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Blood and Iron (Promethean Age Series #1)

Blood and Iron (Promethean Age Series #1)

4.7 9
by Elizabeth Bear

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She is known as Seeker. Spellbound by the Faerie Queen, she has abducted human children for her mistress’s pleasure for what seems like an eternity, unable to free herself from servitude and reclaim her own humanity.

Seeker’s latest prey is a Merlin. Named after the legendary wizard of Camelot, Merlins are not simply those who wield


She is known as Seeker. Spellbound by the Faerie Queen, she has abducted human children for her mistress’s pleasure for what seems like an eternity, unable to free herself from servitude and reclaim her own humanity.

Seeker’s latest prey is a Merlin. Named after the legendary wizard of Camelot, Merlins are not simply those who wield magic––they are magic. Now, with the Prometheus Club’s agents and rivals from Faerie both vying for the favor of this being of limitless magic to tip the balance of power, Seeker must persuade the Merlin to join her cause—or else risk losing something even more precious and more important to her than the fate of humankind.…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Elizabeth Bear is talented.”—Entertainment Weekly“Bear makes the rest of us look like amateurs.”—Peter Watts, Author of Behemoth“[Bear] does it like a juggler who’s also a magician.”—Matthew Cheney, The Mumpsimus
The Barnes & Noble Review
Blood and Iron is a departure of sorts for Elizabeth Bear, most renowned for science fiction thrillers featuring the cybernetically enhanced military hero Jenny Casey (Hammered, Scardown, and Worldwired). The first installment in a contemporary fantasy saga -- comparable to Laurell K. Hamilton's Meredith Gentry novels and Charles de Lint's Newford sequence -- Blood and Iron revolves around a centuries-old war between the inhabitants of Faerie and rival mages from Earth (a.k.a. the iron world). Seeker is a changeling in the service of the Mebd, the queen of the Daoine Sidhe. Once a human named Elaine Andraste, Seeker now abducts children and brings them to the Blessed Lands for her queen's pleasure. Her latest and most challenging mission involves tracking down a Merlin, a rare human who embodies pure magic. But there are others seeking the Merlin (a geology professor named Carel Bierce) as well. Matthew Szczegielniak, a human mage, and Kadiska, a Seeker for the Unseelie Court, are wooing the all-powerful Merlin to join their cause. Her choice could mean the end of the Fae -- or the annihilation of humankind… Readers who enjoy sprawling urban fantasy sagas, like the aforementioned Merry Gentry series from Hamilton and Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion sequence, should definitely check out Blood and Iron. In addition to crafting an intricate and compelling story line, Bear should be commended for having the creative cojones to take on a much-trodden subject -- the realm of Faerie -- and to reconstruct an entire mythos in her vision while staying clear of the innumerable preconceived characterizations, histories, etc. A new twist on an old theme: highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
Ancient grudges and ruthless schemes are simply business as usual to the Faerie court in Bear's complex and involving contemporary fantasy. Seeker, formerly Elaine Andraste, is a changeling bound to the Mebd, the queen of the Daoine Sidhe, to find other changelings and bring them to the Faerie court. There, like legendary Tam Lin, and Seeker's own son, Ian, they entertain the queen until she tires of them. Now the queen needs Seeker to find and win the heart of the new Merlin, latest incarnation of a being who, in the hands of the Prometheans, could be used to destroy the Fae. Pragmatic college professor Carel Bierce, the first female Merlin, is not easily swayed by Fae or Promethean advances. Long-forgotten rivalries and unsuspected blood ties arise to tug at Seeker's loyalties, even as the queen promises to free Ian when she succeeds. Campbell-winner Bear (Worldwired) overturns the usual vision of Faerie, revealing the compelling beauty and darkness only glimpsed in old ballads and stories like "Tam Lin." (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In this fantasy featuring the Faerie world, Elaine Andraste is a Seeker, a servant of Queen Mebd of the Daoine Sidhe. Bound to the Queen, the Seeker finds human children and abducts them for the Queen's uses. When the Sidhe discover that a Merlin, a being of pure magic, exists, the Queen enlists the Seeker to find this extraordinary person. Queen Mebd believes that if the Sidhe ally themselves with the Merlin, then they can prevent the destruction of the Faerie. The Prometheus Club, a group of magicians intent on destroying all Faerie, want the Merlin's power to further their own agenda. To everyone's surprise, the Merlin is actually a woman, Dr. Carel Bierce, a geology professor and musician, who doesn't allow the different factions to bully or tempt her. As the Seeker works to entice Carel to support the Daoine Sidhe, Elaine also struggles with many conflicting feelings of a personal nature. The appearance of Elaine's past love, the shapeshifting wolf who is the father of her child, and the fact that Elaine's son is named the Queen Mebd's heir are extremely troubling. The author expertly draws the reader into the Seeker's life and into her inner struggles with love and loyalty. The rich characterization, wide cast of characters, and complex plot structure all weave together to create a highly imaginative read. With Arthurian lore blending with details of the Faerie world, Bear creates an enticing and intriguing fantasy. Fans of Tam Lin will especially appreciate the many references to the famous ballad. Highly recommended for fantasy readers who enjoy intricate plotting and the world of the Faerie. KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, andadults. 2006, Penguin, Roc, 432p., $14.00.. Ages 15 to adult.
—Ginger Armstrong

