Editorial Reviews. aracer.mobi Review. The Washington Post called this "a dizzying magic Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Science Fiction & Fantasy The Prestige (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) by [Priest, Christopher]. Audible Sample. Editorial Reviews. aracer.mobi Review. The Washington Post called this "a dizzying magic The Prestige - Kindle edition by Christopher Priest. Download it . Read "The Prestige" by Christopher Priest available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. In the smoke-and-mirrors world of.
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Read "The Prestige" by Christopher Priest available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get £3 off your first download. Two 19th century stage illusionists, the. Get this from a library! The prestige. [Christopher Priest]. One of Christopher Priest's most acclaimed works and winner of both the James The Prestige is an ingeniously constructed entertainment, a masterpiece of Please note: eBooks are sent manually so there will be a delay in receiving them.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price? In the smoke-and-mirrors world of Victorian music halls, two talented young stage magicians vie to be known as the best illusionist in London. But what starts out as professional jealousy soon escalates into a bitter and deadly obsession whose terrible consequences will still be felt a century later by their descendants, who have their own surprising reasons for wanting to discover the truth.
Readers who have seen the film adaptation directed by Christopher Nolan will find that though the book shares many similarities with the movie, it also contains many surprises, as well as a chilling ending that the reader will never see coming. Electrifying effects and a deft handling of mysteries and their explanations some remaining tantalizingly incomplete in an unexpectedly compelling fusion of weird science and legerdemain.
A carefully calculated period style that is remarkably akin to that of the late Robertson Davies. Priest has brought it off with great imagination and skill.
The story is enormously complex yet like a dazzling magic act itself: The result is a surprise that marvelously satisfies the myriad genres that Priest has successfully managed to merge and transform in this eerie fictional sleight of hand. Highly recommended. Read more Read less. Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled Audible book: Audible book Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice.
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Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available. Learn more about Kindle MatchBook. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. What other items do customers download after viewing this item? Christopher Priest. The Separation Kindle Edition. An American Story Kindle Edition. Editorial Reviews site. And anyone who's ever thrilled to the arcing electricity in the "It's alive!
Priest, one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists list , has not been overproductive since he made a small reputation with The Affirmation and The Glamour, published here more than a dozen years ago.
His new novel the title of which refers to the residue left after a magician's successful trick is enthrallingly odd. In a carefully calculated period style that is remarkably akin to that of the late Robertson Davies, Priest writes of a pair of rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London.
Each has a winning trick the other craves, but so arcane is the nature of these tricks, so incredibly difficult are they to perform, that they take on a peculiar life of their own? The rivalry of the two men is such that in the end, though both are ashamed of the strength of their feelings of spite and envy, it consumes them both, and affects their respective families for generations.
This is a complex tale that must have been extremely difficult to tell in exactly the right sequence, while still maintaining a series of shocks to the very end. It's only fair to say, though, that the book's very considerable narrative grip is its principal virtue.
The characters and incidents have a decidedly Gothic cast, and only the restraint that marks the story's telling keeps it on the rails. Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc. See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: Valancourt Books March 10, Publication Date: March 10, Sold by: English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Not Enabled. Literary Fiction. Book Series. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Share your thoughts with other customers.
Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention alfred borden christopher priest rupert angier present day hugh jackman saw the movie christopher nolan christian bale diary entries rival magicians turn of the century borden and rupert carter beats really enjoyed world fantasy fantasy award watched the movie andrew westley beats the devil even though.
Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Paperback Verified download. The language is so well tuned and exact, so vividly clear, many the time turning the pages I felt as if I was launched miraculously back into the streets, flats and performance halls of turn-of-the-century London.
And speaking of magic, please read on. Counterpoint to nimble skill and dexterity performing sleight of hand and misdirection, concealment and manipulation on stage, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier are also master illusionists as each pens his diary.
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The remaining three pages had a selection of Biblical quotes. When I next looked towards the gates I discovered they were opening silently from some remote command, so I climbed back into the car and took it up the sloping, gravelled drive. This curved as it went up the hill, with a lawn rising in a shallow convex on one side. Ornamental trees and shrubs had been planted at intervals, drooping in the veils of misty rain. On the lower side were thick clumps of dark-leafed rhododendron bushes.
