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3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,114 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
The usual last battle of Good against Evil is about to begin-and Orc Captain Ashnak and his war-band know exactly what to expect. The forces of Light are outnumbered, full of headstrong heroes devoid of tactics, but the Light's still going to win. Orcs will die by the thousands, and no one cares. No even the Nameless Necromancer who hired them.

Mass Market Paperback, ALTERNATE COVER ART for ISBN 0451454537, 464 pages
Published August 1995 by Roc (first published July 16th 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,196)
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Dec 26, 2012 Brad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a masochist
I give up. I can't go on. I couldn't even make it to page one hundred. I slogged through the first 85 pages, which should have been a stand-alone novella (had it been a novella, it would have been a vast improvement, and I may have sped through it had I not been daunted and confused by the presence of the 300+ pages that were still to come). For years I've been longing for a book from the Orc perspective. I wanted a story that actually gave us a hint of Orc culture, Orc life, maybe a story about ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fantastic! It was hilarious from start to finish. I'm reading some of the other reviews and all I can think of know it's told from the greenskins/evil/darkside perspective right? It's supposed to be disgusting, and crude and vulgar they're orcs. Pick up about 98-99% of any fantasy/sci-fi book and it's always about the hero(s) and their struggles and good blah blah, but what about the other side? The plot is outright ludicrous and it's like a science fiction fantasy inside a ...more
Mar 17, 2010 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, drek
I can probably count the times on one hand where a book was so awful I couldn't finish it.

Sloppy narrative. Changing tense mid paragraph - which was done to the point of distraction (I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one, deciding that she was doing it in certain places for emphasis - but after the fifteenth time or so, I couldn't reconcile it anymore). Encounters that didn't finish, were just sort of left floating on the breeze only to find the same characters later on in a d
Imagine the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, a copy of Full Metal Jacket and some really potent psychotropic drugs being placed in a blender and pureed.

It's thirty to forty thousand times better than it sounds.

Jul 07, 2015 Rick rated it it was amazing
I have seen a lot more negative reviews about this book than I expected since I totally loved it. If you are looking for Hemmingway or Shakespeare class prose then you are in the wrong place. However if you want a high fantasy story with plenty of black humor that doesn't take itself seriously at all this is a must-read.

Despite the plot holes I really enjoyed every minute of reading this book. The reader must suspend disbelief multiple times but really, the whole book is outrageous so is that so
Stavros Tsiakalos
Oct 21, 2008 Stavros Tsiakalos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe it is important to say one thing right at the beginning of this review:
This is a Mary Gentle book. What this means is that it is graphic in its depiction of violence and sex. The book includes very explicit language. Most importantly, not all sexual encounters described in it are consensual or heterosexual. These things might offend some readers and for those people not just this, but most books by the author would be a waste of time.

That said, personally I enjoyed Mrs. Gentle’s book.
David Sarkies
May 21, 2015 David Sarkies rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to David by: Michael Driver
Shelves: fantasy
The cannonfodder are given a voice
19 December 2011

The first I heard of this book was when I was young and unemployed. A friend of mine didn't necessarily recommend it to me but was rather laughing about it with some other friends. Apparently their favourite line was 'pass me another elf, this one's broken'. Yet another friend lent it to me and I read it. In conclusion, it was one of the most painful, disgusting, disturbing, and horrible books that I have ever read. To put it lightly, I hated it
Oct 15, 2012 1.1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read trade paperbacks of the fantasy variety, but I recall the comforting smell of this class of books from my mid-to-late childhood, when I would lurk around idly reading Star Wars and Redwall books like any socially successful, well-adjusted boy. They smell comfortably bland, and they don't weigh much, but there's lots of pages to escape into. This book smells basically exactly like a trade paperback, but it doesn't look particularly like a reeking tome of fantasy nonsense, and ...more
This is one of my favorite books, and the best parody I've read. As a parody it's beats both The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as well as the dynamic duo of The Colour of Magic & The Light Fantastic, as it forces the reader to face his/her prejudices, in this case the fantasy genre itself.

