Ilario, A Story of the First History

Ilario, A Story of the First History is a series of two novels by Mary Gentle, set in an alternate history where Carthage has become a powerful medieval empire.


Set in the same alternate medieval world as Gentle's Ash: A Secret History sequence, Ilario, A Story of the First History is more limited in scope. The protagonist, Ilario, is an intersex person seeking to serve as apprentice to a master painter, a path that takes Ilario from Iberia to Carthage, Rome, Venice and Constantinople. Described as "part picaresque, part travelogue, part prose chanson de geste", the story serves to examine issues of gender, sexuality, and power.[1]


Roz Kaveney, reviewing The Lion's Eye for Time Out described the book as "action-packed, deeply intelligent novel a focus for intrigue, intellectual debate and a fair amount of polymorphous hot sexual action".[2] Strange Horizons found the book "something of a disappointment", with "precious few changes of tone".[1]

Ilario novelsEdit

  • Ilario: The Lion's Eye. London: Gollancz, 2006. ISBN 0-575-07661-5
  • Ilario: The Stone Golem. London: EOS, 2007. ISBN 978-0061344985


  1. ^ a b Ilario: The Lion's Eye by Mary Gentle, Strange Horizons reviews, 6 March 2007
  2. ^ Ilario: The Lion's Eye,