Hell and Earth (Promethean Age Series #4)

Hell and Earth (Promethean Age Series #4)

by Elizabeth Bear

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451463043
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 12/01/2009
Series: Promethean Age Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth Bear is an award-winning author of several novels and short stories.

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Hell and Earth 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
BellaMiaow on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Very satisfying read, as I've come to expect from Bear. While the intrigues could have been explained a bit more (especially on the fae side), I felt a kinship with the characters who were never quite certain as to what was going on. There was much less angst about who might be doing whom in this volume than in the last, which was a relief.
aprillee on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is the sequel to _Ink and Steel_, and readers should definitely start there first. Kit Marley has made a deal with the devil and Will Shakespeare is freed from Hell. But Elizabeth's health is failing, those who intrigue against her are as strong as ever, spreading plague and killing poets such as Spenser who defend the Queen with the magic of their words, and events are echoed in Faerie where Queen Mebd is also threatened by intrigue. Kit continues to act for the Queen of Faerie, as well traveling to London to aid his friends, and he is searching for the killer of Shakespeare's son. He also needs to deal with his past, when he was captured and tortured by the same enemies who threaten the sovereignty of England now.An Elizabethan age, full of plots and treason and dark magic comes alive in this conclusion to The Stratford Man story. Even more marvelous are the characters; aside from Marley and Shakespeare (who are enough to fill any tale by themselves), there are their fellow poets and playwrights, Ben Jonson and George Chapman; there is Burbage and the players; Elizabeth's nobles and ministers--the Cecils, Walsinghams, Oxford, Essex, Raleigh, and various friends and relations. And the creatures of Faerie are also a natural fit to the world of this book, with the Queen and her sister Morgan, Puck, and the sleeping Arthur, and the unquiet trees. There is also Lucifer and an angel. And because words and poetry have power and import, the language is luxurious and quotations abound, making this rich, strange world even more complex and beautiful. There is also not a little action and suspense and a worthy climax or two or three. And there is a necessary Epilogue wherein we are sad and talk of the death of kings... of repentance and salvation.This duology is beautiful and horrific, sorrowful and amusing, gripping and fun. It's well worth a first read along with a second or third. Writing like this is one of the joys of life.
richardderus on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I can't believe I so spectacularly failed to pay attention to the position this book occupies I a series! I am usually completely obsessive about reading series in order. I dislike intensely the feeling of not understanding why something is a climactic moment, when the structure so clearly says that it is...and then, going back to fill in the backstory, I run across the cliffhanger or set-up for the later climax and it's just completely ruined by foreknowledge.Anyway. This is the fourth book of ¿The Promethean Age¿ series Bear wrote in an alternate England still touching the Faerie lands ruled by the Mebd (given to us by Shakespeare, our primary POV character, as Queen Mab). The reason for Queen Elizabeth I's greatness and enduring fame are given as her England's intertwined destiny with Faerie, and her own shadowing of the Mebd's rise to power.Christopher Marlowe, Richard Baines, Ben Jonson, Thomas Walsingham and a host of other factual figures are used cleverly in this fictional story of intrigues resolved and debts of dishonor paid. It's a wonderful, creative beast stitched together like a Faerie bard's patchwork cloak from bits and snatches of fact and hints of facts gleaned by the careful between-the-lines reading of the author. The conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot, which was a Catholic effort to blow King James I and his family to Glory at the opening of a Parliamentary session, are revealed to have been making a Royal sacrifice, one that would spill Royal blood to sustain the order of the Universe as it was and therefore to prevent change from coming to the material world.The dark machinations of the Prometheans are all in service of giving the world a vengeful, angry God that will enforce the power and influence of the Prometheans themselves and their evil legatees The poets and playwrights Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson et alii are allied against the Prometheans in these designs, gifted with the most extraordinary ability to write the world in the image they'd have it take. Their loyalty is to Elizabeth, Gloriana as she was then known to her world, the strongest Royal ruler England was ever to know. Their plays and poems are all calculated to give her reign the full force and power she needs to guide England through its rejection of world-straddling Catholicism and its dominion over Faerie.It's a very frustrating read at first because the book is written in faux-Shakespeearean English, with ¿thee¿ and ¿thou¿ and ¿sitteth¿ heaved around with seeming randomness. The effort I made to read past this stylistic tic was too much, and I would have abandoned ship early on, except I love the story itself. As I slogged on, I realized Bear isn't being random in her use of the old-fashioned English forms. She's pointing up, subtly and nicely (in the oldest sense of that word), the shift that Shakespeare and Marlowe were leading into modern forms of English I shifted from tooth-gritted impatience to a mellower judgment, followed closely by a respectful half-awe at the subtlety of this device and its deployment. Oh, well done, I found myself thinking many times as Lucifer and angel Mehiel and Marlowe would converse Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, here lovers of the most passionate sort, are the only characters who never use anything but the familiar ¿thee¿ to each other. It's exactly right for them. It's so quiet that it might easily go unremarked, but if you read this series, be on the lookout for this trope. It will add something good and large to your appreciation of the writing.Homosexuality. Big topic. I am on record as finding the modern desire to ¿out¿ people in history as ¿gay¿ before such an identity existed as absurd. These men, though, aren't gay in the modern identity sense They're in love with each other, and the married one (Shakespeare) is deeply and lastingly troubled by his infidelity to his wife with Marlowe. They reach an accommodation, one reached by many, many people caught in that situation before and since,
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Two kingdoms in two different worlds but tied together as both ruled by queens bound by magic but each in jeopardy of seeing their regime end. For England¿s Queen Elizbath I, Prometheus Club playwrights Will Shakespeare and Kit Marley risk their lives to keep her safe and on the throne Faerie Queen Mab¿s only wordsmith is Kit who crosses the veil between the two realms, but has other supporters too.------------- However, now even the prominent Prometheus Club members feel the curtain is closing on their Queen. Fearing for England, they argue over whether it is time for a regime change rather than wait for nature to do the inevitable. Kit believes both worlds need their queens to remain in power and seeks allies from both sides to insure this happens as dark magic has surfaced Will is beginning to show his age as he enters the fourth act of life. Humans, faeries, and malevolent monsters want to end the Promethean Age and begin a new eon of darkness.------------- The latest Promethean Age historical fantasy thriller continues the exciting The Stratford Man saga, but series fans need to read INK AND STEEL before HELL AND EARTH to learn how events got to where they are. The story line is fast-paced from the onset yet also contains intriguing references to the real Marlowe and Shakespeare, which in turn makes the magic of their words seem even more genuine as well as their relationship. Elizabeth Bear¿s terrific two-book entry is the Promethean Age at its seditious best with treachery threatening to destroy the reigns Queens Mab and Elizabeth.------------- Harriet Klausner