*The Prestige meets Sherlock Holmes
*Based on an incredible true story
In this novel, Chang Kuo-Li vividly recreates the world of stage magicians, revolutionists, journalists, boxers, and prop makers of a century past.
The time is 1904. Revolution is brewing in China, as the Qing empire struggles for its last breath. Meanwhile, in London, two illusionists fight to be known as the original Chinese Conjurer: Ching Ling Foo, who has achieved great fame in the US with his signature “water bowl” trick, and Chung Ling Soo, who is in fact a white American named William Robinson. Years before, he tried to expose Foo’s trick but was publicly rebuked. Now, as Chung Ling Soo, he has copied almost all of Foo’s tricks and vows to dominate the London vaudeville. Soo accuses Foo of having ties to the Boxer rebels, while Foo demands that Soo prove he is Chinese. Their feud turns increasingly violent, leading up to a final showdown that robs Soo of his life and leaves only mystery behind.
In this novel, Chang Kuo-Li vividly recreates the world of stage magicians, revolutionists, journalists, freedom fighters, and prop makers from a distant era. His dual narrative depicts a legendary face-off between magicians while exploring China’s turbulent modern history, and quietly telling the story of an enigmatic woman known as Green, who just might be the greatest Chinese magician of them all.