Carter Beats the Devil

Carter Beats the Devil

by Glen David Gold

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Overview

A hypnotizing work of historical fiction that stars 1920s magician Charles the Great, a young master performer whose skill as an illusionist exceeds even that of the great Houdini.

Nothing in his career has prepared Charles Carter for the greatest stunt of all, which stars none other than President Warren G. Harding and which could end up costing Carter the reputation he has worked so hard to create. Filled with historical references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of Roaring Twenties, pre-Depression America, Carter Beats the Devil is a complex and illuminating story of one man's journey through a magical and sometimes dangerous world, where illusion is everything.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786870165
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 12/01/2001
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 273,256
File size: 4 MB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Glen David Gold received his MFA for creative writing at the University of California at Irvine and has written for newspapers, film, and television. He currently lives in Southern California.

Hometown:

Long Beach, California

Place of Birth:

Hollywood, California

Education:

M.F.A., University of California at Irvine, 1998

Customer Reviews

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Carter Beats the Devil 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
DaniSeaLark More than 1 year ago
I'm not particularly a historical fiction kind of reader. I find that usually fact gets in the way of the overall good time of the narrative. That wasn't the case with Carter Beats The Devil however! This book is engrossing and captivating from beginning to end. This book was written as Gold's thesis project when he graduated from UCI with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. If a first novel can be this good, then I am anxious to read any forthcoming novels written by this author.
FGHart More than 1 year ago
Although initially daunted by the length of "Carter Beats the Devil," the novel came highly recommended so I committed to include it in my summer reading material. At over 650 pages it was a little bulky for beach fare but perfect for my bedside table. The characters are well-developed and engaging, which makes the tale easy to read in bursts. We follow Carter's story from childhood, when he is first introduced to magic, to his early days as a magician, through his career in a field that is secretive and competitive. Author Glen David Gold establishes the story in an era filled with historical references, including the presence of such characters as Houdini and President Warren G. Harding. Woven throughout the tale of Carter's career are tales of courtship, romance, chivalry, danger and intrigue. Carter's first love blooms and grows despite his awkwardness. When disaster strikes, we mourn with Carter. When, later in life, Carter finds himself with the opportunity to love again we're compelled to cheer him on in his efforts at romance. Carter is a man who consistently strives to do the right thing in every situation. Gold does him justice, developing Carter as a sympathetic character to be admired and supported, even when it appears he may have gone too far in pursuit of his next illusion. This is truly a tale well told.
mikemillertime on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For a book about dueling magicians, technological espionage and a presidential assassination, the only thing really amazing about "Carter Beats the Devil" is how boring and straightforward it is. First off, there is nothing supernatural to see here; the "devil" is sheerly metaphorical. So after navigating through that misunderstanding of illusory misdirection, one arrives at an overblown and cliched narrative with a threadbare plot buried amongst lengthy passages of dull exposition and tepid banter. Almost all the personalities are drawn in broad, simple strokes with the majority of supporting characters either being a one-dimentional plucky sidekick or sinister bad guy. Everyone sounds the same when they all talk with the ubiquitous early-century spitfire sarcasm. Why does a drive across town need to include a pointless stop into a refilling station which even includes a full page and a half of historical backstory for that establishment? Magical magic is repeatedly employed by the protagonist without any explanation or validation as to the actual logic of the illusion, a gimmick that grows completely tiresome by book's end. The writer's constant desire to share his literary aplomb and gusto for language frequently obscures the prose to the point of making straightforward actions difficult to follow when they are detailed in a relentlessly vague and artsy style of writing. Certainly this book is really only for readers who relish being submerged into a lush, historic backdrop, which is the novel's primary strength. But like the over-eager brown-noser in a history class dying to impress by repeatedly espousing their knowledge to the eye-rolls of their peers, "Carter Beats the Devil" often only wants to tell you about some tiny, diversionary trivia instead of moving its stock story forward, swelling a novella into a 500-page brick. Do not fall for this "Kavalier and Clay" wannabe.
