NESFA Members' Reviews

coverProspero's Children

by Jan Siegel

A book review by Mark L. Olson

Del Rey, 1999, 348 pp, $24.00

This has been called a refreshingly different fantasy. Well, that's mostly right.

A 16-year-old girl and her brother are spending the summer in the Yorkshire house left to them by an uncle. Their widowed father is away on business, but his latest girlfriend is spending the summer with them. Evidently she's after something and after the girl meets and befriends a wandering old man who says he's an immortal ex-wizard, she learns that her uncle had possessed a talisman from Atlantis and her father's girlfriend is a powerful witch who is looking for it.

This whole section - the first half of the book - is excellent. It's first-rate modern fantasy with some truly creepy sections and a most effective evocation of magic and the mysterious.

Unfortunately, Siegel couldn't leave well enough alone and added a second half to the book where the girl travels back to Atlantis to set things right and has a fairly routine set of fantasy adventures. Not bad at all, and with some very effective scenes here and there, but a jarring addition to the quite good first half of the book.

It's worth reading, but it would have been better without the second half.

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