Miranda and her esteemed brothers plumb the very depths of Hell to rescue their father, Prospero, in Prospero Regained, the brilliant page-turning finale to L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Prospero’s Daughter trilogy. But before Miranda can search for her father, she must first travel through the different Dantean cirlces of Hell to locate all of her brothers, who got scattered all around by the Hellwinds she conjured up with her magical flute in the previous book (Prospero In Hell).
Miranda has been in control of her father’s company, Prospero, Inc., for five hundred years in this trilogy, which is loosely based upon William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. Among other things, the Prospero family has carried the responsibility to make sure the natural, man-made, and magical calamities that have befallen man are not as calamitious as they would have otherwise been. The family are the protectors of mankind. But over the centuries, the once close-knit family has split apart, and thus their power has been weakened. It’s up to Miranda to bring the family back together again, including her father…who is scheduled to be executed on the night of Twelfth Night by Lilith, the demonic Queen of Air and Darkness, unless Prospero’s children can save him in time.
Two of Miranda’s brothers have managed to stick by her side: the irascible Erasmus, and Gregor, who once was a pope and is still holy. Another companion who was not blown away is Mab, the northeast wind, an elemental to whom Prospero gave a human form and who developed a soul as a result. He is a sort of Philip Marlowe character, a sleuth who carries notebooks with him to write down clues and the names of potential people in Miranda’s family who might be the traitor that they’ve been warned is in their midst.
Miranda can no longer call upon the mysterious Lady of her former religious order for aid anymore, as she is no longer a virgin, having been defiled by a demon in Prospero In Hell. This loss has ramifications for her entire family, since, as a handmaiden to the Lady, Miranda had been able to make a once-a-year- pilgrimage to a well and obtain a special type of water that would prolong the lives of her and her family. As long as she continued to have access to the water, she and her family would be practically immortal, though they could be killed by means other than old age.
Miranda is furthermore trying to learn more about who her mother was, having been told that she may have been the witch, Sycorax–who was also the mother of Caliban, which means he may be her brother. She can’t help but wonder if she is Sycorax’s daughter and if Prospero has been using her as a pawn her entire life. This is a question that she has both been trying to answer and fearing to know.
Miranda’s brothers continue to argue and bicker even as Miranda attempts to rescue them and their father. Erasmus, in particular, doesn’t trust Miranda at all, and believes that when she unleashed the Hellwinds, she did it deliberately to split up the family throughout Hell. He loathes Miranda, and reasons that if anyone is a traitor in their family, it probably is her. How he can maintain this false conviction despite her attempts to bring the family back together is beyond me, but his faulty reasoning and his tellings of past sword battles he and other brothers engaged in make for some fascinating reading.
Lamplighter, whom I interviewed previously for Boomtron, is one of today’s best fantasy authors or authors of any genre, IMHO. In particular, I am impressed by how the author incorporates so many various references to mythology, legends, and literature throughout the entire trilogy. I am a fan of Dante’s Inferno and his Divine Comedy in general, and it remains rich fodder for people to borrow from even today, as Lamplighter proves. Also, the titles of the first and third books are another homage, to Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
Prospero Regained is a epic, page-turning journey of fantasy that will leave you breathless. It, and the entire Prospero’s Daughter trilogy, ranks as one of the greatest sustained achievements of modern-day literature. I would say that it can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but that it would be best to read the entire series, to get some background before you read this one. I highly recommend Prospero Regained and the entire trilogy to anyone who loves reading fantasy novels.