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Prospero Lost: Prospero's Daughter, Book I    by L. Jagi Lamplighter order for
Prospero Lost
by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though L. Jagi Lamplighter's urban fantasy Prospero Lost is very loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, it is in many ways - in particular in its portrayal of a feuding family of powerful immortals - reminiscent of Roger Zelazny's Amber series. The family is served by invisible spirits of the air, who contracted with Prospero for a thousand years. Some of these have taken human form, in particular Mab, the 'company's head gumshoe' who appears 'precisely like a detective from a 1940s movie.'

Miranda is a Handmaiden of Eurynome (who often gives her guidance) and has long sought to achieve the highest level of service as a Sibyl. As the story opens, Miranda runs the family business, Prospero Inc., in the absence of her father, who has been busy with projects of his own. Almost accidentally she finds a last message from Prospero (who asks her to warn her siblings of the danger - 'I have unwittingly unleashed powers best kept bound ... Beware the Three Shadowed Ones!'

She summons Mab to help find her six living brothers (a seventh, Gregor, died) and her sister Logistilla. Family members used to work closely together to protect Earth from dangerous spirits, but have gone their own ways since Prospero gave each a Staff of power - the Three demons seek those Staffs. The search takes Miranda and Mab across the United States and into great peril. Prince Ferdinand of Naples, who left Miranda at the altar (and whom she's believed dead for five centuries) comes back into her life, as does attractive elf lord Astreus Stormwind.

Miranda and Mab find her mad brother Mephistopheles, who insists on accompanying them and turns out to be more than he appears. They locate her favorite brother Theophrastus, who has rejected immortality and his family - Miranda wonders if he was influenced by magic to do so. On St. Dismas, after they learn that Logistilla has secrets of her own, Miranda wonders how many of her family members are trafficking with the Devil. And in Father Christmas's mansion at the North Pole, she learns her beloved father's fate, and is offered her heart's desire.

Prospero Lost is an excellent beginning to a most unusual - and recommended - fantasy series. I'm looking forward to its further development in the second part, Prospero in Hell, in which readers are informed they will 'meet the remaining Prospero siblings and many secrets are revealed.'

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