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Hell and Earth

(Promethean Age #4)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  396 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The reigns of two Queens in two different worlds may come to an end. In the iron world, conspiracy and subterfuge within England's royal courts threaten Elizabeth's power. In the Faerie realm, Mab, bound by magic to her sister sovereign, finds herself weakened as well. Now, the fate of two worlds lies in the hands of two clever wordsmiths...

Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Roc Trade
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  396 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Richard Derus
Dec 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Description: Kit Marley and William Shakespeare are playwrights in the service of Queen Elizabeth, employed by the Prometheus Club. Their words, infused with magic, empower Her Majesty's rule. But some of the Prometheans, comprised of England's most influential men and mages, conspire to usurp the Queen.

Able to walk in both worlds, Kit seeks allies to aid him in his mission to protect Elizabeth only to encounter enemies, mortal and monster, who will stop at nothing t
Wow...that was intense, almost breathtaking. As with Ink and Steel, I'm impressed with the author's word craft--what beautiful and delicious turns of phrase. These books have made me crave hearing Shakespearean language again. And I liked how the author played with various aspects of English history.
Kit's journey was harrowing, but satisfying. He was so amazingly courageous. Hoorah for revenge! As I said before, I like him a lot. Not in a book crush way, but like an old friend or favourite cousi
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, paper
Oh. My. God. These are not the books for you if you are intolerant of literary wankery. I would also like to point out that I suspect they will make more sense if you have a grounding in the changing nature of God. If you do love literary fiction, this is an excellent example of the genre.

Oh, the heartbreaking beauty of this book. I devoured it in a day. Which, given that it's a 400-pg book and it was a work day, you can see that I did pretty much nothing else. And political intrigue! And delici
Ben Babcock
So this appears to be the last book, at least for now, of Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age series. The series is actually two loose duologies: Blood and Iron and Whiskey and Water are set in the modern day; Ink and Steel and this book are part of the Stratford Man duology, set in a Faerie-infested Elizabethan England. As my previous reviews of books in this series make clear, I am incredibly ambivalent. Bear’s commitment to detail is obvious, but the sheer intricacy and convoluted nature of h ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2018, favourites
Mesmerising, sensual, enchanting, bittersweet perfection: The second part of the Stratford Man duology possesses all the wonderfully crafted intricacy of outstanding worldbuilding, stunningly beautiful writing, and effortlessly absorbing mixture of Elizabethan theatre and poetry with the myths of faerie of the first book. A delectable feast of imagination and marvelous imagery, and another instant favourite of mine.
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm reviewing this book and Ink and Steel together. Basically the two books are a single story.

These two books are a prequel to the books about the Promethian Age that are set in modern times. These two books are set during the life of William Shakespeare.

In the first book Faerie and England are linked through their two Queens. The poets and play writers of the era are using their language and their poetry to magically shore up Elizabeth I's life and reign. In the second book, it is the reign of
Lee McIlmoyle
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My review HERE should give you some idea of what this second volume of The Stratford Man duology by the inimitable Elizabeth Bear is about.

If you're not interested in making with the clicky, let's just say that, if I knew you personally, and your house had just burned down, taking all of your books with it, and if I showed up after you had found a new place to stay, and I knew you a) liked stories about Shakespeare, b) liked stories about Queen Elizabeth, c) liked stories about the sinister Fae
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in my life. The stunning sequel to Ink and Steel, it takes Kit Marlowe and Will Shakespeare through Elizabethan intrigue, Jacobean drama, riveting magical rituals, and finishing with a Wyld Hunt to end all Wyld Hunts. If you like faeries, historical fiction and intrigue, beautifully written male pairings which include Kit Marlowe/Will Shakespeare, Lucifer/Kit Marlowe, and different kinds of devotion expressed in language powerful enough to make the Bard weep, don' ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A satisfying ending to the Stratford Man duology, as well as a prequel that gives depth to the first two Promethean Age books. Kit Marlowe is a rogue and a romantic, and he fairly leaps off the page. I'm not enamored with Shakespeare but I liked him more in this series that I have in any other fictional retellings.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Weimer
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
William Shakespeare is free from Hell thanks to the love of their mutual lives, the now-Changeling Christopher Marlowe. Kit has lost much, including his name, and William's palsy is a slow death sentence, but both figures, in Faerie and on Earth, cannot rest on their laurels. Elizabeth is dying, and there are those who wish to use her death and the life of her successor to change not only the destiny of England, but the destiny of all realms.

For William Shakespeare and, even more so, Kit Marlow
Laura Navarre
I read this sequel to INK AND STEEL purely for inspiration. There aren't many Tudor paranormal novels out there, and it's the only series I know that blends Tudor historical fiction, fallen angels, Arthurian legend and the Fae, like my own MAGICK trilogy. (MAGICK BY MOONRISE is coming in March 2013 from Harlequin/Carina, yay!) This makes Bear's duology an incredibly fresh and imaginative work.

