Le Professeur vs The Great Danton

After viewing the film adaptation of the book years ago, I wanted to hunt and read this novel by Christopher Priest which he published in UK in 1995. Even if an online book reviewer over the Amazon gave this novel an average rating and advised the readers to watch the movie instead, I thought otherwise and gave this book a try.

I was right. Reading the sci fi book turned out good and I loved it as much as I enjoyed the movie. One needs only an open mind to appreciate it. This epistolary and steampunk novel deserved both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Best Fiction in 1995 and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1996.

The story is brilliant in stealing your attention since the first page and you'll never get out of that thrill until you finish reading it. It stalks the reader by carefully revealing the secrets and giving you with not so obvious clues that will leave you wanting for more. It is also empathic in showing each character's viewpoint and depth, and at times macabre that centers highly on a great and mortal feud between two magicians in the Victorian Era. The only comparison I can give between the movie and the book without spoiler is that in the movie, Alfred Borden is the protagonist but in the novel the protagonist is Rupert Angier (you will hate Alfred Borden in the novel). And in the novel, the legacy of the feud passes on for generations down to their descendants to finally solve themselves the riddle.

That final scene between "brothers in identity" is very cool and eerie at the same time. If you're familiar with Tesla, he was a very important character in inventing a device that will change the outcome of the feud. 

It's nice to imagine that this book by Christopher Priest caught the attention of Christopher Nolan (whose name is the current talk of the town in directing the best film of the year Inception) to make a film adaptation of this novel which he released in 2006.


highly memorable passages:

"I was angry that my best illusion had been copied; I was even angrier that it had been battered. Worst of all, though, was the fact that I could not work out how it was done."

"My reunion with myself must be one of the most unusual in history! He and I were perfect compliments to each other. Everything I lacked was in him; everything I had he had lost. Of course we were the same, closer to each other than identical twins."

"With all these completed I will charge up the Tesla device again and use it for the last time. Alone, in secret, I plan to transmit myself across the aether for the most sensational manifestation of my career...I am preparing myself, rehearsing as if an audience of thousands will be watching. But this act of magic must uniquely take place while I am alone, with no one at all  to witness it..."

Genre: Sci Fi, Historical Fantasy, Steampunk
Rating: 4 out of 5 Tesla devices


  1. Hi, narj. I just read The Prestige a couple of months ago, too, and I was very impressed. Like you, I saw the movie first. But what I like about the book is the way it moves from "reality" to science fiction to fantasy (of sorts) at the very end.

  2. Yeah, that transition from reality to fantasy is very smooth and resolving (walang butas sa plot) that made it an easy read... No wonder Christopher Nolan liked it too.

    Thanks for visiting my blog... it's been a long time =)

  3. I am not a fan of mystery and sci-fi being the dullest person you'll ever know but I think it souunds like a good book and a good movie at that. ^_^ I like the way you reviewed it.

  4. Hello Fun and Fearless! Thanks for dropping by! =)


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