Mary Rosalyn Gentle (born 29 March 1956) 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 Lion's Eye, set in the same world as Ash.
- 1610: A Sundial in a Grave
- The Black Opera
Works by Mary Gentle with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Mary Gentle contain examples of:
- Doorstopper: Most of Mary Gentle's novels are this. Another writer wrote a 50-word story on Usenet that boils down to "When Mary Gentle writes a shopping list, a spruce tree in Norway shivers."
- Fictional Board Game: In Golden Witchbreed, the people of Orthe play a board game called ochmir, which involves covering a hexagonal board with flippable triangular pieces. The rules of the game are included in the book.
- Nobody Poops: So, so averted in all her novels.
- Prescience by Analysis: 1610: A Sundial in a Grave revolves around a form of mathematics that can predict future actions, with such precision that a mathematician with no sword-wielding aptitude is capable of winning a fight by predicting it several months in advance and then practicing the exact sequence of moves that will result in victory. One character turns out to be manipulating events because he's foreseen a catastrophe four hundred years in the future that can only be averted if he starts laying the groundwork now.
- Rat King: In Rats and Gargoyles, the titular Rats are ruled by groups of nine of their number with their tails deliberately fused together.
- 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 them.