DiscoverMagical Realism

Prospero's Staff


Loved it! 😍

A prop in a Shakespearean play inserts itself into the reality of a struggling author. This story is worth the read.

After a bit of a rough start, author David Ackley hits his stride, creating a story that is creative in its examination of a man who inhabits two realities.

Martin Ropers is in Greece when an earthquake occurs; he just happens to stumble down to the area's ancient ruins and just happens to find a big stick deep inside a cracked ancient pillar - and then he happens to find the other half of said stick. And then he happens to stick the two pieces together - and there you have it; Prospero's Staff has been retrieved. So, that was the rough start. For the first few chapters (don't worry, not a huge part of the book) the dialogue is sometimes awkward and the premise of the story seems facile. This turns out to be not such a big deal though, since the means of attaining the Staff becomes less important as the story unfolds.

As I continued to read - which was never a problem; even in its early rough spots this book is quite pleasantly readable - I was impressed by the author's unique depiction of Ropers' experience of living in two worlds simultaneously. The author's writing shines through the voice of Martin's doctor when explaining the medical implications of Martin's experience and the voice of Martin's agent when detailing the woes of a literary agent's conundrums.

The creative expression of Martin Ropers' experience in two worlds, as well as the innate pull of the story itself, would rate five stars if the quality of that writing had been present in the first few chapters. There are some italicized excerpts of Martin Ropers' first novel that strike me as unnecessary and jarring; because I have a feeling that there is meaning in these excerpts that I am just missing, I consider my dislike of the excerpts a matter of personal taste.

A plus: Mr. Ackley provides a plot summary of The Tempest at the end of the book. If you are not familiar with the play, I recommend you read the summary before reading the book. It will enrich your experience of Prospero's Staff.

Reviewed by

I am a reader with ten years of bookselling experience who is passionate about sharing my love of books with others. My goal is to be direct and relatable, with hopefully a little humor thrown in.

Chapter 1.

About the author

David Ackley grew up in Alaska and had a career in fisheries with state and federal governments. David is now retired and living in northern Idaho, where he also builds instruments. Please visit the Rain and Breeze Books website,, for more information about David and his books. view profile

Published on March 06, 2020

Published by

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Magical Realism

Reviewed by