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Mary Gentle


1610: A Sundial in a Grave

Mary Gentle

Valentin Rochefort, professional duellist and down-at-heels aristocrat, arranges the assassination of Henri IV, King of France. Fleeing from the consequences, he makes for England, on the way picking up two companions - a young boy, Dariole, and a ship-wrecked 'demon'. Dariole is discovered first to be a girl, and then to be Rochefort's sister; the 'demon' is Tanaka Saburo, a Japanese samurai on ambassadorial mission to England from the Shogun; and Rochefort is found by a pack of Hermetic mages and conspirators, who want him to arrange the same thing for King James I/VI of England as he did for Henri of France.

Rochefort is blackmailed into arranging the death of King James at the performance of a Hermetic magic play. Meanwhile, Dariole is busy making forays into Shakespeare's theatre as England's first (and worst) female actor ...1610 really isn't Rochefort's year - And as the play's performance and the assassination approach, Rochefort's dreams of the future that may spring from this crucial year grow increasingly stranger and more contradictory. He realises he must act - but, how? What is the right choice? And how much of the future will depend on what he does?

Cartomancy

Mary Gentle

Mary Gentle is one of Britain's most outstanding writers of imaginative fiction, able to move seamlessly from science fiction to fantasy within the same story. Following on from the success of ASH, 1610: A SUNDIAL IN A GRAVE and the omnibus volumes WHITE CROW and ORTHE, comes CARTOMANCY, the definitive collection of Mary Gentle's short fiction. CARTOMANCY includes the stories from SOLDIERS AND SCHOLARS as well as a number of tales previously unpublished in book form, all with new afterwords and topped and tailed with a specially revised version of her split story 'Cartomancy'.

Table of Contents:

  • Cartomancy: An Introduction
  • The Logistics of Carthage
  • Kitsune
  • The Road to Jerusalem
  • Ore's Drift
  • The Tarot Dice
  • The Harvest of Wolves
  • Anukazi's Daughter
  • What God Abandoned
  • The Pits Beneath the World
  • Cast a Long Shadow
  • A Sun in the Attic
  • A Shadow under the Sea
  • Human Waste
  • Cartomancy: Conclusion

Grunts!

Mary Gentle

What is an orc?

An orc is an 18 stone fighting machine, made of muscle, hide, talon and tusk, with a villainous disposition and a mean sense of humour. And, of course, an orc is a poor dumb grunt - the much abused foot soldier of the Evil Horde of Darkness.

The usual last battle of Good against Evil is about to begin. Orc Captain Ashnak and his war-band know exactly what they can expect. The forces of Light are outnumbered, full of headstrong heroes devoid of tactics - but the Light's still going to win. Orcs - the sword fodder in the front line - will die by the thousands.

Life's a bitch.

The Black Opera

Mary Gentle

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 the 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 counteropera 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.

Worlds That Weren't

Harry Turtledove
Walter Jon Williams
Mary Gentle
S. M. Stirling

Four award-winning authors. Four amazing alternate histories.

In this collection of novellas, four masters of alternate history turn back time, twisting the facts with four excursions into what might have been.

Bestselling author Harry Turtledove imagines a different fate for Socrates (now Sokrates); S. M. Stirling envisions life "in the wilds of a re-barbarized Texas" after asteroids strike the earth in the 19th century; Sidewise winner Mary Gentle contributes a story of love (and pigs) set in the mid-15th century, as European mercenaries prepare to sack a Gothic Carthage; and Nebula nominee Walter Jon Williams pens a tale of Nietzsche intervening in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Table of Contents:

  • The Daimon - novella by Harry Turtledove
  • The Real History Behind "The Daimon" - essay by Harry Turtledove
  • Shikari in Galveston - novella by S. M. Stirling
  • Why Then, There - essay by S. M. Stirling
  • The Logistics of Carthage - novella by Mary Gentle
  • 1477 and All That - essay by Mary Gentle
  • The Last Ride of German Freddie - novella by Walter Jon Williams
  • Afterword to "The Last Ride of German Freddie" - essay by Walter Jon Williams

Orthe: Chronicles of Carrick V

Golden Witchbreed

Mary Gentle

The distant world of Orthe is littered with spectacular remnants of the Golden Empire, an ancient and technologically advanced civilisation extinct for two thousand years. Now their Orthean descendants have turned away from the technology which nearly destroyed them, and from their ancestors, the Golden Witchbreed. Then Earth envoy Lynne de Lisle Christie arrives and, all too quickly, finds herself the victim of intrigue and conspiracy, embroiled in a conflict that threatens to explode into war - and which puts her own life in deadly peril ..

Golden Witchbreed

Golden Witchbreed: Book 1

Mary Gentle

Orthe---half-civilized, half-barbaric, home to human-like beings who live and die by the code of the sword. Earth envoy Lynne Christie has been sent here to establish contact and to determine whether this is a world worth developing. But first Christie must come to understand that human-like is not and never can be human, and that not even Orthe's leaders can stop the spread of rumors about her, dark whisperings that could cost Christie her life.

