The Prestige

The Prestige

Book - 1997 | 1st TOR trade paperback ed.
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Baker & Taylor
In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in a darkened salon during the course of a fraudulent seance, and from this moment they try to expose and outwit each other at every turn

McMillan Palgrave

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 one another.

Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magicians' craft can command--the highest misdirection and the darkest science.

Blood will be spilled, but it will not be enough. In the end, their legacy will pass on for descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.

The winner of the 1995 World Fantasy Award

& Taylor

Having clashed in the dark during a fraudulent séance in 1878, two young stage magicians find their lives deteriorating into webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose one another, in a 1996 winner of the World Fantasy Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Reprint.

Publisher: New York : TOR, 1997.
Edition: 1st TOR trade paperback ed.
ISBN: 9780312858865
Characteristics: 404 p. ; 21 cm.


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Aug 15, 2017

NOTE: I didn't read the printed book. I listened to the audiobook using the free AUDIBLE channel "Better Than the Movie".

2 talented magicians, their legacies, their families, their prestige. What is a magician's prestige you may ask? I didn't know either until reading this book. A prestige is the grand act that singles a magician out from the rest of the crowd. The 2 magicians in our story, Borden & Angier, both tell their own tales of how they fell in love with & began a career in magic. Although they are telling their own stories, they are fully intertwined from practically the beginning of their respective careers. Their rivalry spans across generations into the mid-late 20th century when a descendant of both families meet up & discuss their families' stories, the perpetual rivalry, & an unsolved mystery from their childhood.

I can honestly say this is the first book that I've finished that left me feeling like I needed to re-read it just to figure out what happened at the end. I guess you could say that that is the mark of a great story --- one that gripped you so strongly & left you asking questions like "Who was that that walked away at the end of the story?!". This story had it all: love, hate, magical illusions, discover & use of new science of that age, family rivalry, mystery. I will be watching the movie tonight to see if the visual portrayal of the story helps to answer some of my questions.

Age recommendation: 14 & up (death, infidelity, attempted murder)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.

Chapel_Hill_MeeghanR May 09, 2016

Jeepers creepers, talk about your unreliable narrators! A story of obsession, filled with misdirection, illusion, and foreboding. Not a happy story.

May 26, 2012

The nature of the deep obsession with illusion and magic that drives the rivalry between the two magicians is spell-binding. It's so fascinating that I can forgive the author's departure into science-fiction toward the end. As good as the movie... but in a different way.

Mar 16, 2012

I saw the movie version first, which is a stunning work of cinema by director Christopher Nolan, and that led me back to the source material by Christopher Priest. This novel is an engaging bit of storytelling even though most will agree it meanders when compared with the movie. Studying them together is a good master's class on the differences between the mediums.

The story of The Prestige is the story of the rivalry between two magicians, Borden and Angier, obsessed with the craft, and their journal entries often serve as the narration. The book has more room to explore and frame the story around the family legacies of the two men, and it also dives deeply into the turn-of-the-century interest in spiritism, which is absent from the film.

Apr 17, 2011

What can I say about a book that made me yell out loud at the ending. I finished it in a public place and had to assure a couple of people that I was okay and that I had read probably the creepiest ending to a horror book ever! The movie they made was good but it leaves out an entire storyline that makes it even weirder. I definitely recommend it.

daymakerdave Mar 08, 2011

I loved this book. The movie of the same title was good also but it took many liberties with the source. As usual, the book was better than the movie.

Mar 08, 2010

Like his other novel "The inverted world" this is a mystery of sorts. It's not a who-dunnit but a how-dunnit. We meet Nikolai Tesla and travel from the world of Victorian England and stage shows to the isolated parts of America. The characters and settings are well portrayed and it's a pleasure to puzzle out the mystery that lies at the heart of the book.

Apr 21, 2007

This compelling story is not what I would normally pick up and read. But from the very first page, I was drawn in to a tale that spanned generations and it had me hooked like a kid seeing their first magic trick. It starts off on a train in the present day where Andrew, an adopted child who suspects he has a twin, receives a summons to an interview by a person he has never met before. This person may have the key to the mystery of his birth, his twin, and his past in a way that he never imagined. Ingeniously crafted, the story winds its way to its startling conclusion with all the precision of a well practiced magical act leaving the reader stunned. This is much better than the movie!


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Aug 15, 2017

jandt_mcmurray thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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May 26, 2012

Audiences know well that a magician will practise his illusions for years, and will rehearse each performance carefully, but few people realize the extent of the prestidigitator's wish to deceive, the way in which the apparent defiance of normal laws becomes an obsession which governs every moment of his life.


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