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ASH: A Secret History Paperback – February 1, 2001
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About the Author
SALES POINTS ASH marks the full-flowering of the talent of one of the world's most acclaimed writers of fantasy "The writing is as intricate as filigree but as tough as wrought-iron" The Times The largest single fantasy work ever - longer than The Lord of the Rings The authentic details of Bernard Cornwell, the magical storytelling of Terry Goodkind Lead title marketing campaign The hardback and trade paperback were bestsellers
Top customer reviews
Since some of the characters are based on actual people, I used the opportunity, when mentioned in the story, to look up those individuals and glean more insight to that era. Overall a fascinating premise and result.
If you get a little tingly and wistful during History Channel programs on weapons and warfare of the middle ages;
If you love fantasy and sci-fi and would love to read an epic adventure on a par with Tolkien, but admittedly a tad darker in the narrative;
read this book.
This is an award-winning book (won the Sidewise award in 2000) that has consistently earned critical acclaim over the years. The use of "swashbuckling" above in the review makes you think of Disney and pirates. This is far, far from Disney. It is at times grim and dark, and in its 1000+ pages has on two occasions visited images of the atrocities of war so unspeakable that I sort of wish I didn't have the images in my head now. But the book is worth it. The story and the characters and the writing are worth it. This isn't like Bernard Cornwell - the violence is part of the story, not simply gratuitous. Ms. Gentle is a master swordsman herself and has a master's degree in War Studies. It shows in the writing. I'm already getting a little panicky wondering what I'll read next that won't be like cheap table wine after a fine claret, or Lone Star after Guinness.
Mary Gentle is not gentle. Ash's story is gritty and even ugly in places. The virtues that she and her comrades show are not those treasured by much of the modern world.
There is also a framing story. I found reading e-mails between a scholar/author and an editor boring and annoying. Several times I thought of skipping those parts.
The end makes reading the apparently mundane passages worthwhile.
It's a very realistic, gritty military fantasy set in medieval France. Ash, a girl, grows up as an orphan in a mercenary camp. At one point, she discovers a voice in her head that gives her tactical advice during battles. With the help of the voice, she grows into a brilliant mercenary leader .
The story is like alternate history/fantasy/hint of scifi. Historical fantasy shows a hint to alternate history when Carthage invades Europe. And the brilliant general leader of the Carthagian forces happens to look exactly like Ash and also respond to a voice in her head. What is the voice? Is it hallucination, a demon, or a computer?
Great adventure, thrilling battles, mysteries, and discoveries. The main character is a vibrant strong woman, very realistically portrayed. I wish there had been more romance. Ash is in an arranged marriage with a man she's really attracted to, on a base physical level, who has nothing but distaste for her. But, since this is not a trashy romance novel, she dismisses her lust for him for what it is, has no trouble beating him up or sticking to her grand plans of conquest and adventure. I loved it. I do wish that there was more sex though. After all, once the battle is won, the warrior herione must get her reward in the arms of a handsome boy, right?
Most recent customer reviews
So, if you are an admirer of Mary Gentle's work and have read the 'Golden Witchbreed'...Read more