The Night Circus is a phantasmagorical fairy tale set near an ahistorical Victorian London in a wandering, magical circus that is open only from sunset to sunrise. Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) features exhibitions such as illusionists, fortune-tellers, and attractions that defy the laws of physics and reality. The circus has no set schedule, appearing and disappearing in random cities and towns without warning. The circus is powered by real magic, with performers frequently pulling off feats that seem impossible to spectators. In addition to showcasing the world’s best magical talent, the circus acts as a sparring ground for the protégés of two powerful magicians. The world-class illusionist Prospero the Enchanter and the enigmatic Mr. A. H.— agree to each raise and train a young magician, who will eventually face off against the other in a battle of wills and magic. Neither protégé is permitted to learn the identity of their competitor. This secretive conflict by proxy is referred to as the “game.” Prospero forces his daughter, Celia Bowen, to perfect her own illusionary skills through rigorous and often cruel training methods. Meanwhile, Mr. A. H.— trains his orphan ward, Marco Alisdair, to create fantastical scenes that exist only in the mind of his magic’s target.
The Night Circus
The Night Circus tells the story of the rivalry between two different forms of magic—the old and the new—and the competition and love affair between two young magicians who are destined to face each other in a magical duel to the death.