cover image Whiskey and Water: A Novel of the Promethean Age

Whiskey and Water: A Novel of the Promethean Age

Elizabeth Bear, . . Roc, $14 (431pp) ISBN 978-0-451-46149-0

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)