Matt Cooper is twelve, and spends quite a bit of his time honing his magic skills and tricks. He doesn’t realise that his great-grandfather, Mattheus Coperneau, was a professional magician whose career came to a disastrous end when a trick he performed backfired spectacularly. What neither Matt nor Mattheus realise is that there’s an even older story behind the failure of Mattheus’s ‘disappearing trick’ and a tragic romance is at the bottom of it all.
In 1889, Joachim tannislaus is a young scientist with a stellar career in front of him and half the girls in the small principality of Montilagus pursuing him. But Joachim loves Princess Agneta, who is also studying at the university. When he and Agneta are caught in an embrace, he is thrown into prison to perish, but Agneta gives him a dose of the potion they have been working on in secret, little knowing that the elixir has given him the possibility of eternal life. When Matt and his family return to Montilagus to clear his great-grandfather’s name, Matt discovers that there’s more to magic than meets the eye.