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Magic in Ithkar 3

1 rating: 5.0
A book by (Franklin) Robert Adams

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Tags: Books
Author: (Franklin) Robert Adams
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
1 review about Magic in Ithkar 3

The snake gets all the lines in volume 3 of this magical series

  • Jun 21, 2010
I believe there were only four 'Magic in Ithkar' volumes, which is a shame because Norton and Adams did a great job of soliciting (and editing?) these commonly-themed fantasy shorts. Each of the four collections has the same prologue by Robert Adams, which explains how the fair originated in Ithkar (a religious anniversary turned pilgrimage), the set-up (temple, campgrounds for the merchants, docks and canals for the riparian traffic, etc.), and the difficulties encountered on a pilgrimage or trading voyage to Ithkar (Death Swamp, dragons, outlaw wizards). All weapons must be surrendered before entering the fair and wizards are discouraged from glamorizing shoddy goods with their spells. Of course, as at any large festival, the fair at Ithkar has its share of rogues, piratical merchants, bravos, potion-makers and witches, troupes of entertainers (not a few of them turning tricks), and gullible pilgrims.

The stories:

"Three Knives in Ithkar" by Gareth Bloodwine - A somber story of an apprentice herbalist who falls in obsessively in love with a pretty shill for a knife-throwing booth.

"Were-Sisters" by Ann R. Brown - Two sisters who happen to be werewolves bake yummy deer-meat pastries for the opening of the Ithkar Fair. Unfortunately, another baker has a grudge against them.

"The Magic Carpet" by James Clark - A carpet seller has a bad day at the Fair when an item of his merchandise floats. The punishment for magicking sales goods is rather severe in Ithkar.

"The Amiable Assassin" by A.C. Crispin - When a young guard, who also works in his mother's laundry talks about 'taking care of dirty laundry' in an alehouse, he is mistaken for an assassin.

"Guardians of the Secret" by Ginger Curry and Monika Conroy - I have problems with stories with lines like "Night was squatting once again upon Ithkar" or "Dawn was a vampire lover kissing the slumbering city awake." At any rate, an old perfumer passes on a world-shattering secret (which we never learn) to her young successor (who immediately turns old and ugly).

"The Beggar and His Cat" by Gene DeWeese - A beggar indulges in a long monologue about his cat, who may or may not be magical.

"Flarrin Red-chin" by M. Coleman Easton - A young woman's dowsing talent manifests itself in a rather unusual fashion.

"Covenant" by P.M. Griffin - An artist and a warrior take on the dark god, Thotharn.

"What Little Girls Are Made Of" by T.S. Huff - A hugely popular candy-maker makes her annual trip to the Fair and is forced to bargain with a follower of Thotharn for her granddaughter's honor. The story's good except for a slightly unbelievable ending.

"Eyes of the Seer" by Caralyn Inks and Georgia Miller - A blind seer loses his gift when a harlot steals his 'amulet.' A tinsmith who wants to apprentice himself to the seer promises to make him a new one.

"Fiddler Fair" by Mercedes Lackey - A girl disguised as a boy tries out for the Bardic Guild. When she wins the trial and announces her true sex, the Bards promptly smash her instruments and kick her out of the tent. However, this isn't the end of the story.

"The Silverlord" by Morgan LLywelyn - A genetically enhanced white stallion catches the eye of a beautiful race rider. Will they find true love across the species barrier?

"SunDark in Ithkar" by S. Lee Rouland - A girl with the magical gift of being able to predict the positions of astronomical objects wants to apprentice herself to an astrologer. Meanwhile the priests of Thotharn (he really has a big presence in this volume) plot to use an eclipse to acquire more followers.

"Hair's Breath" by Susan Shwartz - Two married traders and their baby are kidnapped by underwater demons. Fortunately, the husband is a dream-singer with an unusual harp.

"The Singing Eggs" by Kiel Stuart - A down-on-her-luck portrait painter acquires a new apprentice, a batch of singing eggs, and an important client. So, what's the catch?

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