Jonathan Lincoln Auxier
Vienna, 1784. When Wolfgang, a brash young inventor, exposes the tricks of the royal magician, he is given a choice: show the courts something more spectacular than magic tricks and he shall be rewarded; fail and he shall be killed. After weeks of struggling, desperate and frightened, he enlists the help of Greggor, a young con-artist. Together, they introduce the Turk, a clockwork man capable of playing chess! The Turk is an instant success, confounding the courts and catapulting Wolfgang to celebrity. The Empress forces Wolfgang to tour the Turk across Europe, and Wolfgang has no choice but to continue the deception. Accompanying him on this journey are the skeptical court inventor and his beautiful daughter, Anna. Wolfgang struggles to show them just how magical the world can be, daring them to believe in the impossible. In Paris, at the National Chess Tournament, the Turk cheats its way to victory, and Wolfgang struggles to hide his secret from throngs of skeptics. An international sensation, the Turk draws crowds, money, and fame. Meanwhile, Wolfgang courts the literal-minded Anna, tearing down her defenses and showing a world bigger than science or reason. As the final match approaches, Wolfgang is forced to make a final decision: live with a lie, or sacrifice his dreams.