In the rear-view mirror I noticed the gates closing behind me as I drove out of sight of them. The main house soon came into view: it was a huge and unattractive building of four or five main storeys, with black slate roofs and solidlooking walls of sombre dark-brown brick and stone. The windows were tall and narrow, and blankly reflected the rain-laden sky. The place gave me a cold, grim feeling, yet even as I drove towards the part of the drive made over as a car park I felt my brother's presence in me once again, urging me on.
I saw a Visitors this Way sign, and followed it along a gravel path against the main wall of the house, dodging the drips from the thickly growing ivy. I pushed open a door and went into a narrow hallway, one that smelt of ancient wood and dust, reminding me of the Lower Corridor in the school I had been to. This building had the same institutional feeling, but unlike my school was steeped in silence.
I saw a door marked Reception, and knocked. When there was no answer I put my head around the door, but the room was empty. There were two old-looking metal desks, on one of which was perched a computer. Hearing footsteps I returned to the hallway, and a few moments later a thin middle-aged woman appeared at the turn of the stairs. She was carrying several envelope wallet files. Her feet made a loud sound on the uncarpeted wooden steps, and she looked enquiringly at me when she saw me there.
How may I help you? She was standing with her back to the door which led into her office. Nor was he here. All press interviews are arranged through them.
Are you denying that that happened? No one here has been in contact with your newspaper. If you mean am I denying the appearance of Father Franklin, the answer is yes. I was torn between irritation with her and frustration at myself. Whenever incidents like this did not go smoothly, I blamed my lack of experience and motivation. The other writers on the paper always seemed to know how to handle people like Mrs Holloway.
Everyone else is involved with the teaching. I walked back to the car to collect the notes I had been given by Wickham the day before. Mrs Holloway was still standing by the bottom of the stairs when I returned, but she had put down her bundle of files somewhere.
I stood beside her while I turned to the page Wickham had been sent. It was a fax message. It said, "To Mr L. Half a mile outside Caldiow village, to the north, on A Parking at main gate, or in the grounds. Mrs Holloway, administrator, will provide your reporter Mr Andrew Westley with information.
Thank you. She indicated that the continuation of the gravel path would take me to a gate, where the entrance to the private wing would be found. I said, "I'm sorry if there's been a misunderstanding. I don't know how it happened.
That is its function, you know. I said, "May I ask you just one thing? Is everybody away at present? There are more than two hundred people in training this week. I am the only person permitted to speak during the hours of daylight. Good day to you. Standing under the dripping ivy, watching the heavy drizzle drifting across the valley, I rang Len Wickham's direct line, full of foreboding. He answered after a delay. I told him what had happened.
I'm thinking it might just be a dispute between neighbours. You know, complaining about something or other. There was a long silence. Then Len Wickham said, "See the neighbour, and if there's anything in it, call me back. If not, 7 get back to London for this evening. The stately scale of the room, simply but attractively furnished with Indian carpets, antique chairs and a polished table, made me feel scruffy in my travel-creased and rain-dampened suit.
After about five minutes the woman returned, and uttered words that put a chill through me. She led me upstairs to a large, pleasant living room that looked out across the valley floor towards a high rocky escarpment, at present only dimly visible. A young woman was standing by the open fireplace, where logs blazed and smoked, and she held out her hand to greet me as I went across to her.
I had been thrown off guard by the unexpected news that I was visiting a member of the aristocracy, but her manner was cordial. I was struck, and favourably so, by several features about her physical appearance.
She was tall, dark-haired and had a broad face with a strong jaw. Her hair was arranged so that it softened the sharper lines of her face. Her eyes were wide. She had a nervous intentness about her face, as if she were worried about what I might say or think.
She greeted me formally, but the moment the other woman had left the room her manner changed. She introduced herself as Kate, not Katherine, Angier, and told me to disregard the title as she rarely used it herself. She asked me to confirm if I was Andrew Westley. I said that I was. I hardly got past the door. I warned them you might be coming, but Mrs Holloway wasn't too pleased.
