This is a very gritty, well researched tale of medieval warfare, and a woman who leads it. It is quite an interesting story. It is not, however, for the prudish or squeamish, since the rape of an 8-year-old occurs on the first page, the "F" word is liberally sprinkled throughout, and the very realistic depictions of life during that time are not always pretty and clean. For those who don't mind the above, a recommended read.
Cyn V. (rook) reviewed A Secret History : The Book Of Ash, #1 (Book of Ash) on
Helpful Score: 1
Worth your time if you are looking for realism in medieval warfare, lifestyle, clothing and politics. This is a fantastic story for those who like historical fiction! Also good if you prefer experiencing the world from "inside the character", a trait of which Mary Gentle is a superior writer. I found myself identifying with many of the characters in Ash and have since gone on to collect the entire series.
NOT good if you cannot handle the blood, filth, and profanity inherent in the lifestyle of a soldier. Personally, I thought the realism enriched the story, but it may not be the same for everyone.
The only detraction was the interjection of "emails" between "manuscripts." (Ash's tale is told through several different manuscripts which are being researched by an historian, who is in turn discussing them with his publisher.) This modern intrusion is necessary to explain why certain things are happening in Ash's time, but it was like reading two books that had been hastily shoved into one another.