The Grand Illusion

Enter a world of magic, mystery, war and illusion from the bestselling author Syd Moore


Historical fiction inspired by the War Office response to the Nazi obsession with the occult

Step forward Daphne Devine - you are about to change the course of the war

‘A breathtaking historical thriller.’ Erin Kelly, author of The Skeleton Key

June 1940. As World War Two rages, Daphne Devine remains in London, performing each night as assistant to stage magician Jonty Trevelyan, aka the Grand Mystique.

Then the secret service call.

For, aware of Hitler’s belief in the occult, the war office has set up a hidden cohort to exploit this quirk in the enemy’s chain of command.

Daphne and Jonty find themselves far from the glitz and glamour of the theatre, deep inside the lower levels of Wormwood Scrubs prison. Here, they join secret ranks of occultists, surrealists, and other eccentrics co-opted to the war effort. There is one goal: to avert invasion on British shores.

Soon Daphne realises she must risk everything if there is any chance of saving her country

'Quirky, clever and compelling.' Anna Mazzola, author of The Clockwork Girl

'A rattling good read.' Barbara Nadel, author of Belshazzar's Daughter

About the author(s)

Syd Moore is best known for her Essex Witch Museum Mysteries (Strange Magic, Strange Sight, Strange Fascination, Strange Tombs and later in 2020, Strange Tricks). The series was shortlisted for the Good Reader Holmes and Watson Award 2018. She has twice been shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2019 and 2020. Her debut screenplay, Witch West, which she developed from an original idea, has been optioned by Hidden Door Productions and will be released in Autumn 2021. She lives in Essex.


'Gripping, strange, unusual. Beautiful writing and a brilliant heroine. I loved it.' Sophia Bennett, author of The Look

'An intriguing novel, laced with insight and humour, and Daphne is a heroine who would shine in any age.' Olivia Isaac-Henry, author of The Verdict

'A blend of glamour, stagecraft and espionage...had me gripped from the first page. I screamed aloud at one point! Impossible not to fall in love with the characters. Loved it.' Rachael Blok, author of Under the Ice

'A ripping wartime tale of plucky Brits fighting the Nazis with distraction, deception and darkness. Thrilling, inventive and fabulously entertaining. I loved it.' Paddy Magrane, author of Disorder