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The year is 1610. Continental Europe is briefly at peace after years of war, but Henri IV of France is planning to invade the German principalities. In England, only five years earlier, conspirators nearly succeeded in blowing up King James I and his Parliament. The seeds of the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War are visibly being sown, and the possibility for both enlightenment and disaster abounds. But Valentin Rochefort, duelist and spy for France's powerful financial minister, could not care less. Until he is drawn into the glittering palaces, bawdy back streets, and stunning theatrics of Renaissance France and Shakespearean London in a deadly plot both to kill King James I and to save him. For this swordsman without a conscience is about to find himself caught between loyalty, love, and blackmail, between kings, queens, politicians, and Rosicrucians, and the woman he has, unknowingly, crossed land and sea to meet.
This gracefully written sequel to Golden Witchbreed powerfully depicts the impact of a high-technology civilization on a decaying planet. Ten years after having served as Earth's first envoy to Orthe, which is struggling to survive after a planetwide holocaust millennia ago, Lynne de Lisle Christie returns there as an advisor to PanOceania, one of Earth's giant multinational companies, which is seeking to discover the technological secrets of the Goldens, the ruling race that had destroyed itself while almost obliterating Orthe. Christie seeks to help the native people, some of whom have been her friends, some her enemies, but all closely bound in her memories and loyalties. Instigated by the last of the Golden, a madwoman seeking domination, war between the poor and starving hiyeks of the Desert Coast and the land-loving telestres of the north is aggravated by smuggled high-tech weapons. Christie, while holding a dreadful secret from the Orthe's past, attempts to mediate. Gentle creates moving, different, yet recognizable societies and people that catch the reader's emotions as they struggle to save themselves.
For the beautiful young woman Ash, life has always been arquebuses and artillery, swords and armour and the true horrors of hand-to-hand combat. War is her job. She has fought her way to the command of a mercenary company, and on her unlikely shoulders lies the destiny of a Europe threatened by the depredations of an Infidel army more terrible than any nightmare.Winner of the BSFA Award for best novel, 2000
Mary Gentle is one of Britain's most outstanding writers of imaginative fiction, able to move seamlessly from science fiction to fantasy within the same story. Following on from the success of ASH, 1610: A SUNDIAL IN A GRAVE and the omnibus volumes WHITE CROW and ORTHE, comes CARTOMANCY, the definitive collection of Mary Gentle's short fiction. CARTOMANCY includes the stories from SOLDIERS AND SCHOLARS as well as a number of tales previously unpublished in book form, all with new afterwords and topped and tailed with a specially revised version of her split story 'Cartomancy'.
Orthe - half-civilized, half-barbaric, home to human-like beings who live and die by the code of the sword. Earth envoy Lynne Christie has been sent here to establish contact and to determine whether this is a world worth developing. But first Christie must come to understand that human-like is not and never can be human, and that not even Orthe's leaders can stop the spread of rumors about her, dark whisperings that could cost Christie her life.And on a goodwill tour to the outlying provinces, these evil rumors turn to deadly accusations. Christie is no offworlder, Church officials charge: she is a treacherous and cunning descendant of Orthe's legendary Golden Witchbreed - the cruel, ruthless race that once enslaved the whole planet. Suddenly, Christie finds herself a hunted fugitive on an alien world, where friend and foe alike may prove her executioners. And her only chance of survival lies in saving Orthe from a menace older than time...
What is an orc? An orc is an 18 stone fighting machine, made of muscle, hide, talon and tusk, with a villainous disposition and a mean sense of humour. And, of course, an orc is a poor dumb grunt - the much abused foot soldier of the Evil Horde of Darkness. The usual last battle of Good against Evil is about to begin. Orc Captain Ashnak and his war-band know exactly what they can expect. The forces of Light are outnumbered, full of headstrong heroes devoid of tactics - but the Light's still going to win. Orcs - the sword fodder in the front line - will die by the thousands. Life's a bitch.
Abandoned and alone, the fosterling Ilario grows up as the King's Freak, surrounded by all the pomp, intrigue, and danger of the Iberian court. Fleeing a failed treacherous attack, Ilario crosses the sea to Carthage, where the mysterious Penitence shrouds the sky in darkness. There, a strange and awful destiny awaits the would-be painter, one that spans continents and kingdoms. Filled with intrigue, sex, and mystery, Ilario: The Lion's Eye is a stunning tale of secret histories and self-discovery. The adventure continues in Book Two: The Stone Golem.
The dramatic conclusion to Ilario: The Lion's Eye! Fleeing a surprise treacherous murder attempt, the former King's Freak and would-be painter Ilario has run to Carthage, the city-state under perpetual darkness, in search of freedom. But strange plots are afoot, and a tenuous, complicated alliance with a bookseller-turned-spy will lead Ilario from the shrouded land into tense negotiations and intrigues in seductive, mercurial Venice, from a fraught return to Iberia to a final confrontation with family . . . and destiny.
It is a nameless city somewhere between past and future, a mythic realm at the "heart of the world," where wicked Rat Lords have reduced all humankind to slaves, and god-daemons make the decision to end all existence. This energizes a compelling quest for survival, and prompts the powerful White Crow to order an uprising against this chaotic strike that threatens them all. Among those who respond to her are the defiant Prince Lucas of Candover, a student at the University of Crime, and no mans's slave; and Zari, the young Katayan woman who is destined to become the living Memory of all that follows. And others rally to join them in one final desperate revolt, hoping to create a magic powerful enough to reshape the very nature of how they live.
"It's about sex, and cruelty, and forgiveness." Thus begins a sweeping historical adventure about two dueling swordsmen and the plot to kill a king in the grand tradition of Dorothy Dunnett and Alexander Dumas. The year is 1610. Continental Europe is briefly at peace after years of war, but Henri IV of France is planning to invade the German principalities. In England, only five years earlier, conspirators nearly succeeded in blowing up King James I and his Parliament. The seeds of the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War are visibly being sown, and the possibility for both enlightenment and disaster abounds. But Valentin Rochefort, duelist and spy for France's powerful financial minister, could not care less. Until he is drawn into the glittering palaces, bawdy back streets, and stunning theatrics of Renaissance France and Shakespearean London in a deadly plot both to kill King James I and to save him. For this swordsman without a conscience is about to find himself caught between loyalty, love, and blackmail, between kings, queens, politicians, and Rosicrucians -- and the woman he has, unknowingly, crossed land and sea to meet.
In this collection of original novellas, four award-winning masters of alternate history turn back time, twisting the facts with four brilliant excursions into what might have been by traversing Worlds That Weren't. Under the influence of the philosopher Sokrates, the Athenian general Alkibiades leads his soldiers to victory over the Spartans in New York Times bestselling author Harry Turtledove's "The Daimon." Set in the same universe as The Peshawar Lancers, "Shikari in Galveston" by national bestselling author S. M. Stirling features an Angrezi aristocrat's hunting expedition into the wilds of Texas-and his growing admiration for the natives who dwell there. In 1453, a rather different Turkish Empire raised the flag of Astarte's Bloody Crescent over Constantinople. Four years later, European mercenaries find themselves stranded on the coast of North Africa-with an embarrassing corpse-in "The Logistics of Carthage" by Mary Gentle. In Walter Jon Williams's "The Last Ride of German Freddie," a mysterious Old World figure stalks Tombstone, Arizona, as a cardsharp, trading philosophy -and lead-with the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. The past isn't what it used to be....
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