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Publisher's Summary

In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose each other. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magician's craft can command. Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the end, their legacy will be passed on for generations to descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.
©1995 Christopher Priest (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

Winner of the World Fantasy Award, 1996
Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, Unabridged, 2007
"Extraordinary, like a dazzling magic act!" (Entertainment Weekly)
"A brilliant conjuring act by one of the master illusionists of our time." (Wired)
"A taut, twisting, prize-winning story of two magicians and their fierce fin-de-siècle rivalry that taints successive generations of their respective families....An unexpectedly compelling fusion of weird science and legerdemain." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew on 06-22-07

One of a Kind.

Christopher Priest is primarily considered a science fiction writer, but his scope his much broader and I think it would be reasonable to say that he more an explorer of the human psyche. His main themes are perception, truth and reality, his canvas a kind of Jungian dreamscape. With the “Prestige” he has combined the elements he most favors and presented them in a story that rises above any simple categorization. In short this novel is a revelation. The story concerns with two Victorian era magicians, each blaming the other for the circumstances which have led them into a growing cycle of revenge and retribution. Here we are confronted by two versions of one story as each man makes his case against the other. But it is an illusion called “The new transformed man” which becomes the main focus as both men become obsessed with unraveling each others professional secrets. But the story does not end here, the consequences of their actions resound through the generations to the present day where we are introduced to two of their descendents who are both struggling to confront the “truth” of their own situations. He is haunted by a voice he cannot define, she is the keeper of secrets that have consumed her life. Throughout this story the writer involves the reader, respecting our intelligence and challenging our perceptions. But putting all this aside, Priest certainly knows how to write a good rip roaring yarn one that quietly builds to a crescendo, mesmerizing the reader until we are desperate for some kind of resolution, but be warned, Priest does not do straightforward endings. If you have seen the screen adaptation do not forgo the book, for while the film is faithful to the tone of the story, the book is more complete and thorough entity. The narrator is superb, the story – one of a kind.

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34 of 34 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Keith on 05-02-07

Loved the movie, Love the book even more!

After seeing the movie last year and enjoying it thoroughly, I was surprised to find I had missed reading the book some how while making my monthly selections.

While most movies quite frequently differ greatly from the original novel, I was happy to find a deeper, richer story filled with more twists and turns, guile and intrigue than the movie.

The beginning and ending of the novel, obviously edited out of the movie since it would detract from the story of the two competing prestidigitators, greatly enhance the story and shows how the actions of a man can impact on the generations that follow him. I will go no further in explaining the story. It would spoil it.

My advice is if you liked the movie, you will love this book! Enjoy!

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anna on 02-26-07


This is one of the first audio books that I have listened to, and I have been very pleasantly surprised by how caught up in the story I was. The quality of narration is excellent, and like any good book I had trouble putting it down.
I would highly recommend this audio book to anyone.

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anna on 12-14-13

Enthralling and very clever

What did you like best about this story?

If 'prestidigitation' (a new word I learnt from this book!) is about the art of deceit and sleight of hand, then so is this story. An untrustworthy/mysterious narrator is used from the start, which sets the tone for a gripping story of rivalry, ambition and desperation. You're never quite sure what exactly is 'true' or not, which makes it a very engaging read.

Any additional comments?

Having loved the film version with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in the starring roles, I expected to enjoy the book version, and was not disappointed. The level of detail about how the tricks were done, and what the art of stage magician was all about is fascinating.

Gripping, memorable, disturbing story about what people are prepared to sacrifice in order to achieve their ambition, and the folly of human grudges. Highly recommended.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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