Why on earth should you know about me? But I haven't had lunch yet. What about you? I followed her downstairs to the ground floor where the woman who had opened the door to me, addressed by Lady Katherine as Mrs Makin, was preparing a simple lunch of cold meats and cheeses, with salad. As we sat down, I asked Kate Angier why she had brought me all the way up here from London, on what now seemed a wild-goose-chase.
Do you eat meat, Mr Westley? While we ate, a polite conversation went on, in which she asked me questions about the newspaper, my career, where I lived and so on. I was still conscious of her title, and felt inhibited by this, but the longer we spoke the easier it became.
She had a tentative, almost nervous bearing, and she frequently looked away from me and back again while I was speaking. I assumed this was not through apparent lack of interest in what I was saying, but because it was her manner. I noticed, for instance, that her hands trembled 8 whenever she reached out for something on the table. When I finally felt it was time to ask her about herself, she told me that the house we were in had been in her family for more than three hundred years.
Most of the land in the valley belonged to the estate, and a number of farms were tenanted. Her father was an earl, but he lived abroad. Her mother was dead, and her only other close relative, an elder sister, was married and lived in Bristol with her husband and children.
The house had been a family home, with several servants, until the outbreak of the Second World War. At this point her family had moved into the east wing, which anyway had always been the favoured part of the house. When the RAF left after the war the house was taken over by Derbyshire County Council as offices, and the present tenants her phrase arrived in She said her parents had been worried at first by the prospect of an American religious sect moving in, because of what you heard about some of them, but by this time the family needed the money and it had worked out well.
The Church kept its teaching quiet, the members were polite and charming to meet, and these days neither she nor the villagers were concerned about what they might or might not be up to.
As by this point in the conversation we had finished our meal, and Mrs Makin had brought us some coffee, I said, "So I take it the story that brought me up here, about a bilocating priest, was false?
The cult makes no secret of the fact it bases its teaching on the words of its leader. Father Franklin is a stigmatic, and he's supposed to be able to bilocate, but he's never been seen doing it by independent witnesses, or at least not under controlled circumstances. There was a local doctor involved this time, and for some reason she said something to a tabloid newspaper, who ran a potted version of the story.
I only heard about it when I was in the village the other day. I can't see how it can have been true: their leader's in prison in America, isn't he? How does Doctor Ellis know what this man looks like, for instance? There's only the word of one of the members to go on. And the fact that the man goes in for bilocation was too good to be true. I hadn't the faintest idea what she was talking about.
I wanted to meet you first. You know, the controversy about the illusion, and all that. Isn't that right? Her nervous, evasive manner put tension between us, when nothing else was happening to create it. Remains of lunch lay on the table between us. I was right about you. We met once before, many years ago, when we were both children. Your name was Nicky then. Where did this meeting take place? You really don't remember it? But none about this place. It's the sort of house that would make an impression on a child, isn't it?
You're not the first to say that. My sister. Would you care to join me? She knew more about me than I knew myself, but it was knowledge of a part of my life in which I had no interest. This was obviously a day when I had to become a Borden again, whether or not I wished to do so.
First there was the book by him, now this. It was all connected, but I felt her intrigues were not mine. Why should I care about the man, the family, who had turned their back on me? She led me into the room where I had first met her, and closed the door decisively behind us.
It was almost as if she had felt my wish to escape, and wanted to detain me as long as she could. A silver tray with a number of bottles, glasses and a bucket of ice had been placed on a low table set between a number of easy chairs and a long settee.
One of the glasses already held a large drink, presumably prepared by Mrs Makin. Kate indicated I should take a seat, then said, "What would you like? I said, "I'll have whatever you're drinking. Do you want that too?
When she sat down on the settee she tucked her legs under her, then drank about half the glass of whiskey straight down. And a lot I want to ask you. Now that she wasn't twitching around so much, I was beginning to see her more objectively as a not unattractive woman of roughly my own age.
She obviously liked drinking, and was used to the effect of it. That alone made me feel I was on familiar territory; I spent most weekends drinking with my friends.
Her eyes continued to disconcert me, though, for she was always looking at me, then away, then back, making me feel someone was behind me, moving about the room where I could not see them. Or did you have one who died when you were very young? I put down my glass, before I spilled any more, and mopped at the liquid that had splashed on to my legs. Did you? I think I did, but I've never been able to find him. I mean.
