Sir Charles Ravenstreet, in his mid-fifties, is unmarried and childless and lives only for his work in the fast-paced world of business. When he is forced out of his job to make room for someone younger, Sir Charles finds himself at a loose end and facing the dismal prospect of an empty future. Believing he can make use of Sir Charles, the sinister Lord Mervil seeks to enlist his aid in a scheme to earn a fortune by manufacturing a new drug that relieves its users of all anxiety and will reduce the masses to a state of docility and mindless euphoria. But a plane crash and an encounter with three strange old men determined to thwart Lord Mervil’s plans will lead Sir Charles to the exciting discovery that when he suspected his life might be over, it had really only just begun.
One of the most enjoyable novels by the prolific J.B. Priestley (1894-1984), The Magicians (1954) is both a whimsical story of the strange and fantastic and a sharply satirical fable of modern life. This 60th anniversary edition features a new introduction by Lee Hanson and the original jacket art by Val Biro.
“Beautifully composed and splendidly written, it has great power and real point ... the command of the contemporary scene is masterly.... One of the best characters that have appeared in fiction for a very long time.” – Walter Allen, New Statesman
“[T]he story is novel in its incidents and he exploits skilfully the dramatic possibilities of extending human vision into normally hidden dimensions.” – The Guardian
“Mr. Priestley has always been a man of vision ... The Magicians has a theme of the first importance.” – Spectator