Carter Beats The Devil By Glen David Gold
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Carter Beats The Devil
By Glen David Gold
Nothing in his career has prepared Charles Carter for the greatest stunt of all, which stars none other than President Warren G. Harding and which could end up costing Carter the reputation he has worked so hard to create. Filled with historical references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of Roaring Twenties, pre-Depression America, Carter Beats the Devil is a complex and illuminating story of one man's journey through a magical and sometimes dangerous world, where illusion is everything.
Filled with historical references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of Roaring Twenties, pre-Depression America, Carter Beats the Devil is a complex and illuminating story of one man's journey through a magical and sometimes dangerous world, where illusion is everything.
The 1920s was a golden age for stage magic and Charles Carter is an American stage magician at the height of his fame and powers. At the climax of his latest touring stage show, Carter invites United States President Warren G. Harding on to the stage to take part in his act. In front of an amazing audience, Carter proceeds to chop the president into pieces, cut off his head, and feed him to a lion, before restoring him to health. The show is a great success, but two hours later the president is dead, and Carter finds himself the center of some very unwelcome attention indeed.
This novel is a fictionalized biography of Charles Joseph Carter. The main character, Carter, is followed through his career, from his first encounter with magic to his last performance. Along the way, he encounters many historical figures, including fellow magicians Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston, United States President Warren G. Harding, BMW founder Max Friz, the Marx Brothers, business magnate Francis Marion "Borax" Smith, the inventor of electronic television Philo Farnsworth, and San Franciscan madams Tessie Wall and Jessie Hayman.
Most of the novel centers on the mysterious death of President Harding, who dies shortly after taking part in Carter's stage show. President Harding apparently knew of many serious scandals that seemed likely to bring down the establishment and it seems certain that he was assassinated by persons and methods unknown. Much of Carter's past is shown in the form of flashbacks as U.S. Secret Service Agent Griffin investigates the magician as a suspect.
The flashbacks chart Carter's early career including his first encounter with a magic trick, shown to him by "the tallest man alive", Joe Sullivan (also an actual, if obscure, historical figure) in a fairground sideshow, his first paid performance for Borax Smith, his rivalry with the magician "Mysterioso", his first meeting with Harry Houdini who bestows the title "Carter the Great" on him, and Carter's marriage to Sarah Annabelle.
Unbeknownst to Agent Griffin, President Harding passed a great secret to Carter: a young inventor named Philo Farnsworth has a new invention called television. Television is wanted by both the radio industry and the military and they are hunting Carter to get it. Carter must draw on all his magic to escape kidnapping and death as he seeks out the inventor. Along the way, Carter meets a young blind woman with a mysterious past and encounters a deadly rival.
Finally, in a magic show to end all magic shows, Carter must truly beat the devil if he is to save Farnsworth and his magical invention.
Details: Carter Beats The Devil
483 pages, Hardbound with dust jacket, size 6 1/2" by 9 1/2".
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