Dorritt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What fun! Like a great magic act, this book starts out deceptively simple and then the author starts adding new flourishes and complications until you're riveted, breathlessly waiting to see what he's going to pull out of the hat next. Don't worry; Gold provides a slap-bang finale (in which Carter beats not one but several devils) that should leave most readers cheering and shouting "Encore!" Though long at 450+ pages the story moves quickly: like Carter, this author has a good line of patter, knows how to put on a good show, and is adept at misdirection. Just one suggestion: book's publisher ought to consider moving the author's "afterword" to a "forward" so that readers appreciate from the outset just how exhaustively the events in the book have been researched, and how some of the more unbelievable/ outrageous bits turn out to be actual historical truth!
kakadoo202 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
finally a story that is not predictable. fun fast to read, however the second part started to become confusing and not so believable anymore. I got stuck a few times but made it to the end, but I can still not deciffer the label.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story would make a great comic book or action movie. Not my usual type of book, but I found it surprisingly fun.
woodge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a thrilling, romantic, fascinating book and will probably be my favorite book read this year. Carter Beats the Devil is a historically fact-based novel about magician Charles Carter who performed in the golden age of magic (1890s thru the 1920s). This story pits Carter against rival magicians and Secret Service agents who suspect Carter had a hand in the death of President Harding. I was drawn in from the get-go. This book is full of suspense, humor, and panache. It came highly recommended from Michael Chabon, author of the Pulitzer-prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (also an excellent book). Carter Beats the Devil is a richly imagined story full of wonderful characters and it has perhaps the most thrilling, exciting, whiz-bang conclusion I've come across in ages. Great, great book.
hedera on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this because the reviews were great, but I was disappointed. I got half way through the book and realized I didn't really care about any of the characters, starting with Carter. He spends most of the book glooming about the tragedies in his life; it turns out at one point that he doesn't know how much money he has; the real Charles Carter, a successful stage magician, can't possibly have been such a nebbish. The ending (no spoilers!) was interesting and suggestive but the book just wambled along.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a marvelous novel about Charles Carter, aka Carter the Great, a magician. It covers from his youth in the 1890s into his greatest show in the 1920s. Along the way the story involves Houdini, creation of great magic, two great loves, Philo Farnsworth and the creation of television, and a lion. Glen Gold has the talent to make it all work spectacularly. Recommended.
opiatewave on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A really well written story, vivid and engaging. It's like a biopic, yet not too overwhelming or droll. Gold's prose style matches the sensationalist tone of a magic show at many moments inside this story. He builds his characters well, with villains to despise and a believable hero you can root for. I really enjoyed the glimpse into early 20th century San Francisco as well.
MacsTomes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read 300 pgs. gave up, great storyline but got tired of characters, didnt keep my interest.
daizylee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A really great read for just about anybody.
nefernika on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was so much fun to read I read it three times. Just thinking about it while writing this review makes me wish I were reading it, because if I were, I would be having such a super awesome time. I would probably be giggling. out loud. right here in the office. Carter is a trip, and the way Gold addresses the magic (by never revealing the secret) is phenomenal. The rapport he develops with his FBI tail is hilarious. This is my favorite kind of novel: it's fun to read AND it's good.
sarathena1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book starts out great. By the time the end comes around, you absolutely love the main character (something that rarely happens in the modern novel). The ending was a bit too "perfect" for my tastes, but a fun read nonetheless.
BooksForDinner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wowee. Excellent characters, just enough period detail, nice job all around. Can't wait to read his second book, Sunnyside.
skillz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
interesting characters (houdini included), and it revolves around the wonderful theme of magic. a simple story about a man finding his way through life, but with the added dimension of magic and some historical facts. it sometimes gets a bit draggy though, but overall a decent read.
jennyo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished "Carter Beats the Devil" by Glen David Gold. It was fantastic. Really well written, suspenseful, very well-drawn characters. I enjoy historical fiction, so this was a real treat. It's sort of a suspense novel, but also introduces you to the mechanics behind the illusions created by the magicians of the '20's, '30's and '40's (Houdini, etc.) It has great historical tidbits about the Secret Service and President Warren G. Harding too. I don't think it comes out in paperback until August, but if you can find a copy somewhere, I'd pick it up. It's well worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched and very enjoyable
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Love historical novels - and this is a really entertaining one - based on actual events - never a dull moment and never know what comes next!
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