There’s an age-old feud between the land of Faerie and our world. This is nothing new; the fey are capricious, stealing children, stealing minds—and of course, there’s the danger of the wild hunt. But humans haven’t been idle these long years, either: iron, both literally and metaphorically, have been laid down by the Prometheans, an organization of magi, to keep the wild things at bay.
The time of Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron is the 21st century, and the city of New York becomes the center of a war between the magic of the fading Faerie kingdoms and the rising Promethean circle, touched off by the reincarnation of Merlin.
The story of Blood and Iron is very much the story of Elaine, stolen away years ago, and enslaved to one of the queens of faerie as a Seeker, hunting other humans for her queen. It’s an amazing and humbling and magical journey, and turns smartly against the traditional portrayals of the struggle between Faerie and the human world, werewolves, and the legend of King Arthur.
Elaine’s opposite number—the Promethean magus Matthew—seeks to rescue her and bring vengeance down on all of Faerie for what they’ve done to his brother; but for all that, his story is mostly significant in how it plays off Elaine’s. Don’t worry; Whiskey and Water, the second book, completes the set with a turning focus on Matthew.
Although at this moment, Whiskey and Water is not up in the offerings for the Kindle Store, which is a shame. I love this book, but would love it more if I had its sibling. It’s really one half of a glorious modern fairy tale with all the trimmings. Still, Blood and Iron is an enjoyable half. But I’d like some whiskey to go with it.