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Prospero Lost (Prospero's Daughter) (Tor Fantasy) [Mass Market Paperback]

L. Jagi Lamplighter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Aug 2010 Tor Fantasy (Book 1)
More than four hundred years after the events of Shakespeare's "The Tempest", the sorcerer Prospero's daughter Miranda has attained everlasting youth through the water of life, a gift she shares with her father and her other siblings. Miranda is the head of her family's business, Prospero Inc., which secretly has used its magic for good around the world for hundreds of years. While at work, Miranda receives a message from her father: 'Beware the Three Shadowed Ones'. When Miranda seeks her father, he is nowhere to be found. Miranda sets out on a quest to find her father, reuniting along the way with her estranged siblings. Each sibling holds a staff with a unique magical power, and each knows secrets about Miranda's sometimes foggy past. As she learns the truth about herself and her family, her quest becomes clearer. Her journey through the past, present, and future will take her to Venice, Chicago, the Caribbean, Washington, D.C., and the North Pole. For help on her quest Miranda brings Mab, an aerie being who presents itself as a tough-as-nails hard-boiled detective, and works for Prospero, Inc.; Mephistopheles, her mentally unbalanced brother; and her magical flute, an enchanted device capable of casting spells and controlling the aerie spirits. As if the supernatural creatures who pursue them aren't dangerous enough, Miranda's task is complicated by the sudden reappearance of her first true love, who left her standing at the altar after the conclusion of "The Tempest".

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (4 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765358832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765358837
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 10.6 x 16.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,646,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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 cliff-hanger ending will leave readers panting for sequels." Publishers Weekly, starred review." --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

L. JAGI LAMPLIGHTER lives with her family in northern Virginia, where she is working on the sequel to "Prospero Lost."


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very enjoyable 13 July 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'll start by saying I loved this book - completely loved it! It uses the characters from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' in a unique and clever way (and don't worry, if you only have vague recollections of the play from school, as I did, you will still definitely follow what is going on.)

It's set in modern times, over 400 years after the events of the Tempest (which in this book is a 'mostly accurate' telling of what really happened.) Prospero and Miranda have managed to attain eternal life and set up a company. The book starts when Miranda reads a hidden message from her father saying that he may be in trouble and she should warn the rest of the family - for Prospero has been busy since the events of the play and has since fathered 7 other children!

Accompanied by her reluctantly faithful servant Mab (a brilliant character reminiscent of 40s hard-boiled detectives) Miranda sets off to find her siblings, including Mephisto, her delightful yet mentally-unbalanced and sometimes disturbing brother.

What follows is a hilarious and entertaining romp with many exciting action set pieces. We meet all sorts of mythological beasties - faeries, elves, demons, and even Father Christmas.

I loved how Lamplighter incorporated literary ideas from Dante and Marlowe (I'm sure other readers will spot more) as well as different interpretations on the Bible creation story and others. While this could have produced a jumbled mess (and occasionally I did feel the segues into reminiscing on the family history, which draws from all these sources, to be slightly disjointed) overall the ideas all blended together to give a delightful and clever novel.

According to the cover, this book will appeal to fans of Roger Zelazny - I have never read his work but as a major fan of this book I will go and give it a go because if it's anything like this I'm sure I'll love it. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A movie in the making... 1 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover
Thanks to L. Jagi Lamplighter for writing the best novel I have read in ages! And you have to agree it would make an excellent movie! Just picture it, as I did: Kate Blanchett as Miranda, Anthony Hopkins as Prospero, Jeremy Irons as Theo, Russell Crowe (or, ok) Gary Oldman as Mab, Hugh Jackman (or) Gerard Butler as Astreus, Ralph Fiennes as Erasmus, Christian Bale as Gregor, and the incomparable Johnny Depp as Mephisto! Ahhh, sublime. I hope someone takes notice of this great opportunity for cinema bliss. I can't wait for Book II. Thank you L. Jagi Lamplighter! I am a poet of Donkey poems (the best of companions!) Hey L. Jagi Lamplighter, any chance of immortalizing these wonderful animals in the series?!

Best reading to all,

Jenny L. Bates
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting secret history 1 Oct 2009
By Kirsten A. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The cover is certainly very snazzy, but it's a bit misleading: it implies a kind of evocative, lush-language'd Dunsany-esque sort of story. The which this isn't: if fantasy had space operas, that's what it'd be. Which doesn't mean there aren't moments of magical beauty--there are--but they're the leaven (and the story rises higher for them), not the meat.

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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot to like 30 Dec 2010
By Druid63 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An intriguing plot, well delineated characters, with personal and moral growth, and good development of personal insight. A most interesting family dynamic. Not to mention a sound knowledge of Shakespeare and various mythologies. Technically Ms Lamplighter's prose is fluid and unselfconscious. That is to say it does not intrude between reader and story. On the downside, I would advise her to pay more attention to the sage advise of 'show, don't tell'. Far too much, about a full star's worth, of prose exposition in lieu of allowing the story to do the work. Stephen Donaldson's early Thomas Covenant books had the extremely annoying flaw of hyper-vocabularism like he was joined at the hip with his Roget's. He grew out of that in a big hurry and I have high hopes that Ms. Lamplighter will similarly develop the patience needed to avoid excessive exposition. May she make it a personal crusade to eliminate shortcuts. Her books may be longer but they will be more readable, more entertaining and more rewarding for her readers.