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Promethean Age Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Originally from Vermont and Connecticut, Elizabeth Bear spent six years in the Mojave Desert and currently lives near Ann Arbor, Michigan. She attended the University of Connecticut, where she studied anthropology and English Literature. She received the 2005 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Author website: elizabethbear.com

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Blood and Iron (Promethean Age Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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PhoenixFalls More than 1 year ago
I do not generally read either Arthurian fantasy or books about the Fae; I read this purely because I have greatly enjoyed Elizabeth Bear in the past and I was able to get a copy cheap. Unfortunately, the book suffered (for me) from too many references that I did not understand. I do not know the ballads everyone talks about and gains their knowledge from, and they weren't provided in an index (which is something I would have recommended to the publisher had they asked my opinion). So throughout the book the characters seemed to be reminding each other of things in shorthand that just went completely over my head. But then there were moments that the characters stopped to explain things to each other in ways that I could understand. . . but because of all the previous references that felt like the author forcing the data dump rather than providing information in a natural fashion. I could not see why some characters knew one thing but not another and vice versa. Three quarters of the way through the novel I was convinced that I would be forced to only rate it two stars, despite my usual enjoyment of Bear's writing. But the ending made up for all lack beforehand. Bear pulled off a brilliant shift in perspective, the climax was heart-wrenching and the denouement, which seemed long when I measured the number of pages left after the final battle, brought the entire emotional story to its proper climax and resolution. In fact, looking back on the experience of the novel, despite all of the issues with the provision of information, the only real flaw it feels like it had was that Matthew seemed a somewhat wasted viewpoint character. Given that he is the feature of another novel in this series, I understand why he is there, but every time it switched to him (which was thankfully rare) I gritted my teeth a bit because his story just wasn't that interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
A changeling, Seeker, once known as Elaine Andraste, travels to the soulless Mebd queen of the Daoine Sidhe in a quest to meet her peers and persuade them to return with her to the Faerie court. At the Daoine Sidhe court, Seeker and her companions entertain the Mebd queen, who has been known to abduct human children for her majesty. The Mebd queen assigns Seeker to find the latest reincarnation of Merlin and bring him to her so that she can win his heart and his loyalty if she wants her son Ian freed from his sudden captivity. --- Seeker understands that if the dangerous Prometheus Club members gain control over Merlin, the fairy realm could be destroyed. She and her compatriots must travel to New York City to locate non-believer, college professor Carel Bierce. However, the first ever female Merlin does not believe in the Fae nor the Prometheans as physics is her magic. That is until she begins seeing and doing the impossible. --- This is a complex fantasy filled with action, deep characterizations, and incredible twists to include Professor Bierce being female. The story line is fast-paced as backstabbing and Machiavellian maneuvers in the Faerie court and the Prometheus Club are the norm. Seeker is a great protagonist whose quest seems impossible to achieve with the most difficult obstacle being the obstinate professor. Modern era fantasy readers will enjoy this strong Promethean Age tale. --- Harriet Klausner