Queen Elizabeth is on the throne of England. Sorcerers are determined to destroy England but a group of men belonging to the Prometheus Club are working on stopping them. Kit Marley is a poet, playwright and a spy with this group. His primary job is to craft plays that have subtle magic in them to influences the masses. When he is killed, his friend, William Shakespeare, is asked to take his place. Though Will does not think he has the talent of Kit, he agrees.
Kit in the meantime wakes up in the Faerie court. Morgan, sister to Queen Mab of the Faeries, has resurrected him by enchantment for her own purposes. Now, Kit has been asked to pledge his allegiance to Queen Mab while he still holds his allegiance to Queen Elizabeth. Finding that for short periods of time, he can transverse into his old world, Kit returns to ask his release from Queen Elizabeth and to find out who ordered his death. Kit works with Will to find the traitor.
Will has several things going on besides writing. He has a wife and family back in Stafford who he misses. Kit has asked him to check on a young woman and her son, which may also be Kit’s son. Will also works with the Prometheus Club to keep Queen Elizabeth’s reign strong.
I found this books basic idea very interesting. Two queens ruling two different worlds using magic, skill and wit to stay in power had factions trying to bring them down or keep them there. That these queen’s rule was intertwined was even better. What I found was so much going on that I had some trouble keeping all the players straight.
The writing style of this book was a combination of old and modern. This took some getting use to as most books are not written this way. While some of the dialog is very similar to other historical novel…”Breathe”, the ancient Queen whispered in his ear, “You’ll need you wits about you, Sir Kit, for I can offer thee but small protection, and my sister the Queen is devious.”….other dialog is reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth’s time……”Fair face of a witch you are,” he answered with a stab at good humor. “Without herbs or simples better than brandy to dull a man’s pain.” Regardless, it took me a while before I was able to read this story with any clarity and enjoyment.
The main characters, Kit and Will, are very well developed. Though Kit is going back and forth between the Faerie world and England, his loyalty to his queen is evident as well as his desire for the truth to be told. Will trying to fulfill his obligations to the Promethean Club as well as his obligations to his wife and family causes him problems that have no good solutions. Still, you watch as Kit and Will try to do what is right hoping for the best in a complex and dangerous world.
This is not a book that you’re going to be able to read in an afternoon on the beach nor is it a book that younger readers should read. Because the plot is very complex with lots of things going on, you need to pay attention to what is going on. Besides a lot of violence, there are some sexual scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers.
On the heels of Hell and Earth...
Kit Marley, playwright and spy in the service of Queen Elizabeth, has been murdered. His true gift to Her Majesty was his way with words, crafting plays infused with a subtle magic that maintained her rule. He performed this task on behalf of the Prometheus Club, a secret society of nobles engaged in battle against sorcerers determined to destroy England. Assuming Marley's role is William Shakespeare— but he is unable to create the magic needed to hold the Queen's enemies at bay.
Resurrected by enchantment in Faerie, Marley is England's only hope. But before he can assist Will in the art of magic, he must uncover the traitor among the Prometheans responsible for his death...