Mary Rosalyn Gentle (1956—) is a UK science fiction and fantasy author.
Mary Gentle's first published novel was Hawk in Silver (1977), a young adults fantasy. She came to prominence with the Orthe duology consisting of Golden Witchbreed (1983) and Ancient Light (1987).
The novels Rats and Gargoyles (1990), The Architecture of Desire (1991) and Left to His Own Devices (1994), together with several stories in her 1989 collection Scholars and Soldiers form a loosely linked series (collected in White Crow in 2003), about an alternate history version of 17th century and later England where a form of Renaissance Hermetic magic has taken over the role of science. This sequence is very much informed by historically existing ideas about magic, alchemy and such and the stories are rife with allusions to real history and literature.
Grunts (1992) is a grand guignol parody of mass-market high fantasy novels - with orcs as heros, murderous halflings and racist elves.
In general, Mary Gentle's writing is somewhat cynical about human nature and does not flinch away from the darker side of human behaviour.
Orthe series (omnibus edition, 2002)
- Golden Witchbreed (1983)
- Ancient Light (1987)
White Crow series (omnibus edition, 2003)
- Rats and Gargoyles (1990)
- The Architecture of Desire (1991)
- Left to His Own Devices (1994)
First History series
- Hawk in Silver (1977)
- Grunts (1992)
- 1610: A Sundial In A Grave (2003)
Short story collections
- Scholars and Soldiers (1989)
- Cartomancy (2004)
The stories in Scholars and Soldiers were reprinted either in the Orthe or White Crow omnibus editions or in Cartomancy.