variety exemplified by Warhammer fantasy, then I’ve got a couple of book recommendations for you. Jesse Bullington’s two (standalone) historical fantasy novels are just the sort of grubby, violent, and irreverent stories you’ve been looking for.
I’ve mentioned The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart before. It’s probably the more humorous of the two and maybe the most violent—though that’s a close call. Bullington’s latest effort, The Enterprise of Death has a bit more sympathy for its protagonists perhaps but doesn’t lose the qualities that made Brothers Grossbart entertaining.
Set in 15th Century Europe, The Enterprise of Death concerns a necromancer’s apprentice on the run from her evil master, and the friends she makes along the way—which include real historical figures mercenary/artist Niklaus Manuel Deustch and drunken eccentric Paracelsus. There’s plenty of corpse-reviving, cannibalism, witch-hunters, prostitutes, and pox along the way.
Sometimes Bullington hews close to history: there’s a monstrous voice-mimicking hyena that comes right out of Pliny. Other times, he goes his own way, like with his interesting take on vampires.
Bullington’s gritty and ironic novels are a nice palate cleanser from typical secondary world fantasies with protagonists with heroic destinies going about saving the world—and they don’t involve a multiple volume commitment.
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