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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 generations...to descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.
At the house I went and hammered on the door. I could have let myself in, but I had no idea what I should expect to find. I felt it best to take my unheralded return one step at a time. Hutton opened the door. I removed my hat, and stood plainly before him. He had begun to speak before he looked properly at me but he was silenced as he saw me. He stared wordlessly, his face impassive. I knew him well enough to realise that his silence revealed his consternation. When I had given him time to
looked back I could see nothing but the glare. My brother said: I’m cold, waiting. I kept going. On the far side of what I supposed must be a lawn, where the ground rose up suddenly and dark trees blocked the view ahead, the light from the torch picked out the brick-built archway where Kate had said it would be. Snow was piled up against the base of it. The door was not locked and it moved easily when I pulled at the handle. The door opened outwards, against the drifted snow, but it was made
terror, and struggling to be released. ‘Jump in now!’ my father yelled at Borden. ‘It will go in the next few seconds!’ Borden took a step forward until he was at the edge of the zone of electricity. My father was beside him, while Nicky was reaching out with his arms, screaming and screaming for his daddy. Waving blue snakes of discharge moved crazily a fraction of an inch in front of Borden. His hair rose from his scalp, and I could see him clenching and unclenching his fists. His head
these unfortunate occasions the effects were so patently unconvincing that self-willed credulousness could be the only explanation. Julia and I have spent much time discussing how we might go about this, and we have decided that the best and only way is to think of our efforts as professional magic, performed to the highest standards. There are already too many charlatans doing the rounds in spiritism, and I have no wish to become one more of them. This endeavour is for me a means to an end, a
Alley was adopting a stance I had never associated with him before. He stood in bellicose fashion, arms folded protectively, jaw jutting pugnaciously, a man angry and defensive if ever I saw one. Beside him on the bench was a small wooden cage, containing a diminutive black cat with white whiskers and paws, presently asleep. As his eyes were fixed on me as I walked in, I said, ‘Good morning, Mr Alley.’ ‘I hope you will not be a party to this, Mr Angier!’ Alley cried. ‘I brought my children’s