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Mary Gentle

mary gentle reviews(1956- )
Mary Gentle has written eight books that have won critical acclaim from science fiction and fantasy authors and critics alike. She’s completed two Master degrees and is an expert sword-fighter. Her home resides in England. Gentle also writes erotica under the name Roxanne Morgan.

Ilario

Ilario — (2006-2007) Publisher: Ilario is born hermaphrodite, a true genetic chimera. Found abandoned on the steps of a chapel of the Green Christ, in one of the minor Iberian kingdoms, on a freezing snowy night, Ilario is fostered by Federico, an impoverished Iberian noble, who plans to gift Ilario to the king, hoping to gain favour at court. At the age of 15, Ilario joins King Roderigo as the King’s Freak, but while learning the ways of the court, Illario has another lesson to study: abandonment and betrayal. For Rosamunda, Ilario’s birth mother, has arrived — and the secret of Ilario’s shameful birth must be kept hidden, lest the resulting scandal ruin Rosamunda’s husband, Videric, the king’s most powerful advisor. When Ilario is freed by the king, he/she is summoned by Rosamunda. And when her attempt to murder her child fails, Rosamunda whispers ‘Run… ‘ And Ilario does… across the Mediterranean, to Carthage.

mary gentle ilario review the lion's eyemary gentle ilario review the stone golem

Ilario: Fantasy with a heart and a mind

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Ilario by Mary Gentle

For pure storytelling, don’t-want-to-stop-reading-it fun, Mary Gentle’s two Ilario books, Ilario: The Lion's Eye: A Story of the First History, Book One and Ilario: The Stone Golem: A Story of the First History, Book Two, are among the best I’ve read. I lived in Gentle’s world even when I wasn’t actively reading the books. I dreamt of her Mediterranean Renaissance. I fretted about Ilario. I couldn’t wait to get back to the books when I’d set them down. Gentle’s worldbuilding is extraordinary, her characters are complete individuals, and her plot compelling. This is fantasy with a heart and a mind.

Ilario is a hermaphrodite in every possible sense of the word. He (I shall refer to him as “he” for the sake of conveni... Read More

Ash: A Secret History: One of the most important books in the genre

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Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle

I have long had a debate in my mind about the place of the woman warrior in fiction, particularly the type most often presented in epic fantasy/sword & sorcery. Robert E. HowardJoe AbercrombieGeorge R.R. MartinDavid Gemmell, and Tobias Buckell, for example, have all included the undaunted, sword-wielding, occasionally bra-defying warrioresses in their tales of adventure and battle. But in these stories, the women are most often just men with breasts. A distracting veneer i... Read More

Steampunk: Quick entertaining education on the subgenre du jour

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Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

Steampunk is an anthology of, well, steampunk stories, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. If you hurry, you can still get to this first anthology before the second one, Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, appears in mid November. Based on the quality of the stories in this collection, I heartily recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve been a bit bemused (or possibly amused) by all the people wearing odd Victorian costumes at SFF conventions nowadays, or if you have at best a vague idea of what steampunk exactly entails. If you’re one of those people who’s interested in, but not entirely sure about, the new hot subgenre du jour (like me, prior to reading Steampunk), this anthology is here to take you by the hand and give you a quick, entertaining educatio... Read More

More books by Mary Gentle

Golden Witchbreed — (1983-1987) Publisher: Enter Lynne Christie, envoy of Earth Dominion. Her mission: to establish first contact with Orthe’s government and evaluate Orthe’s readiness for further Dominion relations, a mission delayed mysteriously by her predecessor’s untimely death upon the Inner Sea.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsMary Gentle 1. Golden Witchbreed 2. Ancient Light


Rat Lords — (1990-1994) Publisher: In a nameless city situated somewhere between the past and the future, the wicked Rat Lords rule over their human slaves, and only Prince Lucas of Candover and Zari have what it takes to battle them.

mary gentle rat lords rats and gargoyles reviewmary gentle rat lords the architecture of desire review


Stand-alone novels:

mary gentle a hawk in silver reviewA Hawk in Silver — (1977) Young adult. Publisher: Teenaged Holly finds a strange coin which leads her and her friend Chris into strange adventures with the magical people of the Hollow Hills.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Black Opera  — (2012) Publisher: Naples, the 19th Century. In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, holy music has power. Under the auspices of the Church, the Sung Mass can bring about actual miracles like healing the sick or raising the dead. But some believe that the musicodramma of grand opera can also work magic by channeling powerful emotions into something sublime. Now the Prince’s Men, a secret society, hope to stage their own black opera to empower the Devil himself – and change Creation for the better! Conrad Scalese is a struggling librettist whose latest opera has landed him in trouble with the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Rescued by King Ferdinand II, Conrad finds himself recruited to write and stage a counter opera that will, hopefully, cancel out the apocalyptic threat of the black opera, provided the Prince’s Men, and their spies and saboteurs, don’t get to him first. And he only has six weeks to do it…


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