The Prestige is both a tragedy, and an emotionally engaging and tragic chronicle of one man's discovery of his origins, self and substance. The bulk of the story is set around the turn of the 20th century, focusing on two magicians - Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier - who, due to youthful naivety, tragic coincidences, misunderstandings and mutual pride, begin a feud early on in their careers, which then continues for the rest of their lives. They become obsessed with each other, and the desire of each to outdo the other consumes them both.
The Prestige is one of the subtlest, most satisfying novels published in a very long time. Priest has written with supreme skill and restraint, creating a backdrop which remains exactly that whilst enhancing the story line, and beautifully illustrating the social rituals of the period setting. We feel saddened to lose the characters in his story at the turn of the last page, and genuinely moved by the ultimate conclusion. Absolutely stunning.