cover image Hell and Earth

Hell and Earth

Elizabeth Bear, . . Roc, $14 (419pp) ISBN 978-0-451-46218-3

Completing the story of Will Shakespeare and Kit Marley (Christopher Marlowe) begun in 2008's Ink and Steel , Campbell-winner Bear proves again that she can fill a stage as well as any Elizabethan playwright, entwining tragedies of betrayal and blood-soaked revenge with country pastoral and domestic comedy. Will, released from Hell, returns to a mortal court where black magic threatens Queen Elizabeth, and his poetry becomes her bulwark. Kit, bound to a trapped angel, likewise works to discover who in Faerie caused the murder of Will's son, Hamnet. Navigating the tangled intrigues of backstabbing courtiers and malicious magicians, the poets strive to thwart a plot to reshape the world through the power of story. Released on the heels of Ink and Steel , this complex and character-driven tale is best read with the other Promethean Age novels close at hand, not least because it lacks the all-important dramatis personae. (Aug.)