprise of Death

March 18, 2011 Books, Reading, Reviews 1 ★★

Book Review: The Enterprise of DeathThe Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington
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 somewhere on the war-torn continent.She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2011-03-24
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Speculative Fiction
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Find this book on Goodreads
This book contains potentially triggering material. You can find details of potential triggers at the end of this review.


Have you ever read a book and thought, “Wow, I was not the right audience for this!”? That’s how I feel about The Enterprise of Death. I thought it would be my kind of book; I love historical fantasy, particularly the non-medieval kind, and horror (as you can see from all my zombie posts). So when I heard Enterprise of Death was set during the Spanish Inquisition and starred a necromancer, I was immediately intrigued.

The author, Jesse Bullington, opens the book by describing the Moors being forcibly evicted from Spain. He’s got a very unique writing style, heaped with quirky descriptions. At this point, am still excited but then things start to get weird. Not just in a graphic-depiction-of-cannibalism way but also in a story-radomly-told-out-of-order-to-create-artificial-tension kind of way.

By the time I am a quarter finished, I think, “It must get better, right?” Well it does and it doesn’t. Two of the main characters, Manuel and Awa, are interesting and I do root for them. But the author gets caught up in graphic descriptions of sexuality and necromancy, and colorful dialog. He seems to neglect the forest for the trees.

Of course, I love great stories so narrative is important to me. If you love colorful depictions of lesbian sex and necrophilia (both separate and at the same time) then this is the book for you.


Reviews Elsewhere
Fantasy Book Critic: The Enterprise of Death
Publishers Weekly: Enterprise of Death
SFFMeta: Enterprise of Death