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.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Contemporary Fantasy debut 4 Aug 2009
By Jvstin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Shakespeare is a very common subject for fantasy. The fact that he has some fantasy within his own plays has proven inspirational to other authors using him and his works as inspiration for their own stories. I've read and am aware of a number of these. Sarah Hoyt's trilogy involving Shakespeare's interactions with Faerie. Elizabeth Willey's trio of novels had a Prospero as a sorcerer and estranged part of a world-spanning family, creating a land instead of exile on an island. My friend Elizabeth Bear has mined this territory in the back half of her Promethean Age novels (although she is as much a fan of Kit Marlowe as Shakespeare).

Into this field has waded L. Jagi Lamplighter. Her husband is John C. Wright, whose own style and tastes range from the Golden Age trilogy, through the Orphans of Chaos trilogy, to, of all things, a sequel to a Van Vogt novel. It would be a mistake to think, though, that Lamplighter's style and sensibilities are a clone of her husband.

No, what she has created in Prospero's Lost is quite different. Modern Day, Our Earth Fantasy is very common these days, but it seems that every other book in the F/SF section is a Vampire novel, one way or another. Fantasy is in ascendancy over Science Fiction, and Vampires are leading over other types of fantasy.

Thankfully for me, Prospero's Lost is a fantasy of a different type. It might be helpfully be classified as a Secret Arcane History. In Lamplighter's universe, there is a hierarchy of arcane beings with the detail and complexity of a Gnostic universe. The novel's heroine, Miranda, tangles and meets with demons, elves, elementals, magicians, and even Santa Claus (a depiction that reminded this reader of the Narnian version as much as traditional depictions). There are references to unicorns, angels, and other beings between Man and God. The universe is a Christian universe and Protestant-Catholic theology comes into the plot, however, Lamplighter effectively populates the spaces between Demons, Man, Angels and God. Most people in this world have no idea of these beings, of course. In that sense, I wonder if Lamplighter has read the RPG Nobilis for some inspiration on the complex mythology.

The story is the growth and development of Miranda.Devoted daughter of her father, Prospero, ageless and virginal, the disappearance of her father spurs her out, in true Hero fashion, from the comfort of her home to find her diasporatic siblings, in a quest to find (and save) her father. Along the way, in a fashion that reminded me a bit of Pratt and De Camp, we have an elemental modeled along the lines of a noir detective, a modern day Circe, an aging demon hunter, hell hounds, narrow escapes, adventures and Christmas Dinner at the House of Santa Claus. Flashbacks, that help establish the characters and their motivations. And the Three Shadowed Ones and the mystery of just what happened to the patriarch of the clan.

Okay, I've gotten this far without invoking Mr. Zelazny but I will now. Lamplighter is a fan of Zelazny (she cut her teeth on the ADRPG) and although these are new characters, on a Secret History Earth, the influence of Zelazny on this novel is similar to, say, the aforementioned Elizabeth Willey novels. The author clearly has read and loved Roger's work (like her husband does) and it has flavored this work (again, like John's Orphans of Chaos). It was a conscious effort on my part to decide that the Circe-like sister to Miranda "is definitely not Fiona after all". So don't come to this book looking explicitly for Jack of Shadows or Corwin analogues, but people who devour Zelazny's oeuvre will definitely appreciate Lamplighter's sensibilities and writing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some rough magic 7 May 2013
By Clay Kallam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every time you think "Prospero Lost" (Tor, $24.99, 347 pages) is going to finally just go too far and tip over the edge of barely plausible into too dumb to read, L. Jagi Lamplighter pulls the book back from the brink and keeps on rolling.

The setup is pretty complex, but it boils down to this: The characters in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" were real, and were indeed in command of some serious magic. On top of that, the mythic world of gods and demons and spirit powers is also real (though the different traditions are conflated into a system that almost appears to make sense). Prospero (who's offstage during this entire book), Miranda, Ariel and Ferdinand have also managed to survive, through various means, into the 21st century, and Miranda and Prospero run a corporation based in a drafty old house in Oregon.

But Prospero has disappeared, and Miranda, his daughter, must try to find him. First, though, she has to contact her siblings (none of whom were in "The Tempest"), and that takes some detective work. So what you've got is Shakespeare's characters living in the here and now, dealing with magic and myth, and trying to solve a mystery. In volume one, Lamplighter holds it all together, and it's a fine ride - and if she can keep it going in book two, we've got a winner on our hands.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow 29 Aug 2010
By Terrell T. Gibbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The concept is interesting--Prospero of Shakespeare's Tempest has survived to the present day, and with Miranda and a long list of subsequent children, has worked behind the scenes to control the excesses of chaotic nature spirits, binding or bribing them to the service of his company, Prospero, Inc. Unfortunately, the execution of the book falls a bit short of the concept. The characters are not all that terribly engaging, and the story is one of those meandering "meet the characters" quests that is just not that exciting. I think that it would probably have worked better if more tightly edited, but the story strains to carry the weight of its 427 pages, and by the end of the book it seems that very little has been accomplished except to establish (only part of) the cast of characters for what looks like it may be a very lengthy series.
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