And on a goodwill tour to the outlying provinces, these evil rumors turn to deadly accusations. Christie is no off-worlder, Church officials charge: she is a treacherous and cunning descendant of Orthe's legendary Golden Witchbreed---the cruel, ruthless race that once enslaved the whole planet.

Suddenly Christie finds herself a hunted fugitive on an alien world, where friend and foe alike may prove her executioners. And her only chance of survival lies in saving Orthe itself from a menace older than time...

Ancient Light

Golden Witchbreed: Book 2

Mary Gentle

This gracefully written sequel to Golden Witchbreed powerfully depicts the impact of a high-technology civilization on a decaying planet. Ten years after having served as Earth's first envoy to Orthe, which is struggling to survive after a planetwide holocaust millennia ago, Lynne de Lisle Christie returns there as an advisor to PanOceania, one of Earth's giant multinational companies, which is seeking to discover the technological secrets of the Goldens, the ruling race that had destroyed itself while almost obliterating Orthe. Christie seeks to help the native people, some of whom have been her friends, some her enemies, but all closely bound in her memories and loyalties. Instigated by the last of the Golden, a madwoman seeking domination, war between the poor and starving hiyeks of the Desert Coast and the land-loving telestres of the north is aggravated by smuggled high-tech weapons. Christie, while holding a dreadful secret from the Orthe's past, attempts to mediate. Gentle creates moving, different, yet recognizable societies and people that catch the reader's emotions as they struggle to save themselves.

Ilario: The Lion's Eye

Ilario

Mary Gentle

Abandoned and alone, the fosterling Ilario grows up as the King's Freak, surrounded by all the pomp, intrigue, and danger of the Iberian court. Fleeing a failed treacherous attack, Ilario crosses the sea to Carthage, where the mysterious Penitence shrouds the sky in darkness. There, a strange and awful destiny awaits the would-be painter, one that spans continents and kingdoms.

White Crow

Ratlords

Mary Gentle

The White Crow, one-time Soldier-Scholar of the Invisible College and a practioner of Hermetic science and magic, and Baltazar Casaubon, architect and lover, a man not too particular about his personal hygiene, are two of Mary Gentle's finest creations. The worlds they stride across range from the Renaissance city where aristocratic rats rule the human servant class, to a near-future London where chaos is come again. They are two of the most powerful players in the games of magic and politics, and the most colourful. This volume brings together three brilliantly imaginative, powerful and disturbing tales - Rats and Gargoyles, The Architecture of Desire and Left to His Own Devices - and the linked short fiction and confirms Mary Gentle as one of the foremost writers of dark and visionary fantasy.

Rats and Gargoyles

Ratlords: Book 1

Mary Gentle

In a terraced city at the heart of the world, humans are mere underlings of the arrogant Rat-Lords. Men and women are confined to certain districts of the city, while the Rats are restricted to others by their own masters, the Decans. Incarnate in living rock, the thirty-six Lords of Heaven and Hell impose their divine will over Rats and humans alike through gargoyle acolytes, who in their hundreds of thousands wait to swoop down and devour any who oppose the god-daemons.

And opposition is growing.... For generations uncounted, human slaves were forced to build the mountainous Fane, but now the long-held dream of raising their own lost Temple has spurred the builders to revolt. Forbidden the knowledge to build for themselves, they plot to uncover the Masonic wisdom that has been lost for millennia - secrets that will free them from their rulers once and for all. But they need access to parts of the city denied them, and so they strike a deal with the Rat-Priest Plessiez, who has a grand scheme of his own.

Into this conspiracy step Prince Lucas of Candover, a student at the University of Crime, and no man's slave; Zari, a young Kadayan woman who is destined to become the living Memory of all that follows; and the White Crow, a woman whose powers are far greater than anyone suspects.

The Architecture of Desire

Ratlords: Book 2

Mary Gentle

Two powerful magicians -- the White Crow and her husband, Lord-Architect Casaubon -- become embroiled in a deadly conflict of politics and magic as the opposing forces of Queen Carola and Protector-General Olivia battle for control of seventeenth-century London.

Left to His Own Devices

Ratlords: Book 3

Mary Gentle

SF novel (alternate history of London) with The White Crow and Causaubon, characters from Rats & Gargoyles and The Architecture of Desire.

Contents:

  • Left To His Own Devices
  • Black Motley
  • What God Abandoned
  • The Road To Jerusalem

Ash: A Secret History

The Book of Ash

Mary Gentle

There is more than one history of the world...

In the mid-fifteenth century there was Burgundy, the jewel of Europe-opulent and powerful, the undisputed center of an uncivilized world.

In an epoch of war and madness there was Ash. A girl born in mud and dung, she slew her first men while only eight. Scarred and ravaged, but still beautiful, she rose up to lead a great mercenary army before the age of twenty-and followed a sacred voice wise in the bloody ways of battle to a pinnacle unattainable to even the most potent of legends.

