Prospero's Children

Jan Siegel, Author Del Rey Books $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-43901-7
Proving that a breath of imagination can rekindle the embers of a spent theme, Siegel enlivens this schematically familiar fantasy with a new twist on the old legend of Atlantis. The sunken island is the former homeland of the mystically minded kind that 16-year-old Fern Capel and her younger brother, Will, encounter when they move to an inherited family house in the Yorkshire countryside. Left to themselves by their loving but oblivious dad, they soon discover that their home is a magnet for sorceresses, shapeshifters, unicorns and god-possessed vessels, all of whom survived the island's cataclysmic collapse into the sea eons before and are drawn by a potent Atlantean talisman--a magic key that unlocks the door between life and death--kept hidden on the premises. When a scheming opportunist misuses the key and accidentally ruptures the barrier separating past and present, feisty Fern, whose maturation draws her own latent magic powers forth, must retrieve it from the antediluvian past it has disappeared into--just as the island is starting to crumble. Much of the novel is struck from the rigid template for modern teenage quest fantasies, but Siegel distinguishes her story once she shifts bearings to the island setting. Though it recapitulates much of the tale already told, this Atlantean interlude is captivating for its vivid depiction of an ancient civilization where exotic beauty, decadent corruption and magical good and evil all commingle. ""Our story is over--for a while,"" says one of the fey folk in the epilogue, and this serviceable debut will have readers anticipating the sequel it portends. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 242 pages - 978-0-307-41643-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7871-2524-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7871-2523-3
Paperback - 356 pages - 978-0-00-730520-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-345-44143-0
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