19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Earthy, bloody and absorbing fantasy of the highest quality,
This review is from: Ash: A Secret History (Paperback)This is the best fantasy of any sort which I've read for a long time. In the character of Ash, Mary Gentle has given us a wonderful robust alternative 15th century mercenary with a decidedly politically incorrect attitude to the morality of death and battle but one which is believably of its time and with which the reader cannot help but empathise. If on occasion the development of some of the supporting characters seems a little weak this is more than made up for by the "main cast" of well drawn and intriguingly flawed soldiers and camp followers. The author has obviously researched the period in loving detail but it is the fascinating deviations from history and religion as we know it which keep you guessing about the nature of the ultimate threat. The battle scenes are intense and vivid and although this is a long book I never found it dragging. Other reviewers have complained about the mix between the history and the historian but I found the two styles worked well together, the modern stuff giving me chance to catch my breath between the great chunks of ever thickening late medieval mayhem. The siege of Burgundy is a superb "set piece" and the resolution managed to surprise me despite the hints that had been dropped earlier.
Don't miss this book. It's a long, sumptuous and totally gripping read.