I'm not sure. Do you realize that? My own family roots went back to the age of three. I was just a little boy, a toddler, and my father dumped me out of his life. If I spent the rest of my own life grieving about that, I'd have 10 time for nothing else.
Long ago, I sealed it off because I had to. I've a new family now. It was as if she used him as a way of getting under my defences. All my life the existence of my brother had been my secret certainty, a part of myself that I kept completely private. Yet here was this stranger speaking of him as if she knew him. My only interest in my former family is that through them I might one day be able to trace my twin brother.
She leant forward to mix another drink, and tried to pour more into my glass. Knowing I was going to have to drive later, I pulled my glass back before she could completely fill it. She said, "I think the fate of your brother is connected with something that happened about a hundred years ago.
One of my ancestors, Rupert Angier. You say you've never heard of him, and there's no reason why you should, but he was a stage magician at the end of the last century.
He worked as The Great Danton, because in those days all the magicians used grandiose stage names. He was the victim of a series of vicious attacks by a man called Alfred Borden, your great-grandfather, who was also an illusionist. You say you know nothing about this? I assume you sent it. They were constantly attacking each other, usually by interfering with the other one's stage show.
The story of the feud is in Borden's book. At least, his side of it is.
Have you read it yet? I haven't had much of a chance--" "I thought you would be fascinated to know what had happened. They are too far back, I know too little about them. She was talking about something that was of interest to her, not to me. I felt I should be polite to her, listen to what she was saying, but what she could never know was the resistance that lay deep inside me, the unconscious defence mechanism a kid builds up for himself when he has been rejected. To adapt to my new family I had had to throw off everything I knew of the old.
How many times would I have to say that to her to convince her of it? Saying she wanted to show me something, she put down her glass and crossed the room to a desk placed against the wall just behind where I was sitting. As she stooped to reach into a lower drawer her dress sagged forward at the neck, and I stole a glimpse: a thin white strap, part of a lacy bra cup, the upper curve of the breast nestling inside. She had to reach into the drawer, and this made her turn around so she could stretch her arm, and I saw the slender curves of her back, her straps again becoming discernible through the thin material of her dress, then her hair falling forward about her face.
She was trying to involve me in something I knew nothing about, but instead I was crudely sizing her up, thinking idly about what it might be like to have sex with her. Sex with an honourable lady; it was the sort of semi-funny joke the journalists in the office would make.
For better or worse that was my own life, more interesting and problematical to me than all this stuff about ancient magicians. Exquisite and maddening Zelda, with the cropped hair and nose-ring, the studded boots and dream body, who three nights before had told me she wanted an open relationship and walked out on me at half past eleven at night, taking a lot of my books and most of my records. I hadn't seen her since and was beginning to worry, even though she had done something like that before.
I wanted to ask this honourable lady about Zelda, not because I was interested in what she might say, but because Zelda is real to me. How do you think I might get Zelda back? Or, how do I ease myself out of the newspaper job without appearing to reject my father? Or, where am I going to live if Zelda moves out on me, because it is Zelda's parents" flat?
What am I going to survive on if I don't have a job? And if my brother's real, where is he and how do I find him? One of them had written a book, though. Maybe that was interesting to be told about. She had removed some photo albums, and these were piled on the floor while she reached to the back of the deep drawer.
She spread them on the settee beside her, and picked up her glass before she began to leaf through them. When I was growing up my parents had a saying: "Grandpa's stuff". We never touched it, weren't really allowed to look at it, even. But Rosalie and I couldn't resist searching some of it. When she left to get married, and I was alone here, I finally went through it all and sorted it out.
I managed to sell some of the apparatus and costumes, and got good prices too. I found these playbills in the room that had been his study. It had been folded and refolded numerous times, and the creases were furry with wear and almost separating. Over a list of performers it announced a limited number of performances, afternoons and evenings, commencing on 14th April until 21st April.
Halfway down the bill, pointed out by Kate's prodding forefinger as she leaned over towards me, was The Great Danton "The Greatest Illusionist in the World". This bill comes from , when he was first starting to do quite well.
More had been written on the back. She moved away from the settee, and knelt informally on the carpet beside my chair. Leaning towards me so she could look at the bill in my hand, she said, "I haven't worked it all out, but the first number refers to the job. There's a ledger somewhere, with a complete list of every gig he did.