Set in late Elizabethan England and the early Stuart period, HELL AND EARTH centers around the fictional
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The sequel to Ink and Steel, Hell and Earth is really the concluding section to book 1. I was in two minds whether to read this as aspects of the #1 annoyed me, particularly with respect to style and editing. For me #1 didn't really take off until Act 3. So I was holding my breath when I started this...and then was totally blown away: I would give Hell and Earth a 6* if I could. Unlike #1, archaisms are restricted mainly to speech and editing is much tighter allowing for a much more focused narr ...more
Abi Walton
I needed a little more Kit and Will in this book being together as I felt that is what Ink and Steel was leading up to. I just didn't understand why they didn't get their happily ever after,I think I need to re-read it again to understand better.
The second half of the 'play' of Kit and Will's adventures which started in Ink and Steel but now is Hell and Earth opens in Act 4 with Will back in the mortal realm and Kit getting used to his powers. We see more shadowy plots from the Promethean's as
Tim Hicks
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 stars really. Although to be accurate, maybe 5.5 stars with some quibbles that bring it back down to just below 5.

Don't even think of reading this until you've read "Ink & Steel" - the two form one story.

Bring some knowledge on British history, Faerie, and Lucifer, and bring a large dose of flexibility about sexual preferences.

This is a complex and fascinating story.

I didn't really care for how some of the plot threads were resolved. Richard Baines, for one: big setup, weak resolution
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Similarly to how Ink and Steel set up premises better than Blood and Iron did, Hell and Earth wraps up to a better conclusion than Whiskey and Water.

Bear's ambition is matched only by that of her characters, who plan to save the universe by rewriting the nature of God himself. It's heady stuff, and for the most part, she pulls it off. Plus, there are some great character moments, such as Essex's comeuppance and resolution. Lucifer is one of the most interesting and complex takes on the character
Catherine  Mustread
Complex historical mystery/fantasy involving Shakespeare, Kit Marlowe, Lucifer, British royalty, the Faerie World and more in this second in the Stratford series and last of the Promethean series.  I found this slow moving at the beginning but worth the struggle of continuing.  Perhaps would have been easier had I read the first two books of the Promethean Age series before reading the two in the Stratford Man series which are the prequels to the first two of the Promethean series.

Tied in nicel
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Hell and Earth continues the story begun in Ink and Steel (the first part of the Stratford Man). It lacks the handy guide to the characters that was in the first book, which is more of a problem if you're starting with this one. I wouldn't recommend you do that, though. It was written as one story and only split into two books because of the length, so starting with the second book is like opening a book to the middle and starting there. Unsurprisingly, since it really is all one story, I enjoye ...more
Jeremy Preacher
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
All of the reversals, betrayals, unexpected good fortune, and tragic love a girl could ask for. The Stratford Man as a whole turns out to be a thoughtful exploration of love and loyalty and the nature of storytelling, and comes out to a perfectly satisfying conclusion.

There are some particularly good bits regarding Lucifer - his motives, his methods, and his philosophy, presented wrapped in some rather stunning language and imagery. The Elizabethan idiom throughout worked really well for me - i
Julie Achterhoff
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fraser Sherman
Feb 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I loved Bear's Range of Ghosts but this left me cold. It's set in the Elizabethan age when the great playwright and poets have a magic that can shape the kingdom and faerie hides around every corner. And after about 150 pages I gave up because everyone just seems to sit and think and ponder about whatever's happening rather than reacting with feeling. If I want Elizabethan faeries, I'll stick with Midnight Never Come.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
The second act, so to speak, of Ink and Steel. We've moved on from Marlowe/Shakepseare action to Marlowe/Lucifer action with extra angels and faeries thrown in for fun. To give her credit, her theatre history is good and well researched. On the other hand the whole thing is convoluted and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm not sure I have the patience to try the modern day books in the series to see if any of it ever does make sense.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I tried so hard to finish this on Shakespeare's birthday but, alas, it was not to be (which, I suppose, answers that question).

I loved the Stratford Man duology. I'm not sure which of my friends to recommend it to, but I loved it even more than the first part of the Promethean Age. And I think I may have officially adopted her characterizations of Shakespeare and Marlowe. Especially Marlowe.

Now if I could only figure who to recommend this to...
Keziah Horne
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I haven't been so sad to leave an imagined world for a very long time. Having read all the Promethean Age books, I must say that this is my favourite. Elizabeth Bear's writing is always lush and tactile - she makes reading a true experience.

I very, very rarely re-read books - but I can't wait to start the Stratford Man series again!

(Also, thanks to this book I am now in love with Kit Marley AND Will Shakespeare.)
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
This one must be 3.5 stars, I switched between twice.

The second half of the duology was better than the first. Perhaps it was the desperation of of the Fae to come to a conclusion that showed more clearly in this book. The time is following the death of Elizabeth I, the setting London and Faerie. The struggle will be familiar to anyone with even a little history from this period.
Cyn Armistead
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Except that love comes in different forms. Likes Anne Shakespeares' forgiveness and understanding of her relationship with Will and Kit. How to survive coming back from hell. All this before the first one hundred pages.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I need to reread it. I hardly ever reread anything but i read this and the companion so slowly I'm not sure that it all penetrated. Not to even mention that Elizabeth Bear is beyond me anyway although one of my favorites. Kit Marley lived for me. Totally.
Martha Samsell
I enjoyed the Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth series. It was interesting because it was a murder mystery. The main character is murdered and is conjured up and solves his own murder. I would recommend the series to everyone.
An enjoyable book, though not as excellent as earlier books in the series. Worth reading to sort out all the loose ends.
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Other books in the series

Promethean Age (5 books)
  • Blood and Iron (Promethean Age, #1)
  • Whiskey and Water (Promethean Age, #2)
  • Ink and Steel (Promethean Age, #3)
  • One-Eyed Jack (Promethean Age, #5)