The story is told from the perspective of a gang of Orchs, which are the canon-fodder of evil and are usually just there for the blonde and bright eyed hero to slay on his way conquer evil. Ever consider
Mar 04, 2013 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2015 Freya rated it it was amazing
review to come :)
Oct 11, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok I will have to admit that I have been reading this for some time - I do in fact read a lot of books a bit at a time but I don't list them all here as it would look like I am a total fruit for reading and chopping and changing all the time. - maybe I am.
Anyway this book I have known about for some years - it is quite dated now - since there have been numerous books where they have taken a character (I almost said class there - wow thats showing my roots) type and taking the preconceptions that
Nov 06, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humour
I don't think I have ever read that I hated, loved, was disgusted by, laughed at, gave up and started again, in quite the same way as this one. It's insane! The story revolves around a group of orcs, the traditional cannon fodder of the Dark Lord's army, who steal some Dragon's treasure and are cursed to become what they have stolen. The treasure? - weapons that would be more familiar in a thriller novel - MPC's, Kalashnikovs, rocket launcers, rifles and tanks. As the curse takes effect, they sl ...more
Oct 12, 2009 Kaoru rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get through this book, but now that I am, I'm not sure what the point of it was.

Yes, I get the rather obvious ways in which the author transferred marine behavior to a fantasy setting. Sometimes those ways were somewhat amusing, but often they were simply incongruous. The addition of other worlds and the like sort of made the interesting aspects of that transfer feel even more forced.

The author mostly skips over things she finds inconvenient to solve, and the book moves sim
Apr 29, 2015 Rooney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange one for me - I'm a bit old fashioned in that I like to see the good guys win. And I like to be able to empathise with the protagonists. But in this book, the good guys are prety much all arrogant twerps, and the bad guys are the - for want of a better word - protagonists.

And every time you start to empathise with them, BAM! The author smacks you right between the eyes with something shocking that blasts away that empathy.

Also, the book feels like it could have finished about th
Feb 20, 2012 Dom rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I dont remember a book I've enjoyed less, it was such a chore to finish it. I can not rate it any lower, if you like fantasy, orcs, war, comedy, then read any other book than this one. Seriously its painful reading it. I've never given up reading a book no matter how long it takes me, but I kept on leaving this book places hoping it might get stolen, alas no so I had to finish it.

