- A Book of WaterThis is a waterproof-covered book which has lost its colour by much contact with water. It is full of investigative drawings and exploratory text written on many different thicknesses of paper. There are drawings of every conceivable watery association - seas, tempests, rain, snow, clouds, lakes, waterfalls, streams, canals, water-mills, shipwrecks, floods and tears. As the pages are turned, the watery elements are often animated. There are rippling waves and slanting storms. Rivers and cataracts flow and bubble. Plans of hydraulic machinery and maps of weather-forecasting flicker with arrows, symbols and agitated diagrams. The drawings are all made by one hand. Perhaps this is a lost collection of drawings by da Vinci bound into a book by the King of France at Ambois and bought by the Milanese Dukes to give to Prospero as a wedding present.
- A Book of Mirrors
Bound in a gold cloth and very heavy, this book has some eighty shining mirrored pages; some opaque, some translucent, some manufactured with silvered papers, some coated in paint, some covered in a film of mercury that will roll off the page unless treated cautiously. Some mirrors simply reflect the reader, some reflect the reader as he was three minutes previously, some reflect the reader as he will be in a year's time, as he would be if he were a child, a woman, a monster, an idea, a text or an angel. One mirror constantly lies, one mirror sees the world backwards, another upside down. One mirror holds on to its reflections as frozen moments infinitely recalled. One mirror simply reflects another mirror across a page. There are ten mirrors whose purpose Prospero has yet to define.
- The Book of Languages
This is a large, thick book with a blue-green cover that rainbow-hazes in the light. More a box than a book, it opens in unorthodox fashion, with a door in its front cover. Inside is a collection of eight smaller books arranged like bottles in a medicine case. Behind these eight books are another eight books, and so on. To open the smaller books is to let loose many languages. Words and sentences, paragraphs and chapters gather like tadpoles in a pond in April or starlings in a November evening sky.
- A Book of Motion
This is a book that at the most simple level describes how birds fly and waves roll, how clouds form and apples fall from trees. It describes how the eye changes its shape when looking at great distances, how hairs grow in a beard, why the heart flutters and the lungs inflate involuntarily and how laughter changes the face. At its most complex level, it explains how ideas chase one another in the memory and where thought goes when it is finished with. It is covered in tough blue leather and, because it is always bursting open of its own volition, it is bound around with two leather straps buckled tightly at the spine. At night, it drums against the bookcase shelf and has to be held down with a brass weight. One of its sections is called 'The Dance of Nature' and here, codified and explained in animated drawings, are all the possibilities for dance in the human body.
- A Book of Love
This is a small, slim, scented volume bound in red and gold, with knotted crimson ribbons for page-markers. There is certainly an image in the book of a naked man and a naked woman, and also an image of a pair of clasped hands. These things were once spotted, briefly, in a mirror, and that mirror was in another book. Everything else is conjecture.