The Prestige tells the story of a lifelong feud between two magicians in turn-of-the-century England. You’ve probably seen or at least heard of the movie, which starred Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman (and David Bowie as Nicola Tesla! Whee!).
The Prestige is the story of Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, two magicians who rise to fame somewhat simultaneously, and whose lives are marred by a deadly feud that started when Borden exposed Angier as a fraud at a seance. That is. . . one weird sentence. Things get even weirder, though, when the two compete over who has the better “Transported Man” trick–a magic trick where the magician enters a cabinet or closet onstage, and then reappears somewhere else entirely. The plot hinges on how each man performs this trick.
I am not a fan of magic in the slightest, and I only read this book because I remember really enjoying the movie, and because it was streaming for free on Audible and I had a long car trip stretching ahead of me. As it turns out, however, I ended up really liking the book and finding it hard to put down. Presented as a series of diary entries by Borden, Angier, and a few of their descendants, The Prestige is a fascinating look at an unnecessary feud that ended up destroying several lives. It’s less about magic, and more about pride, fear, and the lengths some people will go for fame or accolades. It also has a little science fiction flavor, and the ending was so tense and creepy that it practically turns into a horror story for a few minutes there. This was an enjoyable read, and the narrator for the audio version is pretty entertaining, too.