Illusion

Illusion

4.3 83
by Frank Peretti
     
 

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Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is

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Overview

Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape. Alone in a strange world, she uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing magic on the streets and in a quaint coffee shop.

Hoping to discover an exciting new talent, Dane ventures into the coffee shop and is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this teenager who has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met and married some forty years earlier.

They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but even as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him, they are watched by secretive interests who not only possess the answers to Mandy’s powers and misplacement in time but also the roguish ability to decide what will become of her.

Frank Peretti has crafted a rich, rewarding story of love and life, loss and restoration, full of twists and mystery. Exceptionally well written, Illusion will soon prove another Peretti classic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Frank Peretti is a master storyteller. His novels stay with you a lifetime, drawing you closer to God and the truth in His word.”

"Frank Peretti kicked open the doors that all of us Christian novelists are passing through today. We owe him a huge debt."

"Frank Peretti may just be the master storyteller of our time—using modern metaphors and fresh images, this remarkable writer helps us visualize the unseen world in ways we never quite pictured before."

"Frank Peretti is a master storyteller. He has a way of using fiction to draw our attention to the very real spiritual world around us. His stories are modern day classics and I can't wait to see the impact Illusion has on readers!"

Publishers Weekly
Some novelists resist allegory, but Peretti (Monster) embraces it. When Mandy dies in a car accident, Dane, her husband of 40 years and illusionist partner, must carry on without her. But is he really without her? Mandy awakens from the accident in the present, but as a 19-year-old who thinks it’s 1970. The two soon meet as Mandy is experimenting with some new magical powers and trying to figure out just who is behind this grand illusion. Though she calls herself Eloise, she resembles the Mandy whom Dane met 40 years before, and it’s making him crazy. Meanwhile Mandy wonders if she is certifiably crazy herself, but she is soon confronted by dark figures who know why she came back and what could become of her. Peretti captures the irony of how two magicians get caught in a greater illusion than they’ve ever created themselves. (Mar. 6)
Karen Kingsbury
“Frank Peretti is a master storyteller. His novels stay with you a lifetime, drawing you closer to God and the truth in His word.” —Karen Kingsbury, New York Times bestselling author
Jerry B. Jenkins
"Frank Peretti kicked open the doors that all of us Christian novelists are passing through today. We owe him a huge debt." —Jerry B. Jenkins, author, The Left Behind Series
Joni Eareckson Tada
"Frank Peretti may just be the master storyteller of our time—using modern metaphors and fresh images, this remarkable writer helps us visualize the unseen world in ways we never quite pictured before." —Joni Eareckson Tada
Michael W. Smith
"Frank Peretti is a master storyteller. He has a way of using fiction to draw our attention to the very real spiritual world around us. His stories are modern day classics and I can't wait to see the impact Illusion has on readers!" —Michael W. Smith
Kirkus Reviews
A time-traveling work of legerdemain by well-known Christian novelist Peretti (Piercing the Darkness, 2003, etc.). If you were a magician's assistant, you'd probably file suit if your employer sent you spinning off into another dimension. Somehow, that's just what's happened to Mandy Collins, the lesser of equals in the magic act Dane and Mandy, who, after four decades of being married to the boss, has drifted into an alternate universe where she's back to her late-teen self in 1970. The soundtrack to that bit of time travel may be Flip Wilson, Dean Martin and Laugh-In ("Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me"), but all is not japes and jests in the land of the walking tie-dyed undead. Meanwhile, poor Dane Collins is stumbling through life thinking that Mandy is dead, their own private Idaho ("they still returned simply because it was Idaho and Mandy loved Idaho") empty without her. Until, that is, Mandy shows up in her 19-year-old guise, leading the old magician to, well, think about new tricks. In a pure-of-heart way, of course: Dane's no horndog, even if, you bet your bippy, the post-teenybopper makes for temptation: "Whatever this fixation with a twenty-year-old was," he notes, "it had to be affecting his thinking." Roger that. Peretti employs a squad of mad scientists to give the story wonky grounding--"She had at least 50 percent opacity, and I'm guessing I had the same opacity to her," says one dogged researcher before barking out weird-science lingo that belongs on a Star Trek set. (The reader will want to work the term "deflection debt" into his or her next conversation.) It would be stealing Peretti's thunder to tell what happens next, but suffice it to say that true love conquers all, even relativistic space-time. The physics are dubious, the story lightweight--but it's all good fun.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451669305
Publisher:
Howard Books
Publication date:
10/23/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
498
Sales rank:
240,320
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Frank Peretti is the author of This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness, The Oath, and many more. There are more than 12 million copies of his novels in print. He lives with his wife in the Western United States.

