Carter the Great is Great
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I checked this book out after a glowing twitter review by Wil Wheaton. I believe that's a first for me. Knowing nothing of the book other than a geeky celebrity recommendation and the book jacket reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect. That seemed a perfect way to enter the reading of this tale, as magic, mystery, and illusion is the very nature of the story.
It follows the life of Carter the Great (although ficiton, Carter the Great is not), beginning with the terrifying day he discovered his desire to escape a la Houdini, taking us through his entire tumultuous career, two wives, numerous enemies, and murder of an American president. I would tell you more, but going into it blind, so to speak, is a wonderful experience. I highly recommend you try it.