The author of A Secret History, Mary Gentle has written eight books that have won critical acclaim from science fiction and fantasy authors and critics alike. She's completed two Master degrees and is an expert sword-fighter. Her home resides in England
Ilario: The Lion's Eyeby Mary Gentle
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
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.
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In the fifteenth century Ilario was born a hermaphrodite and his mother Rosamunda wanted nothing to do with this abomination so Ilario became a side show freak for King Rodrigo of Iberia. When he-she is finally freed from his captivity as a monarch¿s freak Ilario journeys across the Mediterranean to Carthage where the sunless dark Penitence serves as an encouragement to his plans to become a painter. --- Upon arrival, instead he-she is drugged and sold to Alexandrian even as his mother and stepfather learn that her offspring had been freed and plan to send this embarrassment to the hell he-she came from before he harms their position of influence if it becomes known that he came from her womb. Influential Alexandrian arranges for Rosamunda to be deported back to Iberia. He sends Ilario to Rome to study painting as he has plans for this he-she. --- This is an interesting character study set in the alternate historical realm of Ash although fifty years earlier. Ilario is an interesting protagonist as he-she lands in one predicament after another in this well written coming of age tale. Although the plot seems more towards providing Mary Gentle¿s fans the recent history before the events in Ash, fans will enjoy learning of Caliph ruled ever dark Carthage (no explanation as to what caused the Penitence) and Pope-less Rome by following the escapades of a wannabe painter with a gender identity issue. --- Harriet Klausner