- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; First edition (September 15, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312858868
- ISBN-13: 978-0312858865
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 185 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Prestige Paperback – November 29, 2005
|New from||Used from|
$0.90 extra savings coupon applied at checkout.
Sorry. You are not eligible for this coupon.
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A brilliant conjuring act by one of the master illusionists of our time.” ―Wired on The Prestige
“One of our most gifted writers.” ―John Fowles on The Prestige
“Extraordinary--like a dazzling magic act!” ―Entertainment Weekly on The Prestige
“A dizzying show of a novel....Imagine Possession rewritten by Barbara Vine, or Robertson Davies at his most smoothly diabolical. A brilliantly constructed entertainment!” ―The Washington Post on The Prestige
“As ingenious as it is suspenseful.” ―Newsday on The Prestige
“Nothing quite prepares you for the sinister complexity and imaginative flair of The Prestige . . . Magnificently eerie.” ―Anthony Quinn, The Sunday Times
“Beautifully written . . . Two magicians vie with each other to create the perfect illusion: vanishing from one part of the stage and reappearing instantaneously in another. It's a story of utter fakery and scientific audacity. The pioneer of electrical power, Nikola Tesla, appears in a supporting role; to say more would reveal too much. Priest masters the merging of SF and mainstream, and The Prestige is his finest novel to date.” ―New Scientist on The Prestige
“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 on The Prestige
“Remarkably akin to the style of the late Robertson Davies...Priest has brought it off with great imagination and skill.” ―Publishers Weekly on The Prestige
“Hypnotic...The Prestige provides the satisfaction of an ambitious and well-told entertainment.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“The Prestige is in every way a marvelously scary entertainment with one of the creepiest final revelations in recednt years. Don't miss the magic show!” ―Gahan Wilson, Realms of Fantasy
“Just as a magic act should be: filled with haunting marvels.” ―Time Out London on The Prestige
About the Author
Christopher Priest is the critically-acclaimed author of the 1995 World Fantasy Award-winning novel, The Prestige (whose 2006 film adaptation of the same namesake went on to be a two-time Academy Award nominated box office hit). Born in Cheshire, England, Priest has spent most of his life as a full-time freelance writer. He currently lives on the Isle of Bute, in west Scotland.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 86%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
True, the novel begins and ends at a country estate in modern-day England where journalist Andrew Westley and Lady Kate Angier, both young and single, take turns narrating as they sit together and move about in Kate’s family mansion, however this is but the frame – the bulk of the narrative consists of the respective diaries of two of their long dead ancestors, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, illustrious stage magicians who had been engaged in a bitter, vindictive rivalry protracted over many years, beginning in the late nineteenth century. The plot is simply too good and contains too many surprises for me to divulge any tantalizing secrets, thus I will shift my observations to a number of the novel’s underlying themes and philosophical enigmas.
Illusion: 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. Claiming the two magicians are less than reliable narrators is understatement as we are never entirely certain where the illusions start and where they stop, where reality begins and where it ends. Now you read it; not you don’t. And in case you might not catch the shift since it is so easy to miss, there is one short chapter of the novel where Christopher Priest deftly slides into telling the tale in objective third person – a crafty authorial variation on now you read it; now you don’t.
Revenge: Ah, retaliation, vengeance, payback, reprisal - the juice of mountains of fiction and generous helpings of history. But, as both Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier discover the hard way, the aftermath of vengeful words and actions are never nearly as clear-cut and confined as we might conceive. In many cases, the person extracting revenge is completely oblivious to the full range of consequences, sometimes affecting men, women and children over a number of generations.
Secrecy: An enormous part of a stage magician’s art is secrecy - how the trick is performed. Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier extend their secrecy to nearly all aspects of their personal and professional lives. Of course, the more secrets one has, more the possibility of being discovered. But while a secret remains a secret, the magician maintains a power, an advantage over his audience if stage magic; over his family and associates if his secret pertains to his personal life. The ultimate disgrace for a stage magician – having the secret of his trick revealed publicly during a performance. Of course, this is exactly the practice of both Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier.
Twins: Just think of the power a magician would possess if he had an identical twin he kept secret. All the jaw dropping feats of stage magic he could perform – I’m over here on this side of the stage, presto, in an instant, I’m over there on that side of the stage. Such secrecy and magic might qualify as the ultimate illusion. One could stake a career on such an astounding trick. However, two people going through life pretending they are one and the same person will undoubtedly alter a sense of one’s individual identity, one of the prime hallmarks of what it means to be human. Or, will it? Can a master of illusion pull it off successfully? Many the author captivated by the idea and possibilities of twins, my personal favorite: Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors featuring not one but two sets of twins.
Identity of the Self: Robert Nozick has a thought experiment where, after an accident, half of one person’s brain (along with memory) is transferred to a second person’s body. Both Tim, the giver, and Tom, the receiver, live after the operation and both Tim and Tom claim to be Tim. Are they both right? The next day Tim dies and Tom is now the only person claiming to be Tim. Does Tom (now Tim) assume the old Tim’s rights and obligations, including the right to live with Tim’s wife and kids? The ancient world knew such a dilemma of identity with the ship of Theseus: the planks and other parts of the ship are all replaced over time. After the last old plank is removed and replaced, is it the same ship or a different ship? What if less than half of the ship is replaced? What if more than half is replaced? The variations are endless. The Prestige hurls a few crazy twists into the mix.
Electricity – The end of the nineteenth century, the heyday as stage performers for the novel’s two magicians, was also the heyday for inventors such as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. In 1879 electric lights were first used for public street lighting. The possibilities and power of electricity captured the public’s imagination. And if a performer could include the sizzling, popping currents of this newly found power into their act– what a show!
Jolt of the Weird: Although a Victorian thriller in the tradition of Wilkie Collins, please keep in mind Christopher Priest has been strongly influenced by H. G. Wells. Similar to his science fiction novel Inverted World where events move along at a measured pace until the jolt of the weird, The Prestige has its own weird jolt which leads to a series of even weirder jolts. One of the most fascinating and astonishing last parts of any novel you will ever read. If you are stirred to consider The Prestige, I’m accomplished my own bit of magic as a reviewer.
One thing though, climax could have been more imaginative and innovative considering intriguing build up.
The Prestige is very well written and hard to put down, and I will definitely read more novels by Christopher Priest.