“A slick Manhattan spin on the story of the sorcerer’s apprentice” from the New York Times–bestselling author of the horror classic The Other (Chicago Tribune).
Though he bills himself as the Greatest Magician in the World, Michael Hawke is painfully aware that he’s nothing more than a sidewalk. He plies his trade outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entrancing passing crowds with feats of conjuring and sleight of hand. One afternoon, he plays a trick on a shabbily dressed man whose beard is twisted and whose glass eye gives him a sinister leer. Offended, the man responds with magic of his own, casting a spell that causes Michael to hop like a frog, maniacally splashing in the fountain until the police have to haul him out.
When he recovers from this trance, Michael knows that he has encountered a true magician, one whose secrets he will give anything to understand. But this is black magic, mysterious and deadly, and pursuing it will mean a confrontation with an evil older than civilization itself.
Published posthumously, Tryon's contemporary version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a lifeless, tedious affair that never transcends the restrictions of its stock plot. NYC street magician Michael Hawke is performing his tricks in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when a mysterious older man suddenly takes control of the show in a frightening manner. Instantly aware that the stranger is a master of the dark arts, Michael tracks him down, eager to perfect the mystical powers of which he's been given a taste. Once he finds Max Wurlitzer, Michael's life takes a sinister turn, until ultimately he must choose between following his mentor and returning to his girlfriend. Seeking to invoke a sense of evil and foreboding, Tryon succeeds only in making the forces of darkness seem ordinary. His prose is wordy and ponderous, with his cliched narrative leading to a leaden, anticlimactic ending. For compelling depictions of darkness and mystery, Tryon's fans will need to revisit his satisfyingly spooky Harvest Home and The Other. Movie rights to Paramount; audio to S&S Audio.