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3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  850 ratings  ·  76 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.

Paperback, 549 pages
Published 1993 by Corgi (first published July 16th 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,485)
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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
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
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
Stavros Tsiakalos
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
Dec 19, 2011 David Sarkies rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to David by: Michael Driver
Shelves: fantasy
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 of mine. Apparently their favourite line was 'pass me another elf, this one's broken'. Another friend lent it to me and I read it. In conclusion, it was one of the most painful, disqusting, disturbing, and horrible books that I have ever read. To put it lightly, I hated it.
The setting is your average fantasy setting
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
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Matt De
Feb 13, 2013 Matt De rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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.
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
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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
Baron Greystone
Someone on a forum recommended this to me. I had mentioned 'Bored of the Rings,' but this is a very different type of book. Uneven, dark, violent, with the odd conceit of equipping orcs with Vietnam-era weaponry, and then having their behavior and personalities 'evolve' into the usual military stereotypes. It was *not* funny, although about half the time it seemed like it was trying to be. I honestly don't know what the author was thinking. I finally gave up about halfway/two-thirds of the way t ...more
Indy Kochte
Grunts – A fantasy novel with a modern twist. Imagine a world with orcs and elves and goblins and dwarves and trolls and halflings and humans and undead and dragons and wizards and Dark Lords – then throw in a bit of contemporary modern weaponry, training, and U.S. Marine philosophy. Stir until well blended. And tell the tale from the POV of the *orcs*!

Overall I liked the story. It was a definitive change of pace (and point of view!) from your otherwise ‘everyday’ fantasy novel. I found myself a
Slightly spoilery review!

Plot in a nutshell (more on it later): This book is set in a parallel world of Middle-Earth, where something went terribly wrong, and the forces of darkness are pretty strong, whereas the goodies are pretty dumb. The orcs killed a dragon for their dark Lord, and find a huge stash of allkinds of American marines' weapons in the dragon's hoard. As there is a curse on the hoard, which makes you become what you steal, the orcs soon start behaving like your very stereotypical
Fierce, cruel, dim-witted and as likely to attack each other as they are the enemy, orcs are cannon fodder, even in fantasy franchises without cannons. But what if things were different? What if, instead of attacking as a ragtag mob, they were organized -- using strategy instead of brute strength? What if they fought like Marines?

Mary Gentle's Grunts gives us a fantasy world approaching the Final Battle. It's standard Good vs Evil stuff, except the reader's sympathies are aligned with Evil. Good
James Oden
Grunts is the story of an Orc clan that is transformed into 20th century marines through the geis put on a stolen treasure horde full of twentieth century weaponry. This of course happens with the back drop of The Final Battle about to be fought between the forces of light and the forces of dark where Orcs are always doomed to be slaughtered, but not this time...well, maybe not.

As you can guess this is pretty much a parody of sorts, if not a too terribly light hearted parody. Really, in this fan
Althea Ann
Mary Gentle's work is usually rather surreal, complex, dealing with cryptic symbolism and occult knowledge – and gritty violence, often done by female warriors.
Well, except for the warriors and violence, this is quite a departure.
It's a parody/satire – orcs in a Tolkien-esque land raid a dragon's hoard of 21st-century weapons and are cursed(?) into acting like Marines.
However, it's not just a spoof of Tolkien (though that might be primary) – but also skewers military/action fiction, D&D, stu
Christian Palmer
Not for the average reader. But if you're a veteran who's banked a few deployments to OIF and OEF, and who decompresses by laughing at even the darkest humor from The Duffel Blog, this book is for you. Mary Gentle turns over the rock of the normal high fantasy world to show the worms and bugs of low fantasy lying beneath it...the pragmatic and gritty bit players, from professional thieves, to middle-aged prostitutes, to footsoldiers in the armies of darkness...then mixes in the culture of the Ma ...more
Jota Houses
Una historia sobre un grupo de orcos que roba un depósito de armas modernas perteneciente a un dragón. Las armas arrastran la maldición reconvertir a los que las portan en marines estadounidenses. El resto del Libro consiste en una serie de aventuras inconexas en las que se juega con la parodia de las películas de marines y la fantasía tradicional. Para cuándo al final del libro se resuelve el origen de las armas el lector ya ha perdido totalmente el interés. Aún así tiene momentos graciosos.
Kevin Stillman
I found this book hilarious when I first read it 10 years ago. It's still funny, but I don't think the story holds together all that well or the themes the book seems to be going for expressed all that well. Instead of being a real low or high fantasy novel, it almost reads like a cartoon fantasy novel.
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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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