ASH won the BSFA and Sidewise Awards, and was shortlisted for the Clarke Award and the WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award ASH received outstanding reviews and secured Mary Gentle's place at the forefront of British fantasy: '[ASH is an] outstanding achievement' INTERZONE 'Excellent ... a history of early renaissance Europe as it didn't happen' Jon Courtney Grimwood in the GUARDIAN 'The kind of book you can lose yourself in for days. Quite simply, it's stunning' STARBURST 'Her subtlety in depicting the supernatural events of her world is well nigh miraculous' WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD.
Mary Gentle is one of the world's most acclaimed writers of fantasy and science fiction; ASH, the largest single fantasy work ever - longer even than THE LORD OF THE RINGS - combines the authentic details of Bernard Cornwell and the magical storytelling of Terry Goodkind; all editions were Gollancz bestsellers. Mary has a number of academic degrees, including an MA in War Studies, and has hands-on experience of sword-fighting and armour, amongst many other useful talents. She lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
"Ilario was born a functioning hermaphrodite, whose status in law and theology makes the protagonist of this action-packed, deeply intelligent novel a focus for intrigue, intellectual debate and a fair amount of polymorphous hot sexual action." -- Roz Kaveney TIME OUT "Gentle tells an absorbing tale, deftly swapping what was for what might have been." -- Barbara Davies STARBURST "When she's got you hooked, there's no beating Mary Gentle." -- Rhianna Pratchett SFX "Her characterisation and world building is so good that the story seems plausible. A welcome and enigmatic addition to a writer with vision who still has the power to shock and amaze." SFFWORLD "The extraordinary gender sensitivity and flexibility Ilario embodies, novel shades of sexuality at every turn, and new angles on plain old heterosexuality in the bargain - factor all that in, and Ilario is the foremost SF/fantasy novel of gender in quite a while." -- Nick Gevers LOCUS