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Whiskey and Water: A Novel of the Promethean Age, Bk. 2 Paperback – July 3, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Trade (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451461495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451461490
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,703,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Addressing such wide-ranging topics as absolution, kindness and cruelty, Bear mixes classic and modern supernatural archetypes to craft a beautiful tale whose reach exceeds its grasp. Seven years after the antifairy Promethean Society was nearly destroyed (as chronicled in Blood and Iron), Fae, devils and humans begin further duels for power and their immortal souls. Seeking vengeance, Christopher Marlowe leaves Lucifer's household and challenges the Promethean Mage Jane Andraste to a duel. Meanwhile, Lucifer enrages Satan by requesting an audience with God, and Àine, the queen of the Unseelie Court, tries to unseat Jane's granddaughter, Elaine, as Faerie Queen. These battles occur simultaneously, straining the reader's ability to keep track of each character's multiple machinations. In fact, so many fabulous characters appear (Morgan le Fey, Fionnghuala, the archangel Michael, etc.) that the book desperately needs a complete list of its dramatis personae and their multiple aliases to give the reader a fighting chance to fully enjoy this idiosyncratic fantasy. (July)
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From Booklist

Seven years after Matthew ended the age-old war between the Prometheans and Faerie, matters are heating up again. Promethean archmage Jane Andraste is trying to rebuild her power, starting with some new apprentices. The Faerie queen rests uneasily on her throne, with both her son and Cat Anna, queen of the unseelie fae, plotting to take her place. The devils of Hell grow tired of damnation, and play their own mysterious roles in the whole matter. A certain poet, lately of Hell, has left to seek personal revenge. As protector of New York, Matthew no longer controls his own power yet does what he can. After he's first on the scene at a murder that looks like a fae matter, he tangles with Jane again, trying to prevent her from using the killing as pretext for renewed war with Faerie. A byzantine plot, in which politics become ever more complex, and fascinating, occasionally infuriating, never-dull characters make this a worthy successor to Blood and Iron (2006). Schroeder, Regina

More About the Author

I tell stories. I prefer the mountains to the desert, and rain to sun. My eyes are blue. I like flying on airplanes, but they keep making the seats smaller.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By April on July 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This sequel follows the former Promethean Mage, Matthew, scarred and adrift after the events of the first book. It's seven years later and Faerie is being framed by someone for the murder of humans--in an attempt to start up a war--or two. Part of the complex intrigue involves Heaven and Hell--represented by the tough female angel Michael and the melancholy Morningstar, who is one of many literary devils who reign in Hell. Other players are Kit Marlowe (the poet/playwright pal of Shakespeare), and various seelie and unseelie fae, humans, with a sprinkling of werewolves and devils.

The narrative jumps about amongst the huge cast of characters a bit too much for me. I was less able to become involved in any one thread or character. Plus the fact that most characters are totally playing the game and emotions seem muted in them all, despite some horrific events. And they seemed to change allegiances and plots right and left. At any rate, I enjoyed this book less than the last.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jvstin VINE VOICE on July 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Whiskey and Water is the second book in Elizabeth Bear's Promethean Age novels about a resurgence of Faerie and their conflicts with Mages in modern day NYC.

I loved Blood and Iron, the first book in this series, which was set around a fateful Halloween Night when the power of Faerie was unleashed in a visible and risble way, as conflicts between Faerie and the Promethean Mages, as well as riven divisions within Faerie led to the inescapable revelation to the modern world that Faerie was real, after all.

Of course this conflict has been at great cost for all of its participants, even the winners, and it is seven years later that we take up their stories again. Matthew Szczegielniak still teaches classes and has turned his back on his power. Jane Andraste, Maga, is about the only other Mage in NY of note that's left. Her half-fae daughter Elaine sits on the painful throne of the Seelie. Whiskey, the water elemental who holds Elaine's soul is still abroad...

And a series of murders by a Fae introduce us to new characters. Don, the cop who finds a connection with these sorcerous characters. Jewels and Geoff, young kids who quickly get in over their head.

Oh, and Kitten, aka Kit, aka Christopher Marlowe, ready to be released from Hell and walk abroad in Faerie and the world. Oh, and of course, the Devil. More than one, in fact.

And so with the players named, the tale is told and told well. The consequences of conflicts from the first book play out, and in addition to Faerie and the mundane world, Bear introduces us to a third realm in this book--Hell.

The book shouldn't be read by anyone who hasn't read B&I (and why haven't you read that,hmmm?).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Bear, Whiskey and Water (Roc, 2007)

The war between Faerie and the Prometheans ended in an uneasy truce when Matthew Szczegielniak, the man with the most unpronounceably heroic name in all of fantasy literature (yes, that does include Moorcock's improbably-named characters), turned coat and destroyed the Prometheans' world-breaching bridge. That was seven years ago. (If you missed it, you can read about it in Blood and Iron, the first tale in this duology, which is in itself, the first half of a two-part series on the Prometheans, with the second half comprised of Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth.) Needless to say, the powers that be, the powers that aren't but want to be, and a handful of the powers who were and are no more have all been working behind the scenes during this peace, and everything's about to come to a crux at the beginning of Whiskey and Water.

The novel opens with Matthew, protector of New York in name only these days, finding himself at the scene of a murder that has the air of faerie about it. Jane Andraste, Matthew's old boss, has been trying to rebuild her power base since the war, and sees the murder as an opportunity to declare open war on faerie again. But Faerie and the Prometheans have never been the only pieces on the board, and that is even more true here. Matthew is a rogue faction himself, with allies everywhere but not enough power to form them into a solid alliance. Faerie itself is only loosely held together, with the Cat Anna, the Unseelie queen, plotting to overtake the Faerie throne just as Harry, daughter of the current queen, does the same. And Lucifer, the ruler of Hell, switches alliances as often as humans change their underwear.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Elizabeth Bear's headspinning "Whiskey and Water" is a crazily overpopulated sequel to her "Blood and Iron." It's overwhelming. Stuffed with dueling devils (Satan and Lucifer are separate characters and Mephistopheles is hinted at), werewolves and vampires and waterhorses (the Whiskey of the title has two meanings here), unicorns and dragons, and the Fae, to say nothing of perytons and something called a bunyip, it's both a tribute to fairytales and a literary critique of them.

The novel takes place seven years after the events of the previous book, and now Jane Andraste, the head of what's left of the Prometheans (she lost a war to an army of the Fae led by her own daughter Elaine, who's now their queen) is busy rebuilding her forces in order to take one more whack at her daughter's forces. Once again Matthew Magus tries to stop her.

A great deal of the action takes place in New York City, which seems to have survived the dragon attack that occurred in the climax to "Blood and Iron." And--as only New Yorkers can--the citizenry seems to have shrugged at the idea that dragons do exist and has moved on. (One of the Fae has even made the cover of "Time.")

All in all, the book's almost as much fun as the first volume, although it does bog down a bit in places (things screech to a stop for a ratatouille recipe) and several of the exhausting parade of characters--many of whom spend the time finding ways to betray each other-- might have been left out. But on the whole it's a satisfying tale. 4.5 stars.

NOTES AND ASIDES: In one scene a character sports a tee shirt reading "Science Fiction Is Dead." I hope this doesn't mean that proflific Ms. Bear is done writing in that genre. She's very good at it.
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