Arthur Kirkland and Wang Yao are immortal magicians and rivals. They decide to pit their apprentices against each other - Arthur chooses his son, Alfred; Yao locates a strange orphan, Kiku. The two train for years and years, Kiku steeped in ancient scholarly magic and languages; Alfred in a series of sudden and sometimes grueling tests of endurance and power.
Meanwhile, eccentric billionaire Romulus di Silva has decided to create the most magnificent circus known to mankind: Staged in black and white, it will be open from dawn to dusk, the lines between the real and the magic blurred. In these walls, time seems to slow. Arthur and Yao decide it’s the perfect place to test their apprentices. Every action, every word, every intake of breath is another chess piece moved; and there can only be one winner.
But wait! Alfred and Kiku begin to fall in love as their game goes on. They know the stakes; they have trained for this their whole lives. But what is the point of power and winning if you have to lose the person you love most in this world?
Lovino and Feliciano: Twins, one born seven minutes before midnight and one thirteen minutes into the new day. Lovino can only see the past; Feliciano can only see the future. Their grandfather is Romulus di Silva.
Ludwig: A young German boy who is enchanted by the impossibility of the circus - and the strange Italian boy who inhabits it and beckons him closer.
Ivan: A young man who has fallen in love with Alfred and joined the circus to be close to him, though Alfred doesn’t appear to notice his affections.
Im Yong Soo: One of Yao’s old (immortal) apprentices, though he keeps this secret and hidden under 10 layers of youthful and eccentric charm. He’s joined the circus for reasons unknown: To get revenge on his old mentor? To stop the tragedies of the past from reoccurring? Only time will tell.
Francis Bonnefoy: A French writer and poet who is enamored with the magic of the circus and has become determined to track down its proprietors - aka, Arthur Kirkland.
are you supernaturally inclined? a witch? a ghost? a wolf man? a vampire? succubi? incubi? skeleton man? talking frog? are you otherwise entangled in the paranormal? have you become estranged by your friends and family, looking for like-minded and like-powered folk like you? look no further! the doyle’s home for the eccentric youth has got you covered.
Four years ago, Lizzie Widdicombeprofiled then-fourteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson, writing:
“Though the fashion world is accustomed to both youth and eccentricity, Tavi is a rare spectacle. Seeing her moving through the scrum backstage at a fashion show, elaborately costumed and surrounded by paparazzi, brings to mind a religious procession involving a Buddhist child deity.”