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Illusion


  • chapter

    1

    Mandy was gone. She went quietly, her body still, and Dane was at her bedside to see her go. The ICU physician said it was inevitable, only a matter of minutes once they removed the ventilator, and so it was. Her heart went into premature ventricular contractions, stopped, restarted momentarily, and then the line on the heart monitor went flat.

    It happened more quickly than anyone expected.

    She was an organ donor, so she had to be removed immediately for procurement. Dane touched her hand to say good-bye, and blood and skin came off on his fingers.

    A nurse wheeled him out of the room. She found a secluded corner out on the fourth floor patio, a place with a view of the city and shade from the Nevada sun, and left him to grieve.

    Now, try as he might to fathom such feelings, grief and horror were inseparably mixed. When he wiped his tears, her blood smeared his face. When he tried to envision how she gladdened whenever she saw him, how she would tilt her head and shrug one shoulder and her eyes would sparkle as she broke into that smile, he would see her through the blackening glass, crumpled over the steering wheel, the deflated airbag curling at the edges, melting into her face.

    A handkerchief made careful passes over his face below and around his eyes. Arnie was trying to clean him up. Dane couldn’t say anything; he just let him do it.

    The smell under his robe found his attention: sweat, antiseptics, gauze, bandages. His right shoulder still felt on fire, only, thanks to the painkillers, on fire somewhere else far away. Not a serious burn, they told him, so he kept telling himself. The bruises ate away at him, little monsters sequestered against his bones, festering under all that blued flesh in his side, his right hip, his right shoulder. It hurt to sit in the wheelchair; it hurt more to walk.

    He broke again, covering his eyes to ward off the vision of her hair crinkling, vaporizing down to her scalp, steam and smoke rising through her blouse, flames licking through the broken glass, but it remained. Oh, God! Why? How could He change her so instantly from what she was—the woman, the saint, his lover with the laughing eyes, wacky humor, and wisdom of years—to what Dane had just seen perish on a bloodied gurney behind a curtain, sustained by tubes, monitors, machines? The images replayed. He thought he would vomit again.

    Arnie brought the pan and a towel close under his chin.

    He drew in a long, quaking breath, then another, then centered his mind on every breath that followed, commanding, controlling each one.

    Arnie put the pan aside and sat close, silent.

    Dane gave his weeping free rein; there could be no stopping it even as his bruises tortured him with every quake of his body. The moment passed, not in minutes but in breaths, thoughts, memories, wrenchings in his soul, until somewhere in his mind, just slightly removed from the visions, the soul pain, the hospital smells, and the painkillers, he took hold of what he already knew.

    He could hardly place the breath behind the words. “I am just so much going to miss her.”

    Arnie blew his nose on the same handkerchief he’d used to clean Dane’s face. “You may never finish saying good-bye. Maybe that’s okay.” He cleared his throat. “If it were me, I could never give her up.”

    Dane noticed the move of the breeze over his face, the warmth of the sun on the patio. Birds flitted and chattered in the arbor. Mandy was about things like that.

    “I suppose there were many who loved her,” Dane said. “But it was my arm she took to go to parties; she wrote her love notes for me; she chose to share my future when I didn’t even have one.” His vision blurred with fresh tears. “How did a guy like me rate a woman like her?”

    Arnie touched him on the left shoulder, the one that wouldn’t hurt. “That’s the stuff you wanna remember.”

    Arnie Harrington, his agent but mostly his friend, a little on the heavy side, still had some hair but not much, and had to be as old as Dane but didn’t look it. How he found out there’d been an accident Dane would have to ask him later. It was only now that Dane fully recognized he was here.

    He drew a breath to calm his insides and touched Arnie’s hand. “Thanks for coming.”

    “Got a call from Jimmy Bryce over at the Mirage. He thought it was a rumor so he called me. I suppose I can call him back, but it’ll be all over town by now.”

    “Guess it’ll be in the papers.”

    “Guess they’re already writing it. I’ll handle all of that.”

    “I’d appreciate it.”

    Dane followed Arnie’s gaze toward the Las Vegas Strip, where every structure, object, entrance, and electric light vied for attention. It was no great revelation, but after all the years he and Mandy worked here, all he could see, all he cared to remember was the woman who remained real in such an unreal place. “I got way better than I deserved.”

    “Well, yeah.”

    “Forty years.”

    “Like I said . . .”

    “Forty years . . .” The fact came alive as he lingered on it and salved the horrors from his mind, at least for now. With no effort at all the unfaded image of Mandy first setting foot in his life played before his eyes, the dove girl sitting in the front row who caught and held his eye . . . to the swelling, carnival sound of a gilded merry-go-round.

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