Underneath that, he puts down how many actual performances he carried out, and how many of those were matinees and how many in the evenings. The next numbers are a list of the actual tricks he did, and again he had about a dozen notebooks in his study with descriptions of all the tricks he could do. I have a few of the notebooks still here, and you could probably look up some of the tricks he did in Stoke Newington. But it's even more complicated than that, because most of the tricks have minor variations, and he's got all those cross-referenced as well.
Look, this number here, "10g". I think that's what he was paid: ten guineas. But it was probably for the whole week, so it was just average.
I don't think this was a big theatre. But when I was clearing out the cellar, every single piece of equipment I came across had an identifying number, and each one had a place in a huge index, all cross-referenced to the other books. What I find odd is that I came across the obituary in the scrapbook he kept, and it was stuck down and labelled and indexed, just like all the other stuff.
Alfred Borden talks about it in his book. That's where I heard about it, and after that I tried to find out what had happened between them. I also liked having Kate down there on the floor beside my legs, turning her head to look up at me as she spoke, leaning towards me, affording more glimpses down the front of her dress and probably well aware of it.
It was all slightly bemusing to be there, not fully comprehending what was going on, talk of magicians, meetings in childhood, not at work when I should have been, not driving over to see my parents as I had planned. In that part of my mind occupied by my brother, I felt a sense of contentment, unlike anything I had known from him before. He was urging me to stay. Outside the window the cold afternoon sky was darkening and the Pennine rain continued to fall.
An icy draught came persistently from the windows. Kate threw another log on the fire. My name, my real name, is Alfred Borden. I was born in on the eighth day of the month of May, in the coastal town of Hastings. Our house at number Manor Road was in a long, curving terrace built along the side of one of the several hills which Hastings comprises.
Behind the house was a steep and secluded valley where sheep and cattle grazed during the summer months, but at the front the hill rose up, lined with many more houses, standing between us and the sea. It was from those houses, and from the farms and businesses around, that my father took his trade. Our house was larger and taller than others in the road, because it was built over the gateway that led to the yard and sheds behind.
My room was on the street side of the house, directly above the gateway, and because only the wooden floorboards and some thin lath-and- 13 plaster lay between me and the open air the room was noisy through every day of the year, and viciously cold in the winter months. It was in that room that I slowly grew up and became the man that I am. That man is Le Professeur de la Magie, and I am a master of illusions.
It is time to pause, even so early, for this account is not intended to be about my life in the usual habit of autobiographers, but is, as I have said, about my life's secrets.
Secrecy is intrinsic to my work. Let me then first consider and describe the method of writing this account. The very act of describing my secrets might indeed be construed as a betrayal of myself, except of course that as I am an illusionist I can make sure you only see what I wish you to see. A puzzle is implicitly involved. It is therefore only fair that I should from the beginning try to elucidate those closely connected subjects -- Secrecy and the Appreciation Of Secrecy.
Here is an example. There almost invariably comes a moment during the exercise of my profession when the prestidigitator will seem to pause. He will step forward to the footlights, and in the full glare of their light will face the audience directly. He will say, or if his act is silent he will seem to say, "Look at my hands. There is nothing concealed within them. With his hands held thus he will rotate them, so that the backs are shown to the audience, and it is established that his hands are, indeed, as empty as it is possible to be.
To take the matter beyond any remaining suspicion, the magician will probably then tweak lightly at the cuffs of his jacket, pulling them back an inch or two to expose his wrists, showing that nothing is there concealed either. He then performs his trick, and during it, moments after this incontrovertible evidence of empty-handedness he produces something from his hands: a fan, a live dove or rabbit, a bunch of paper flowers, sometimes even a burning wick.
It is a paradox, an impossibility!
The audience marvels at the mystery, and applause rings out. How could any of this be? The prestidigitator and the audience have entered into what I term the Pact of Acquiescent Sorcery. They do not articulate it as such, and indeed the audience is barely aware that such a Pact might exist, but that is what it is. The performer is of course not a sorcerer at all, but an actor who plays the part of a sorcerer and who wishes the audience to believe, if only temporarily, that he is in contact with darker powers.