The Bastard's Grimoire
by Joseph Hirsch
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Pub Date 11 Jul 2016 | Archive Date 28 Sep 2016
Once upon a time an evil wizard waved his wand over a sullen wretch named Casper Namlos. This wizard recited a bit of the biblical vulgate backwards, entreating the lad to be fruitful and multiply. And so the boy obeyed the magician's spell, wandering the land and sowing his demon seed whenever and wherever he could, until parts of the kingdom lay in ruins, while the rest of the realm waited in terror for that final day when the boy was prophesied to bring forth the Great Beast to stalk the land. Now the only thing keeping Satan from reigning on Earth is another young lad who appears laughably weak compared to the demon hordes.
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“Mr. Hirsch is a writer of uncommon talent.” –Tom Kakonis, award-winning author of Criss Cross and Treasure Coast
“Joseph Hirsch is scary good.” – Jed Ayres, author of Peckerwood
“One of my favorite writers currently working.” –Scott Phillips, author of the national bestseller, The Ice Harvest
“I'm not a huge one for fantasy for the most part, but I do enjoy it from time to time…and I really dug this one. Seriously nice stuff, easily convinced me to read the kind of story I normally don't choose to read.” –David S. Atkinson, author of Not Quite so Stories
"The Bastard's Grimoire immediately draws the reader into a pseudo-realistic middle-ages Germany, so vivid, that even the fantasy elements earn their place in history. Hirsch taps into all the senses with his unabashed descriptions and writing style. The story is chock full of historic and literary merit, but first and foremost it is a fun, colorful, and erotic adventure 'down the Mosel'.” –Tina Amiri, Whatever The Impulse
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
I have read a lot of fantasy books, and I don't shy away from grisly battles or violence, but generally I like some storytelling between the violence and the violence needs to actually advance the story. I had to give up on this book though because it seems to be nothing but gratuitous violence and graphic rape scenes. The whole mission of one of the book's protagonists is to literally just go around violently raping women so they spawn demons. The scenes in-between the rapes consist of men thinking about rape, killing or thinking about killing, and a giant thinking about and acting on eating people. I debated giving this book one or two stars, and I gave it two because it is well written, but the content leaves a whole lot to be desired.
I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this before! The larger story was incredibly cool, and I wish everyone could read a distilled version of it. I fear the violence (which wasn't too over the top), and the graphic, and sometimes very, very strange sex scenes, might put people off.
It was great fun to read, would happily buy a copy for a few of my friends.
From the first chapter I knew this book would exceed my expectations. This book is rich in fantasy, gore, and sex. It is told from multiple perspectives with an adult style that was shocking, at first. I personally do not enjoy reading countless fantasy tales that surround a young adult’s angst ridden quest of self-discovery. That being said, this was exactly one of the story lines in the book! However, the main difference is that the book is written for adults and the young adult’s quest is merely one storyline in an intricate web of others. This style change was refreshing and realistic. The world is full of fear, hatred, violence, and injustice. This story does not shy away from describing, sometimes in depth, the gore and inequality.
Overall, the plot is complex with elements of magic and mystery. The characters are funny, quirky, and nuanced. They are rich with history, lore, and unanswered questions. The ending was abrupt, I was convinced that this book would be a series, but the conclusion wrapped up quickly at the end. Within this colorful world, full of unusual under dogs was a hodge podge of theology, religion, and enchantment. I am unaware of many religious references and there were various moments when I became lost in the allusions. The world in the story is one where authority should not be trusted and the possibility of justice remains. The story teaches you to never underestimate someone’s potential.
I didn't quite know what to expect from this fantasy novel, but really liked the story. It starts out as a series of stories centering on a different character- a band of pillaging pirates who meet their match in a tower assault, a dwarf seeking a giantess in a dragon cave, a sinister archbishop who lords it over his community and hides dark secrets, a bastard who serves in an abbey/brothel.
We don't meet the "bastard" till a few chapters in, and by that time I had no idea how each of the stories fit together. However, they were each enjoyable in their own right, as a sort of "Grimm's fairy tales" collection. Each story is dark, and explicit sexual language and encounters are throughout the novel. Of course, when you see the word Grimoire, you know it's going to be dark, after all. However, in each tale their is a bit of light that peeks through, and as the disparate elements come together, it reaches a very satisfying conclusion.
Be aware that sex of all kinds is at the forefront of almost every chapter, which is not really my thing, but I really enjoyed how the novel wove characters and legends of several different cultures' mythos, as well as magic and religion, into a cohesive, entertaining whole.Recommended.
A strange but compelling book. It had a good story with some believably horrible villains and flawed heroes but spoiled for me by being rather graphically and weirdly sexual in places for no good reason or conceivable plot enhancement.
This is a very strong narrative of medieval lore couched in archaic language with blood, gore, grotesque sex, carnage, buggery and wizardly mayhem. The author walks across your imagination with the detritus of castle privies. It is fascinatingly well done but clearly for the “mature” reader.
I had some idea about what is going to come out of this book, but God, I never expected it to be that Good. I haven't read anything else by Hirsch, but now I definitely have to, because he blew my mind! Well written with some gritty depictions of Medieval life, scenes of gratuitous violence, and the weird and perverted sex acts what more can a girl ask for?!
A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written historical fiction erotic fantasy book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a huge set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great erotic fantasy movie, animated cartoon, or better yet a paid-per-view mini TV series. To be continued?
This is a very strong narrative of medieval lore couched in archaic language with blood, gore, grotesque sex, carnage, buggery and wizardly mayhem. The author walks across your imagination with the detritus of castle privies. It is fascinatingly well done but clearly for the “mature” reader".
Fantasy is also an interesting genre to pick specially when the reader takes a chance with an author and his work for the first time. For me, this book was really beyond what I expecting in a positive way.
This is definitely a book for mature public. From the fantasy, the sex scenes, the death scenes and the gore it shows the darkest and the most violent reality of the world. Joseph Hirsch didn't hold anything back on this book.
The medieval environment and atmosphere with the old English language was definitely one of the things that got some so much into the story in the beginning. Not only that but Hirsch doesn't make the reader wait too long before the action starts which for me is perfect since I'm an impatient reader.
I have to admit that in some parts I had to take a break since some of the scenes got to me, but I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it.
But again, definitely needs to be pointed out that it's for mature public.
Graphic and violent, full of fantasy and magic. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones this may be for you!
Try to imagine a mixture of Rabelais, S. Clay Wilson (look him up!), and Mark Lawrence - yeah, I know, a strange one, but this is a strange book indeed. Set in a devil-beset mythical Northern Europe, this is the story of a Christian convert dwarf, a bastard youth, and a voluptuous witch-whore, versus a satanic Archbishop, a demon-possessed rapist, and a renegade monk turned black magician. The opening chapters are not for the squeamish - sex and violence doesn't begin to cover it, but they certainly gets the reader's attention.
The quest by the dwarf, Roderick, and Martin the Bastard is straightforward enough in its realisation, but full of diverting grotesqueries and a mythology largely of the author's own making. Indeed, there is much originality in this world - including Hirsch's own devil-may-care way with language wherein he endows words with meaning based more on their sounds than any etymology - priests reading "missiles" for God's sake - not to mention what he does to the Germanic phrases employed from time to time by his protagonists. However, I suspended pedantry as soon as I realised I was enjoying myself thoroughly. The magnificently endowed Lyudmila, and Martin's obssessive heroine-worship, leaven the darkness of the main plot and inject notes of humour - as well as a desire that the publisher employ an illustrator!
All in all, tremendous, larger-than-life fun and games, but not, I repeat, for the squeamish!
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