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Prospero Lost: Prospero's Daughter, Book I Hardcover – August 4, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Lamplighter's powerful debut draws inspiration from Shakespeare and world mythology, infused with humor and pure imagination. Four centuries after the events of The Tempest, Prospero's daughter Miranda runs Prospero Inc., a company with immense influence in the supernatural world. When she discovers a mysterious warning from her father, who has gone missing, Miranda sets forth accompanied by Mab, an Aerie Spirit manifested as a hard-boiled PI, to warn her far-flung, enigmatic siblings that the mysterious Shadowed Ones plan to steal their staffs of power. Every encounter brings new questions, new problems and a greater sense of what's at stake. Featuring glimpses into a rich and wondrous world of the unseen, this is no ordinary urban fantasy, but a treasure trove of nifty ideas and intriguing revelations. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers panting for sequels. (Sept.)
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"A truly original take on Shakespeare's The Tempest. Should appeal to fans of Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber series." - Best Selling author Kage Baker."
Top customer reviews
Imagine that Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, was actually one of his histories--a secret history ruthlessly suppressed by the Dan-Brownian Orbis Humanis society. Imagine that Miranda's story didn't end with her marriage to Ferdinand, but began when her magician father bound her in service to the goddess Euronyme to gain immortality for himself and his family; that Prospero didn't destroy his books but transformed them into the tools of power that would grant his children dominion over the powers of the earth.
Now start the story four hundred years later, with a cool and wealthy CEO-magician finding a mysterious message written in secret phoenix-fire letters: "I have woken evil powers! Warn the family! Beware the Shadowed Ones!" This is Miranda Prospero, whose global corporation acts as intermediary between the world of myth, demons, angels, powers and principalities and an unwitting humanity which has for centuries been kept (mostly) safe from them. The corporate jet (for example) is magic-enhanced, which helps (a bit) when the dragon attacks. The adventures begin when the icily virgin Miss Prospero discovers that it's not enough to send one of her airy indentured servants (the Aerie Ones themselves would say "slaves") to investigate her father's possible disappearance--the woken power (or powers) attack her in her home, destroying part of it and stealing a potent weapon. Thus begins her world-spanning quest to find her father, and warn her estranged brothers. Monster island, gates to hell, faery revels--it's all here.
What I enjoyed most about the book was, of course, the secret world--I love how the insane Prospero family's story reveals the magical world underlying our own, and how Lamplighter interweaves both pagan and Christian mythology. In one chapter we have the teind to Hell juxtaposed with Santa Claus--and it works. I love all the supporting cast, especially Miranda's hard-boiled detective Mab, a North wind enfleshed to serve Prospero, Inc, who's lived as bond-servant in the U.S. long enough to have developed some revolutionary ideas about their master-servant relationship. Miranda I like rather less well: but as an immortal young woman, emotionally trapped as the 16-year-old bride abandoned by her fiancé at the altar, sworn to virginity as the price of her powers--and quite possibly bound as terribly as the aerie servants to serve Prospero's whims--she's clearly got a boat-load of maturing to do. Right now I don't think she deserves either of her would-be demon lovers (even if neither one is as he seems)
Fair warning: this is only the first book of a three book series. The good news? Books two and three are already written: they just need to work their way through the editing/publishing process.
With respect to Miranda's life-long frustration at failing to achieve Sybilhood, well there's just one hint too many. Our Miranda is no dum-dum and even if ensorcereled by daddy she really should have figured it out for herself a long time ago.
Just about to plunge into Prospero in Hell, and hoping to offer a 4 star review. Speaking of which, to put a 3 star rating in perspective, it includes much of the work of not-so-shabbies like Agatha Christie, Piers Anthony and CJ Cherryh. 4 stars would be for the best of the aforementioned Donaldson, Tolkien, Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler.
Regret 5 stars are reserved for the Masters: John LeCarré, Pauline Reagé, William Gibson, Tanith Lee, Doris Lessing, Umberto Eco, Orhan Pamuk and others that are so real and so gripping they are almost too hard to read.