Good points...I liked the idea of orcs with modern weapons but she didnt pull that off, it was clunky, cliched and po
Russ Tarvin
May 20, 2015 Russ Tarvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this a while ago, but loved this book. Want to find more like it.
Tommy Carlson
Grunts is a parody, mixing the Lord of the Rings from the orc perspective with Bakshi's Wizards. It's fun and clever, but drags on way too long. The story is broken down into three major story sections. If it had stopped with the first section, it would have been a brilliant parody. If it had stopped after the second, it still would have been good. But I really had to push through the third section. All the cleverness of the parody had long been played out. (With the exception of a bit of fun at ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Underdogs and cannon fodder
Recommended to Alan by: C'mon, now—orcs with machine guns? Who wouldn't want to read that?
The Last Battle looms, casting its long shadow over Light and Dark alike. The forces of Darkness already know they're going to lose—all the prophecies agree—but that doesn't mean they're going to go gently. A small band of orcs, bound to the service of a nameless necromancer and aided by a pair of cheerfully venal halfling thieves, travels to a remote mountain cavern, where they slay the fearsome crystalline dragon Dagurashibanipal. Deep within the dragon's hoard, the orcs find a storehouse of w ...more
Matt De
Feb 13, 2013 Matt De rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
There are very few books I have just given up on. This is one of them. My friend recommended it to me, and based on past advice I took his word for it. After a death march to page 250, I tossed it in the recycling bin. Literally. I asked my friend why he though this steaming pile was worth reading, at which point he admitted to never finishing it either, and since htat day all his recommendations are filed as suspect, to be confirmed by alternative source.
Feb 11, 2011 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointment
I admit, I didn't make it all the way through this. But the thought of returning to it to soldier on fills me with dismay, so I'm dumping it. It's not really a book about orcs, it's a book about Americans, as if there weren't enough of those. I don't find it funny, I find it tacky. Finally, the story seemed to be wandering in many directions, none of which were interesting, and many of which I expect would vanish without a trace. I don't need to find out.
Sep 05, 2011 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this a one star review only because there isn't a lower one. Poorly written, with no likable characters, with no sense of continuity. I picked it up by accident because it was next to the book I wanted, so I decided to read it because the plot synopsis on the back interested me. Big mistake on my part. I will never again read anything by this person. I can't bring my self to call someone who produced such drek an author.
Robert Keogh
Loved the concept but the execution was really poor. By the end it was sheer willpower that kept me turning the pages, refusing to be defeated. Disjointed narrative with some interesting characters and episodes. Definitely skip this one unless you're on a plane or some other area with low partial oxygen pressure.
D.L. Morrese
Feb 07, 2013 D.L. Morrese rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a review because I could not force myself to finish it. It was not funny. The characters had zero appeal, and there wasn't much plot. I found the thing so distasteful I threw it in the trash rather than risk some other poor sod (who I never met and have nothing against) picking it up at a used book store.
Jul 10, 2015 Marcos rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Even if the premise is interesting (Tolkien's Lord of the Rings seen from the point of view of the orcs) and despite some hilarious situations, in the end the novel is hindered by a clunky sense of pacing and an overambitious plot (Lord of the Rings seen from the orcs' POV, with modern weapons! with steampunk elements! through the lens of Desert Storm! and what if our world crossed with their world? what if aliens...?) Ultimately, all these threads make the action not flow as smoothly as it coul ...more
Jan 14, 2010 Feyfire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really couldn't get too into this book. It had it's quirks where it was entertaining but it jumped topic to topic, didn't give a timeline and it had a lot of military stuff in it that I couldn't follow.

Jan 23, 2012 Soo rated it did not like it
I tried my best to finish this book on several occasions. I just couldn't get into the story. The writing isn't bad but the story just annoyed the crap out of me.
Aaron Caskey
Apr 07, 2015 Aaron Caskey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
Second time through this, and it was an interesting experience. On the one hand, not being 14 anymore, I got many more of the references. But I also found a lot of humour fell very flat. It was not anywhere near as funny as I remember... It switches from outright farce to gritty dark comedy too quickly, which makes it really hard to nail town the tone.

However, as a concept it's great and well worth reading just for the exploration of what it actually be like to be an orc in a dark horde... too b
Mark Wilkerson
Fun twist on perspective! It's nice to see the world from the point of view of a villain in countless fantasy novels. However, this book is far too long: the narrative is not focused enough and wanders from setting to setting and from conflict to conflict, characters I find worthwhile and worth knowing better are introduced and thrown away with nary a thought in the most brutal of ways, and the tone is frustratingly inconsistent. Are we supposed to sympathize with the orcs or hate them? Is this ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Mouse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I agree with all of the bad reviews of this book. It just doesn't keep my interest and it really seems there's no point to it.
I'm a Fantasy/Sci-fi nut when it comes to reading and I love some of the schlocky books out there like The Hitchhiker's Guide, any of the Myth books by Asprin, the Craig Shaw Gardener books, and I really love the idea of this book, but it just isn't executed properly. I've never read any books by her so I didn't know what to expect but if this is her style then so be it.
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Writes erotica under the pseudonym Roxanne Morgan.

Excerpted from Wikipedia:
Mary Gentle's first published novel was Hawk in Silver (1977), a young-adult fantasy. She came to prominence with the Orthe duology, which consists 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 s
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“All warriors are brothers in arms, whether they fight for the Light or the Dark. We are fated always to make war on our own kind.” 0 likes
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