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Inara

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I´m Inara (Austria) at Goodreads and decided it wouldn´t hurt to have a back-up booksite - just in case...

A Secret History by Mary Gentle

Ash: A Secret History - Mary Gentle

The historian Pierce Ratcliff discovers long lost manuscripts about Ash a female captain of mercenaries in the late 15th century Europe. The more he translates this work from Latin to today´s English the more he gets convinced that the history of this time period wasn´t like our established records suggests. What if there could be found evidence of this alternate history? The subplot in this novel is Ratcliff´s e-mail correspondence with his editor Anna Longman about his search for (archaeological) truth of his documents. The story of Ash herself is exciting and shows much of the hard life of mercenaries – dirt, angst, gore, death, violence – and their fight to live through the battles unharmed and see the next day. Everyone who has an idealized view about the existence of a soldier in the Middle Ages should read this book – the wake-up call will leave you disenchanted for sure. The main plot is Ash´ fight against the Visigoths who are threatening to destroy Europe and spreading darkness all over their conquered countries only Burgundy is the last bastion against the mighty army. This army is also led by a woman "the Faris" who is Ashs "sister" but I don´t want to give too much away from the plot.
It´s a fascinating book although there are many disgusting scenes and foul language but I was very intrigued by the storyline nonetheless. Ash is a strong but also vulnerable woman marked but not destroyed by her bad orphaned childhood in the midst of the baggage of a mercenary troop and I liked her and her own motley crew of mercenaries.
This book is remarkable by the author´s great knowledge of armors, battles and the history of the Middle Ages, it´s a combination of realism, fantasy and scifi elements. It´s an excellent and original novel in my opinion and worth the time you spend reading it (and in time you get used to the vulgar language of the mercenaries, believe me..lol).