In York in 1806, John Segundus attends a meeting of gentlemen interested in magic. He is dismayed that they only study and do not perform it, believing the practise long dead. A member with a similar interest, Mr Honeyfoot, directs him towards the reclusive Mr Norrell, John telling him he has heard of a prophesy that magic would return to the land thanks to two practitioners. After Norrell astounds the society by animating the statues in York Minster, he attains celebrity and travels to London, meeting the mystic street magician Vinculus, who foresees an illustrious future for him. He also succeeds in reviving the dying young wife of war secretary Pole but only after he has evoked a sinister spirit, the Gentleman, who strikes a bargain with him for his powers. Meanwhile in the country, Jonathan Strange, who has recently inherited his father's estate, meets Vinculus, from whom he discovers that Jonathan himself is also a great magician.
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Did You Know?
The Speaker of the House of Commons calls on Sir Walter Pole by name. Until recently this was not done: because of Parliament's history as the antagonist of the king or queen, the identities of participants were kept obscure under labels like "the honourable Member for [place]". See more
[Vinculus prophecy to Mr. Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The name of one shall be Fearfulness, the name of the other, Arrogance. The first shall fear me, the second shall long to behold me. The first shall bury his heart in the dark wood beneath the snow, yet still feel its ache. The second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy's hand. Both will fail. The nameless slave shall be a king in a strange land. I will return.