Ms. Bear has immersed herself in Shakepearean times: the prose, the land- and city-scapes, the history, the characters and, of course, the plays.
She (for an American brought up in the desert) seems to have a glorious affinity with the Elizabethan world of olde England - with its pubs and bear pits and teetering houses and festering "rookeries".
Both Shakepeare and Marlowe's work resonate through these books - as a complex plot mixing history and fantasy works its way through the London of Shakepeare's time, the realm of Faerie and the occasional visit to the (delightful?) Lucifer in Hell. [He does seem an awfully nice chap.]
Thoroughly recommended for all lovers of alternate history mixed with a little (entirely believable) magic.