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21 Reviews
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mecky business
Written in the form of a medieval folktale compiled from various manuscripts and accounts, The Sad Tale recounts the true fate of the Grossbart Brothers, Manfried and Hegel, two of the meanest villains central Europe has ever seen. Their family background of petty thieves and graverobbers is nothing to be proud of, but having been abandoned by the uncle who brought them...
Published on 30 Dec. 2009 by Keris Nine

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A picaresque fantasy folklore tale
This is a kind of picaresque fantasy folklore tale about the brothers Grossbart, who enjoy a gallop across Europe to Gyptland to discover wealth in the pyramids. Their journey starts with slaughter and carries on with violence after violence for the whole four hundred odd pages. There is a great deal of brutality, an extraordinary wealth of bad language, a fixation on...
Published on 1 Sept. 2012 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A picaresque fantasy folklore tale, 1 Sept. 2012
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
This is a kind of picaresque fantasy folklore tale about the brothers Grossbart, who enjoy a gallop across Europe to Gyptland to discover wealth in the pyramids. Their journey starts with slaughter and carries on with violence after violence for the whole four hundred odd pages. There is a great deal of brutality, an extraordinary wealth of bad language, a fixation on bodily fluids and a great deal of focus on demons dripping pus. Other than that it is a fairly straight forward quest style novel, but without any charm, humour or much plot to speak of. The characters are singularly repellant, the narration is highly repetitive and the story, such as it was, really did not work for me at all.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What's the fuss all about???, 9 Dec. 2011
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D. W. Gill-collis "kiwidave" (The Real World) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
Personally I didn't think this was particularly gross, or for that matter particularly entertaining. It has it's moments but unfortunately I have found that I keep putting this book down simply because it's not really all that good a read.

Personally I would recommend Memoirs of A Gnostic Dwarf (David Madsen) , which is the only book I can think of to compare this to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars tantalising.....best book I've read in a long time, 9 April 2014
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A brilliant tale of two repulsive individuals and all the nasty things that happen to and around them. If you like good vs evil, or evil vs 'worse'!, you will love it.
Brilliantly detailed characters with beautifully described scenery. You should read The Enterprise of Death as well.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars German Lore never had it so good., 31 Oct. 2009
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Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
As a huge reader of up and coming authors alongside authors seeking to make a mark, they have to do something special to get their names not only known but promoted. So, when this offering landed I was attracted instantly to the image on the cover that had that old world woodcut feeling. What unfurled within blended the best of medieval folklore with magic alongside characters that are so evil that you really look forward to seeing them get their comeuppance. Whilst I avoided the news about the battle of the publishers you can see why it got such acclaim as it not only kept me reading but also allowed me to have a stormy night of reading pleasure tucked up in my duvet as the heavens torrentially rained down. If you want spartan description, cracking prose and a tale with the stuff of legends then this is going to be a must own. Great stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like, 13 May 2013
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M. GLOWALA-SLUPINSKI (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
Very interesting book about very interesting times. Sort of educating adventures in short words. Demons and devils involved altogether with a mermaid.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and brave historical fantasy that didn't quite work for me, 20 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
It's 1364, when life was nasty, brutish and short and Europe was filled with horrors from plague and witchcraft to murder and demon raising. Hegel and Manfried Grossbart are brutal men in a brutal world. Murderers and grave-robbers with a strange loyalty to the Virgin Mary, their story begins with the attempted robbery of a turnip farmer's goods that swiftly leads to violent murder and a journey across Europe that takes in some of the worst things that the Medieval world had to offer.

A strange mix of historical fantasy and academic commentary, Jesse Bullington's debut novel is an unusual read that takes the anti-hero idea and really runs with it.

I liked the fact that it's very different from other historical fantasies that I've read and Bullington has a good feel for period. The Grossbart's disdain for priests and Jesus stands in marked contrast to their devotion to the Virgin and they justify their actions through their twisted faith.

Although it takes a long time for the fantasy and horror elements to kick in, when they do, they're handled with a deft touch. My favourite scenes in the book are those set in a small abbey town that initially appears to have been affected by plague but which the characters slowly discover has been touched by something more evil.

I also liked the way that Bullington frames the narration as an academic paper revisiting a Medieval legend. This gives more authority to the omniscient voice and also enables Bullington to comment on the story's events, which gives them an additional layer.

Where it fell down for me was due to the Grossbarts being so fundamentally unlikeable. While they see themselves as men driven to horrific actions by circumstance and/or the wrongs perpetrated on them by others, they do in fact control their destiny and their sorrows result from their actions. There are some attempts to redeem them emotionally, particularly through their devotion to each other, but these were too sparse to change my opinion. In addition, I found the fact that the story is structured as a road trip meant that the events felt rather sporadic and loosely linked and there were long periods where nothing happened, dulling the pace.

Ultimately, it's a brave attempt at doing something different but one that ultimately doesn't quite come off. Nevertheless, I look forward to reading what Bullington does next.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Writings of a particularly nasty adolescent, 25 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
Being a huge fan of Karen Maitlands work and having read reviews comparing this work to Maitlands, I was eager to give it a go. Yes, I also read the critical reviews but I always like to form my own opinion too, particularly if a work sounds appealing.

Well, my quick tip for anyone thinking along the same lines is to read the critical reviews and believe them. Whereas Maitlands work can be gruesome, there is a point to it. The medieval times were rough and, in Maitlands books, you are transported back to this time period with the sounds, smell, vocabulary and kept enthralled with the intricate tales she weaves.

Despite the title of the book, there isn't any tale in the Grossbart ravings. Contrary to Maitland, you will be presented with a book whose only reason for being set in medieval times is a thin excuse to be vile. It is the ravings of a nasty teenage boy without the intelligence to pull off anything worth reading for, despite the lengthy bibliography, I am at a loss to glean anything learned from the research. It certainly wasn't language. The term 'fit' (to denote attractiveness of a female as opposed to physical health), 'kicking ass' and other such modern American slang probably were not used in medieval times - I'm no expert so don't quote me. Poor grammar throughout irritated me and I got the feeling the book hadn't even been proof read.

Comparing this to Karen Maitland is an insult to the author, its like comparing fillet steak to the nastiest fast food burger. It only managed to achieved 2 stars instead of 1 star as I feel the extent of my disappointment was partly due to the comparisons made and the more appreciate reviews I have read, and I did see it through to the end. Unfortunately.
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 28 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
Utter rubbish with no redeeming features whatsoever. Save your money.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yuck, 26 Oct. 2010
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Mr. B. J. Jones "akita2020" (Blackpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
I have to agree with Munchkin's review. This was totally awful. The characters were repulsive and the story stumbled along from one gory killing to another. It really felt like the work of a nasty little boy and I could find nothing at all to make me break into a smile. I have read in other reviews that if you liked Karen Maitland's books then you'd like this one. I disagree. Karen Maitland's books are favourites of mine. This book cannot compare and has nothing to recommend it save a clever drawing on the cover.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is a great story, 31 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart (Paperback)
i got this book not knowing what to really expect.i loved every word. it has everything you could want brotherly love witches dark magic.just read it
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The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart
The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington (Paperback - 5 Nov. 2009)
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