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Mary Gentle is a British fantasy and science fiction author.
Her works include:
- A Hawk In Silver (1977), a young-adult fantasy
- The Orthe duology, science-fantasy with a human woman visiting another world, populated by humanoid but deceptively different people
- Golden Witchbreed
- Ancient Light
- The White Crow books, fantasy / Alternate History books featuring heavy use of Renaissance hermetic magic/alchemy and the same characters in different settings:
- Rats and Gargoyles
- The Architecture of Desire
- Left to His Own Devices
- Grunts!: A Fantasy With Attitude
- Ash: A Secret History, the story of a female mercenary captain in an alternate fifteenth century Europe. Published in four volumes in the US.
- Ilario The Lions Eye, set in the same world as Ash.
- Sixteen Ten A Sundial In A Grave
Commonly used tropes include:
- Action Girl/Lady of War: Recurring Character Valentine White Crow/Roseveare/Branwen/Whatever-Her-Surname-Is-This-Time.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Whenever Valentine and her perennial love interest Baltazar Casaubon don't have this going on, they're married. (Which isn't to say that the two scenarios are mutually exclusive.)
- Big Eater: Baltazar.
- Cloudcuckoolander/Genius Ditz: Baltazar, again. He's decidedly eccentric, a bit of a slob, and more than a bit of a flake; however, he's definitely a sharp cookie.
- Doorstopper: Most of Mary Gentle's novels are this.
- Genius Bruiser: Yep, Baltazar again.
- Hermaphrodite: Ilario.
- Hermetic Magic: Used quite widely in Rats and Gargoyles, and has been one of Valentine's shticks a couple of times.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Valentine and Baltazar. While Valentine seems to be average-sized, Baltazar is 6'5" and well over 300#.
- Or General Ashnak (leader of the Fighting Agaku orc tribe) and Magda Brandiman (hobbit dominatrix)
- Likes Older Women: Zar-bettu-Zekigal in Rats and Gargoyles is a lesbian example. (So much so, in fact, that when she becomes attracted to a woman about ten years her senior, it surprises her because "she's a baby!")
- Nobody Poops: So, so averted in all her novels.
- Our Orcs Are Different: The orcs of Grunts! are a cross between Warhammer Fantasy and the Lord of the Rings orcs. Big, burly, sharp-toothed, vulgar, and aggressive, with skin that varies from black through shades of green and gray to pure white. Prone to Comedic Sociopathy. And they have green blood.
- Petting Zoo People: Katayans look basically human, but have long furry tails. Rats, from the same setting, are...well, seven-foot-tall rat people. (Who are ruled by Rat-Kings—that is, a ruling council of Rats with their tails all fused together.)
- Redheaded Hero/Heroes Want Redheads: Valentine and Baltazar, again; they're both redheaded, although Valentine is usually greying (regardless of age).
- Science Fantasy
- Stout Strength: Baltazar is always described as fat. However, his strength and endurance are deceptive.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: A driving characteristic of many female characters in her works. Notably Floria/Florian of Ash: A Secret History and Dariole of 1610: A Sundial in a Grave. In the short story "What God Abandoned," Miles claims to be one. S/he's a sex-shifter; it still backfires on zir.