In a time when empires and alliances shifted like sand-when Mithras the bull was worshipped freely alongside the Christ-a great cloud arose out of Africa to darken the sun. The Visigoths came with their terrible machines-powered by magic or a science unknown to this day-and aimed their irresistible might toward the rich Burgundian prize, wrenching the wheel of civilization in an unknown and unexpected direction. And with their coming, one incomparable warrior raised on Destiny's ash heap became more that anyone thought one woman could ever be.

Note: The contents of this novel was also separately published in four parts as A Secret History / Carthage Ascendant / The Wild Machines / Lost Burgundy.

A Secret History

The Book of Ash: Book 1

Mary Gentle

There is more than one history of the world...

In the mid-fifteenth century there was Burgundy, the jewel of Europe-opulent and powerful, the undisputed center of an uncivilized world.

In an epoch of war and madness there was Ash. A girl born in mud and dung, she slew her first men while only eight. Scarred and ravaged, but still beautiful, she rose up to lead a great mercenary army before the age of twenty--and followed a sacred voice wise in the bloody ways of battle to a pinnacle unattainable to even the most potent of legends.

In a time when empires and alliances shifted like sand--when Mithras the bull was worshipped freely alongside the Christ--a great cloud arose out of Africa to darken the sun. The Visigoths came with their terrible machines-powered by magic or a science unknown to this day--and aimed their irresistible might toward the rich Burgundian prize, wrenching the wheel of civilization in an unknown and unexpected direction. And with their coming, one incomparable warrior raised on Destiny's ash heap became more that anyone thought one woman could ever be.

Carthage Ascendant

The Book of Ash: Book 2

Mary Gentle

In a brutal age of bloodshed and miracles where dark sorcery has extinguished the sun, the fate of Western Europe, Africa--and perhaps all the world--rests in the hands of a warrior woman named Ash.

The undefeated legions that are the army of Carthage rampage across the kingdoms of Europe. Beneath a sunless sky, Burgundy alone stands in the path of the Visigoth horde and their legendary slave general, the Faris. Deep in enemy territory lies a living stone idol of frightening power that must be destroyed if anyone is to survive, a being that whispers in Ash's soul, that has guided her through every military campaign, that only she and her enemy--her twin--can hear.

But there is an even greater evil that lurks at Carthage, one that created the stone idol and shaped Ash's existence. It plots with deadly purpose the final annihilation that will wipe Burgundy from the face of the earth. For Burgundy lies at the heart of it all--the richest prize in Europe and the key to the world--the jewel of the Carthaginian campaign.

The Wild Machines

The Book of Ash: Book 3

Mary Gentle

There is More Than One History Of The World...

In an unremembered past of savagery, magic, and miracles, one figure blazed like a fiery comet across the blood-soaked fields of Europe and North Africa -- a fierce combatant and brilliant strategist named Ash, unequalled in battle, who vanished into the mists of a history long forgotten, until now.

The armies of the Visigoth Empire have smashed the might of Europe, plunging the conquered lands into unnatural night.Only Burgundy fights on, battered but unbeaten, still warm in the embrace of the sun. It is the heart of the continent, supreme in culture and force of arms. But the beleaguered Duchy's ultimate fate lies in the hands of its rightful ruler, Duke Charles, trapped behind the walls of Dijon -- a city under siege by the brutal soldiers of the Faris, Ash's dark twin. Like Ash, the Faris hears the words of the dread machinery that seeks the extermination of all humankind. Unlike Ash, she heeds them.

Fresh from the horrors of Carthage -- and the apocalyptic seductions of the Wild Machines -- Ash must decide whether to lead an army to near-certain doom, in an attempt to lift the siege of Dijon. For if the great city falls, and Charles dies, the sun will rise on the world no more... and humanity will descend into a darkness without end.

Lost Burgundy

The Book of Ash: Book 4

Mary Gentle

There is more than one history of the world...

In a barbarous age in a world now forgotten, an extraordinary figure stood formidable on the European battlefield--a remarkable female warrior and strategist without equal... save one.

Dijon, the once-proud capital of Burgundy, has been pounded into near submission. The merciless soldiers of the Visigoth Empire stand hungrily at the gate, and at their fore, the beautiful, deadly Faris, unwittingly bred to tbe the instrument of a machine intelligence that seeks the end of humanity. The sun gutters weakly overhead like a dying candle, as the Wild Machines once again flex their dark, demonic power.

Ash, like her warrior twin, hears the Wild Machines' call--but unlike the Faris, Ash will not be their tool. For within Dijon's crumbling walls a fragile hope has bloomed: one who bears in her royal blood the ability to hold the dread Machines at bay. But defeating their dark plans will take a miracle--and ultimately, only Ash herself stands between Burgundy's implacable enemies and all humanity.

Lost Burgundy

The stunning conclusion to the remarkable true chronicles of Ash.

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