Book Reviews

Prospero's Staff

By David Ackley

Prospero's Staff  



Publisher: Rain and Breeze Books

Date Reviewed: November 19, 2020

Release Date: March 6, 2020



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Author David Ackley answers the question of what happened to Prospero's famous staff in his engaging fantasy fiction novel. Prospero's Staff is a unique story that stands out in the crowded fantasy genre.

Readers familiar with Shakespeare's famous play The Tempest will enjoy the references to it throughout the book. It also follows the Bard's format for drama leaving readers constantly wondering what will happen next.

Set in modern times, Prospero's Staff follows struggling writer Martin Roper. His first novel was a huge success, but the words aren't flowing for his next book. He's struggling to meet deadlines and write something his editor will accept, but life seems to have other plans for him.

As Martin is trying to recreate the success he had with his first novel, written in the 70s, Prospero's staff keeps appearing in him in visions. Why is the staff showing itself now after being broken in half and buried at the end of The Tempest? The story's pace picks up when, back on the Greek island that sparked his first novel, an earthquake hits.

Suddenly Martin Roper has discovered both halves of the staff, put it back together, and has fallen into a coma. His brain injury adds another twist to the plot, along with his editor canceling their agreement. The drama isn't finished, even when Martin is back home in Montana. A wildfire has suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and Martin's neighbors are forced to find shelter at his home.

The staff plays a central role in David Ackley's story and fans of the Bard will appreciate all of the references. While Prospero's Staff is fantasy fiction, it does have comedic moments, often when Shakespeare is referenced. It can lead readers to predict certain outcomes in the storyline that never come true due to the next plot twist.

Ackley does a masterful job of helping readers understand Martin's two worlds. One in reality and the other in his head. The author also captures the pain Martin feels when his illness is diagnosed. His writing gives depth and feeling to his characters, allowing readers to feel like they know Martin, his family, and neighbors.

Anyone looking for a fun escape into fantasy will find Prospero's Staff an entertaining story. It does take a couple of chapters for the adventure to start, but the background in the book's beginning is an important element of the story. Ackley has also included a summary of The Tempest for those not familiar with Shakespeare's famous play.


"Again, he was part of the dusky landscape on what he somehow knew to be a small island, and he found himself staring out at the placid surface of what now seemed to be a sickly green sea. He was at the water's edge and found that he was holding a crudely carved staff which he tapped several times on the compacted sand."

About the Author - David Ackley


David Ackley


David Ackley grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised a family in Juneau. His professional career in Alaska included both fisheries biometrics and management positions with the state and federal governments. David is now retired and living in northern Idaho, where he began a small business in lutherie – building guitars, Irish bouzoukis, and ukuleles. While his wife was conducting research during a recent stint in India, he devoted time to trying to improve his Tamil and writing fiction to escape the heat of mid-day. Finding himself unable to multi-task easily, the lutherie business has flagged somewhat while he gets some stories onto paper. Please visit the Rain and Breeze Books website for more information about David and his books.



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