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Blood and Iron: A Novel of the Promethean Age by Elizabeth  Bear
Review by Harriet Klausner
Roc Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0451460928
Date: 27 June, 2006 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Seeker and several companions travel to the Daoine Sidhe to meet with the soulless Mebd queen. She hopes to convince other changelings to return with her to the Faerie court, but doubts any will. At the Daoine Sidhe court, The Mebd Queen knows the new Merlin is on the human side. She orders Seeker to find the latest reincarnation and bring him to her realm so that she can steal his heart and his loyalty. Seeker knows she has no choice besides the magical oath of allegiance; she must do the deed successfully if she is see her beloved son Ian freed from his captivity.

Seeker and her compatriots do their highness' bidding so are in New York City searching for Merlin as the same time that the dangerous Prometheus Club members also want to control Merlin, as they feel he is the key to finally ending the war victoriously with the destruction of the fairy realm. When she finally finds Merlin, Seeker is stunned because the latest reincarnation is a non-believing skeptic, college professor Carel Bierce. Physics is the only magic that Professor Bierce believes in, until the impossible occurs as Bierce is pulled in two directions in a tug of war with Seeker and her squad on one side and Prometheans on the other.

Blood And Iron is an exciting extremely complex urban fantasy that never slows down whether the action is in the streets of Manhattan or in the Fairy realm yet contains deep characterizations, and incredible twists. Like everyone else involved in the search for Merlin, readers will be as stunned with the switch that cleverly works causing plans to be revised as no one expected this or knows what it means (though each side puts their spin to it).

Seeker is a terrific heroine who is enthralled to serve the Mebd Queen's will and though she has abducted human children for her mistress readers will understand why. She is methodical as she goes about her latest assignment, but also fears the backstabbing that is the norm at home might keep her from freeing her son even if she brings Merlin to Mebd. Her son is a pawn to keep her active in the greater war. Machiavelli looks like a kindergarten kid when it comes to double triple and infinite crosses in the rivals camps. Seeker knows from experience to protect her back at all times as much from friend as foe for one dies if they let their guard down.

However, she has perhaps her most difficult assignment ever as the objective of her latest abduction; Professor Bierce is stubborn and bewildered by what happened to the once perfect physical world. The academic cannot comprehend what can defy the laws of physics or why the quest of two armed camps preparing for what both sides believe is the final battle after centuries at war; assuming victory is theirs especially if they control the magician. Fans of contemporary era fantasy will immensely appreciate this powerful Promethean Age thriller.

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