THE TRAVELING WONDER SHOW centers on Marcus Hughes, once the world's greatest practitioner of magic (not a hack like Houdini, but the kind of magician who can pull a quarter out of your ear from across the room). Along with his partner, Guy Bertreaux, Hughes once had the most popular stage show on Earth and the love of his life in the act's assistant, Paulina Wexler. But in 1940, after the practice of magic was made illegal in America and both Guy and Paulina disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Marcus Hughes went into seclusion for almost fifty years to avoid prison. Now, on November 18, 1985, CBS Chicago's lead news anchor, Stanton Rivers, has found Hughes and baited the legend out of hiding for a live, two-hour interview certain to be the television event of the century. With secrets kept on both sides, the night unfolds as a battle of wits between two men desperate to find out the truth.