Historical Fiction

Books like The Prestige

The Prestige

1997, Christopher Priest


The Prestige is a 1995 fantasy novel by British writer Christopher Priest. It tells the story of a prolonged feud between two stage magicians in late 1800s England. Its structure is that of a collection of diaries that were kept by the protagonists and later collated. The title derives from the novel's fictional practice of stage illusions having three parts: the setup, the performance, and the prestige (effect).

The novel received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for best fiction and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

The events of the past are told through the diaries of nineteenth century magicians Rupert Angier and Alfred Borden. The diaries are read by their great-grandchildren, Kate Angier and Andrew Westley (born Nicholas Borden) who meet in the present day, with the two diary accounts being interspersed with events of Kate's and Andrew's framing story throughout the novel. Andrew's story is related to his childhood, being adopted and his current job as a journalist. Kate's story is related to a traumatic event that happened when she was five years old where she witnessed a small boy murdered by her father. This leads her to search for Andrew who she believes is a key to the mystery. Kate believes that Andrew was the twin of the boy she witnessed die. As the diaries are read, the truth of the what happened to Andrew's twin is explained by the history of Angier and Borden.

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