Home > Recommendations > “Card Sharp”, by Rajan Khanna

“Card Sharp”, by Rajan Khanna

New systems of magic. Vengeance. Master and apprentice. Desperate action. This story came from an anthology called The Way of the Wizard, and while I haven’t read all of the stories in the book, if this story is indicative, I’m going to have to.

Rajan Khanna is a familiar name to me most because he narrates a lot of stories over at Escape Artists, the parent organization for Escape Pod, Podcastle, and Pseudopod. He’s a great reader, but I’m only starting to get a sense of how good a writer he is, too.

“Card Sharp” is a story set in a Maverick-like pulp-Western world, so the story is almost genre even without the magic. The magic, however, is fairly unique and well implemented. Card sharps can enchant a single deck of cards, giving them 54 (jokers count) spells. In a lifetime. No more. The usual tropes of magic ranging from magic as unlimited resource to magic as something you have to rest to recuperate don’t begin to limit a “mage” as much as this does–the quotes are because I don’t even feel comfortable calling someone a mage when magic is so rare even in their lives.

The story goes quickly and is compelling, and the reading is excellent. This story gets a high “fun” rating from me.

Text: From The Way of the Wizard, but the story is available for free.
Audio: Podcastle 147

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  1. September 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I spent a lot of time reading all the OTHER free stories on that site, too. Wonderful!

  2. September 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    (oh, oops, that’s my blog account. [hey, check out my blog] This is Llyra. 🙂

  3. Steve Feldon
    September 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    The author just had another hit for me, with “Doors”, at Podcastle 172. http://podcastle.org/2011/08/30/podcastle-172-doors/ for the audio. Not for kids, but very compelling and new.

  4. September 11, 2011 at 8:02 am

    sweet, i’ll download it for when I start riding the bus in a couple weeks…

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