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The Wild Machines:: The Book Of Ash, #3 Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2000

8 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Book of Ash Series

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Editorial Reviews


"One of the best fantasies I've read in the past 15 years, bar none." -- --S.M. Stirling, author of Against the Tide of Years

About the Author

The author of A Secret History, 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

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Product Details

  • Series: Book of Ash (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380811138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380811137
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,286,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Kuo on August 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel, the third in the Book of Ash, is really a terrific read. Mary Gentle's narrative is at once visceral and vivid. This series is refreshingly straight foward and yet filled with enough twists and climatic action that I found it an irresistable page turner.
For those who have read the prior two novels, the answers to many burning cliff hangers lie within: What is the fate of the remaining Lion Azure? What are the sinister goals of the Ferae Natura Machinae? Why do they seek the destruction of Burgandy? How did Ash come to be among the Griffin-in-Gold?
The mix of the emails of the future historians and archaeologists just adds enough of hint to not only what is to come, but how and why...
I've already pre-ordered "Lost Burgandy" and can hardly wait...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maddi Hausmann Sojourner on October 8, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third Book of Ash (the first two are A Secret History and Carthage Ascendent). But this is not a series, the entire work was conceived as one novel and published as four books in the US. In The Wild Machines, Ash, mercenary company leader and incidentally slave-born genetic experiment (as she discovers in Book 2), is on her way back to the rest of her company and away from Carthage. Very bad things are happening. The sun is no longer shining in the parts of Europe that the Visigoth army has conquered, and it's getting cold, just like in Carthage. The voice in Ash's head isn't what she thought it was (a tactical computer) but a creation of the "Wild Machines," silicon lifeforms that are directing Carthage's political and military actions through an artifact. It is the Wild Machines who have encouraged the conquering of Europe, and they tell Ash that they have drawn down the power of the sun.
Heady stuff, yet she still has to reunite her company, as only half of them came to rescue her in Book 2. She returns to Burgundy, which becomes central to the Wild Machines plans for world domination. Ash wants to know more about her twin, the general of the Visigoth army called "the Faris." And the Faris wants to know more about Ash. And everyone is panicking as the weather changes, the crops fail, and the sun don't shine.
Meanwhile, Pierce Ratcliff, translator of Ash's manuscripts, is handling more bizarre happenings while trying to convince his editor not to yank his book project. The email messages between them continue to let us know that something very wrong has happened to our understanding of reality, taking this work once more from fiction to fantasy to science ficiton, and round about through alternative history a few times...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elyon on December 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As with book two of this ongoing saga, if allowed I would probably award this installment an additional half star. A shift back to Burgundy after Carthage, and, unlike the first two books, clearly separate in its plot development, Ash returns to confront the Visigoth forces besieging Dijon. While the military realism that has distinguished the earlier two books continues here, to a large degree it comes to dominate the bulk of the narrative, with much of the story bogging down in details about the siege and military councils. And, once again, we are regaled with descriptions of pauldrons, greaves, gauntlets and cuisses as Ash puts on and takes off her armor. While this contributed a great degree of realism to the earlier books, after innumerable acts of accoutrement the ritual and by now overly detailed arming of Ash has become worn and wearisome. The repeated descriptions of bevors and sallets, as well as mangonels and placement of forces, cannot alone sustain the story, and with very little else taking place, begins to erode the earlier value of its contribution.
As an previous reviewer has noted, the answer to certain mysteries is revealed, and the characterization of Ash and her company remain strong. However, much of these revelations come at the end of the book, along with a stirring variation upon the Great Hunt that does much to redeem the often plodding and repetitive detail burdening the earlier chapters, and acts as a springboard into the action that opens the fourth and final work of this quartet, "Lost Burgundy." While the detail dominating the first three fourths of this book, regardless of how well written, had begun to slow my interest, the narrative's vivid conclusion left me wanting more, and I have already begun the last book. Hopefully it will sustain the pace and interest established in this book's conclusion
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Armando Ramirez on February 3, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having gotten out of Carthage at the end of the last novel the demoiselle Ash finds that she along with her company are split into two factions. She leads one portion along with Robert Anselm having another inside Dijon. Ash is stuck in a predicament of not being able to support her troops with things such as food and water and things get desperate. She plans to break into Dijon, one way or another. Behind safe walls she feels is much better than being out in open land with legions of Visigoth men along with their Faris at the helm.

Dreams of Godfrey along with The Wild Machine haunt and torment her. Ash is lost. She seeks out The Faris hoping to touch base and try to pinpoint any simalarities, and there are. Ash realizes that The Faris as well as the Stone Golem are the key to winning this war. The Duke Charles, she finds out, plays a grand role in the overall theme of things.

I found that this book was a step up from Carhage Ascendant. While Carthage Ascendant unraveled alot for the story , I felt that there was alot of downtime in it. This book harnesses what the first book had. That essesence. Yeah I know, one can only do so much when a character is in chains as a prisoner like the previous book.

I thought it was great that both Ash and Faris actually speak to eachother. Though neither of them trust eachother they can come to terms and speak of their troubles. Since both are going thru the same predicament they confide in eachother. You get to see a bit more of The Faris in this one, all is not well for her either. I find the Faris a very interesting character. She is brought up to be a grand general and when one tells her things not according to her grand vision, she freaks out. I liked that, its very real. Great book.
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