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You can view this as a fantasy novel – but it is also an alternative history of epic proportions. Set in the time of James I it involves assassins, demons and incorrigible women.
Politicians, magicians, players, kings, swordsmen, samurai, and half a dozen different but equally incorrigible women share the stage in a stunning epic alternate history Valèntin Rochefort, professional duellist and down-at-heels aristocrat, arranges the assassination of Henri IV, King of France. Fleeing from the consequences, he makes for England, on the way picking up two companions: a young boy, Dariole, and a ship-wrecked 'demon'.
Dariole is discovered first to be a girl, and then to be Rochefort's sister; the 'demon' is Tanaka Saburo, a Japanese samurai on ambassadorial mission to England from the Shogun; and Rochefort is found by a pack of Hermetic mages and conspirators, who want him to arrange the same thing for King James I/VI of England as he did for Henri of France.
Rochefort is blackmailed into arranging the death of King James at the performance of a Hermetic magic play. Meanwhile, Dariole is busy making forays into Shakespeare's theatre as England's first (and worst) female actor . . .
1610 really isn't Rochefort's year: And as the play's performance and the assassination approach, Rochefort's dreams of the future that may spring from this crucial year grow increasingly stranger and more contradictory. He realises he must act, but, how? What is the right choice? And how much of the future will depend on what he does?
|Publication date:||25th November 2004|
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.More About Mary Gentle