Published in four volumes in the US: The Book of Ash #1: A Secret History (1999), #2: Carthage Ascendant (2000), #3: The Wild Machines (2000) and #4: Lost Burgundy (2000).
British Science Fiction Association Award 2001, Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee 2001.
In the mid-fifteenth century there was Burgundy, the jewel of
Europe-opulent and powerful, the undisputed center of an uncivilized
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...
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.
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.