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The Enterprise of Death is a historical fantasy novel by Jesse Bullington, published in 2011. It recounts the journeys of Awa, a lesbian Moor necromancer, through an irreverently portrayed 16th-century Europe, helped by friends who include historical figures such as the polymath Paracelsus and the artist-mercenary Niklaus Manuel.

The Enterprise of Death
The Enterprise of Death.jpg
AuthorJesse Bullington
GenreHistorical fantasy
PublisherOrbit Books
Publication date
24 March 2011


The story follows the life of Awa, a lesbian Moor slave girl, who is captured near early 16th-century Granada by a powerful necromancer. After several years of tormented apprenticeship, Awa finally manages to kill the necromancer, only for her to discover this to be a key element of the necromancer's plan to reincarnate himself in her young body after a decade has passed. Leaving Andalusia on a search for the necromancer's grimoire, she is caught on the order of the overzealous inquisitor Kahlert manipulated by a shadow from her past, her undead ex-lover Omorose. Rather luckily, she is freed by artist-turned-mercenary Niklaus Manuel Deutsch of Bern, with whom she strikes up an improbable friendship, soon followed by further friends in the form of polymath Paracelsus and the lesbian weaponsmith Monique. Though Awa settles down in Monique's brothel in Paris for a while, making good use of her magical healing talents and falling in love with the plucky prostitute Chloé, her impending doom makes her resume her search for the necromancer's grimoire. Further encounters with Kahlert and Omorose and a sect of vampires in the Schwarzwald as well as Chloé's death bring her close to desperation. Shortly before running out of time, however, she - with help from Manuel, Monique and Paracelsus - manages to turn the spirits of the casualties of the Battle of Bicocca against the necromancer's spirit, banishing him forever and thereby escaping his curse.


The novel was well received by critics. The A.V. Club praised it as "beautifully balancing putridity, profanity, and poignancy",[1] and Publishers Weekly appreciated its "relentless dark humor blended with occasional tragedy".[2] The Wall Street Journal's reviewer characterized the novel as "macabre, gruesome, foul-mouthed and much more complex than the usual vampire-and-zombie routine".[3] In January 2012, it was named a finalist for the 2011 Kitschies Red Tentacle award.[4]


  1. ^ Heller, Jason (31 March 2011). "The Enterprise Of Death". A.V. Club. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  2. ^ "The Enterprise of Death". Publishers Weekly. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  3. ^ Shippey, Tom (16 April 2011). "The Enterprise of Death". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  4. ^ "The Kitschies: 2011 Finalists". Pornokitsch. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.