Jan Siegel (pseudonym for Amanda Hemingway) is the author of "Prospero's Children" (1999), "The Dragon Charmer" (2000), and "The Witch Queen" (2002), a fantasy trilogy starring magically-gifted, Fern Capel. "The Way of the Witch" gathers all three titles into one volume.
These three books need to be read in order if any sense is to be made of Fern's increasingly complicated love life and her growing power as a sorceress. The first novel in the trilogy, "Prospero's Children" starts out as a YA coming-of-age fantasy, populated with evil villains (a witch, an idol, and an art gallery owner) and eccentric good guys (the Watcher, a female werewolf, a house goblin). Unfortunately, the second half degenerates into a standard Swords and Sorcery fantasy about Atlantis. It's almost as if the publisher said, "Okay, Jan, this is a great novel but we need another 100 pages, and why don't you throw in a Lost Continent. Lost Continents are very big this year."
Nevertheless, read the Atlantis bit very carefully, because the following two novels constantly refer back to Fern's sojourn in this ancient, drowned world. If this author has a serious fault, it's her overuse of extended flashbacks. Her greatest strength is her darkly imaginative blend of worlds (excluding Atlantis). The World Tree where Fern spends most of "The Dragon Charmer," is borrowed from Norse mythology and inhabited by nightmarish crones. There is also a savage boar that eats the fallen fruit from the Tree - the regenerated heads of those who did evil in their lives on Earth.
This is my favorite book in the trilogy, even though Fern spends most of it in a coma. Her body is tended by her friends and relatives after she reclaims her paranormal Gift, and her spirit is stolen out of Time by a sorceress who is looking for a new apprentice.
Meanwhile Fern's brother, Will and her friend, Gaynor, with the help of other characters from "Prospero's Children" such as the Watcher and the werewolf, try to solve the mystery of her sudden descent into a coma. Their adventures and Fern's struggle to return to her body from the Land of the Dead and the not-so-dead, alternate to the very end of the book, where all of the story threads are combined into a very satisfying climax involving Fern's most ancient Enemy and the dragon of the title.
"The Witch Queen" aka "Witch's Honor" pits Fern (now known as the witch, Morcadis) against the ghastly witch-queen, Morgus (World Tree sojourner from novel two), but this time most of their battle takes place in London. Another old enemy, Asmordis has transmogrified into the President and CEO of the Dark Tower, located (sort of) in the City's center. For the most part, he inhabits Fern's vivid nightmares, but shows up in person to provide a surprise ending to this trilogy.
Many readers will feel let-down by the ending, but I am assuming it will eventually lead to another book in this series that might have started out as a YA fantasy, but grew into something darker, filled with horror and ancient bile.