Second in L. Jagi Lamplighter’s series tracing the convoluted relationships of the Family Prospero, their magical allies, enemies and servants, Prospero in Hell centers on the continued efforts of the magician’s daughter Miranda to find her father. A chain of clues implicates at least one member of her essentially immortal family. Suspects also include an Elven lord who fathered the spirits of air presently under Miranda’s command, as well as other more overtly sinister forces. As the title implies, indications point to Prospero being held captive in hell.
Eldest of a dozen siblings, Miranda is in charge of the family business, Prospero, Inc. Caught between dealing with company, personal and global crises, Miranda balances rescuing Prospero while ascending her spiritual path as devotee of a goddess. To reach that pinnacle she may need to relinquish one of her most prized magical possessions and abilities—and place the world at risk. Suspicion engulfs her; treachery surrounds her. By novel’s end, Miranda must reunite her shattered family, and cope with some of the greatest losses she has ever feared.
Miranda lives on an Earth where all mythical realities, divinities and creatures coexist. Beings as diverse as angels, demons, elementals and elves assist or hinder her on her interconnected quests. Gods and goddesses from many pantheons, fairies, Santa Claus, familiars and flying carpets, even relics of Christian significance, each have parts to play. Lamplighter’s writing is intricate and full of lovely (or terrifying) descriptions of landscapes, interiors and characters. The action moves briskly, suspenseful whether Miranda is soaring above a frozen landscape, facing a perversely seductive incubus or battling an evil djinn or genie—and even deadlier creatures. As she learns more about the provenance of her beloved flute and Prospero’s disturbing secret history, the story’s tension ratchets higher.
Lamplighter creates a daring pastiche of Shakespeare, giving Miranda a courageous attitude toward physical, mystical or sexual perils. At the same time, the character’s knowledge of magic and use of arcane tools like her staff-flute, metaphysical texts and ancient, esoteric weaponry make her five centuries of life believable. Readers who favor series saturated with sophistication and interlocking mythologies will eagerly consume this newest lap on Miranda’s race to save Prospero and the world.