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Blood and Iron: A Novel of the Promethean Age Paperback – June 27, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel can be read in a number of ways. On one level, it is a fairy tale deeply influenced by classical European (especially Celtic) folk tales and legends, including those regarding vampires, werewolves, and especially those surrounding King Arthur. On a second level, it is a romance, the story of Seeker's affection for the kelpie named Whiskey, her love for the werewolf named Keith (whose betrayal, incidentally, led to her enslavement), and the pain and torment they each endure due to the competition between her feelings, one one hand, and her duties to the faery queen, her son, and faery as a whole, on the other hand.
On the highest level, it is hard not to see the novel as a plea for greater environmental consciousness.Read more ›
The Seeker was once a mortal woman, now bound to serve the Queen of Faerie and charged bringing her the half-blood children from the human world. Seeker chafes against the bonds that hold her, but has no choice when the Queen lays a new geas upon her: to seek out the new Merlin--a being who is magic-- and seduce him into service for the realm of Faerie. But Seeker will have competition in her race to win the prize. Set against Faerie are the human mages of the Prometheus club. If they can convince the Merlin to join their side against the Fae, all of Faerie may be doomed. On the brink of war, this epic story's protagonists and antagonists must make their choices and ultimately watch the story play itself out.
The premise of this story is an interesting one, certainly this is a grand scale sort of epic fantasy, rather than the more intimate urban fantasy I'm used to. I was originally going to rate this only three stars, but to be fair it likely deserves at least three and half to four stars. I've not read Ms. Bear's work prior to this book, so I can't say if this story is indicative of her usual style, but I tend to like books that are more directly about character and less grand epic.Read more ›
Bear weaves together strands of folklore and legend from King Arthur to Tam Lin with her own imaginings to create a compelling vision of Faerie, both terrible and beautiful; it's no wonder the Merlin has difficulty deciding whether to aid Faerie or oppose it. The characters are fiercely memorable, particularly Elaine and her wild Fae companion, Whiskey the kelpie (a shapeshifting water horse). The story is immersive and intricate, full of schemes and rivalries, blood ties and friendships, mystery and sorcery, and the prose is equally complex and allusive. It required some concentration to sink into the narrative, but once I was in, I emerged only with reluctance. This is one of the best books I've read this year, and one of the best treatments of Faerie I've ever read; I await the sequel, _Whiskey and Water_, with great eagerness.
Blood and Iron is the opposite of all that. Instead of being a middle-future military sci-fi, like her first trilogy, her newest book is a modern-day fantasy story. It's the story of a secret war being fought under our noses. On the one side are the forces of the Sidhe, the fairies of British and Celtic mythology. This is not an platoon of Tinkerbells here - these are the fey folk of Tam Lin, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, or Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. These are creatures of glamour and illusion who steal away mortals to use as sport and entertainment.
Ranged against the Sidhe are the humans of the Prometheus Club - a secret society of magicians who guard our world against incursions by the fey. They use the strength and magic of iron to keep the enemies of humanity at bay.
The "war" has recently escalated with the appearance of a Merlin, a person who acts as a source of magic power. Both sides of the war are seeking to identify and court the Merlin, hoping to bring that strength to their side.
Sounds like a fun adventure, right? It could have been. In fact, some individual scenes (including the novel opener) are written with great energy and are truly exciting. But the book just never grabbed me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Vet interesting read. I haven't finished yet, but I am enjoying a trip back to the Fae world.Published 19 months ago by Erin
Quickly moving, engaging,well-written story of the struggle between a modern and strong mage society and the weakened, ancient Fay. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kim Horton
If you are looking for a book about only straight, white men, Elizabeth Bear isn't where to look. If you are looking for a book with reassuring moralistic themes, this isn't it. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Beth
If you are expecting a simple urban fantasy story with mages and faeries, then you are in for quite a shock here. Read morePublished on November 23, 2009 by Ithlilian
I agree with Kevin Quinn's review--I loved Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam for its detailed, believable, likeable characters and tight plotting. Read morePublished on June 29, 2009 by Richard A. Loftus
The chronicle of an invisible war between human Mages and the creatures of Fairie for the control over Earth's destiny.
A fantasy story, which is not my normal read. Read more
Overall, I consider myself a fan of the urban fantasy genre. There are a few authors that I purchase sight unseen because I enjoy all their books. Read morePublished on June 10, 2009 by Barbara S
What fun! A thoroughly detailed universe where the world of (modern) man is linked with the world of the Fae. Read morePublished on April 14, 2009 by Mark Shackelford