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By Glen David Gold

The United States within the Nineteen Twenties was once a kingdom keen about magic. not only the type played in theaters and on phases around the state, however the magic of know-how, technology, and prosperity. input Charles Carter-a.k.a. Carter the Great-a younger grasp performer whose ability as an illusionist exceeds even that of the nice Houdini.

Fueled by way of a fondness for magic that grew out of desperation and loneliness, Carter has develop into a legend in his personal time. His exciting act contains outrageous stunts conducted on difficult units earlier than the main difficult audiences. however the such a lot outrageous stunt of all stars none except President Warren Harding and finally ends up approximately costing Carter the acceptance he labored so demanding to create.

Filled with ancient references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of postwar, pre-Depression the United States, Carter Beats the satan is the advanced and illuminating tale of 1 mans' trip via a magical-and occasionally dangerous-world, the place phantasm is every thing, and every little thing is illusory.

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One day, he arose early and announced he had a treat for them. He had outfitted the spider phaeton carriage for a trip, which struck Charles as treat enough already—whereas their mother always made them take the surrey, which was slow and safe, the spider was slight and spry and jumped excitingly over cobblestones. “We’re going to a fair,” his father said, clapping his hands. ” Charles’s face fell. He had been to fairs before, and suspected that this would be as much of a treat as a trip to the grocer’s.

Laddie Boy is lucky, if anyone poisoned him, it would be national headlines. ” Tug’s trunk ran against his hands, which he held forth, palms out. “Sorry, sweetheart, all gone. ” 8677-Carter Beats the Devil 8/21/01 2:31 PM Page 21 carter beats the devil 21 “Mr. ” “Mmm? I was just thinking how tremendous it would be to have a pet elephant. It would be like a dream, wouldn’t it? ” Harding tilted his head toward the rafters. Even in the dimness, his face looked ravaged. ” He smiled as if cheerful, and in that moment, Carter saw that the President of the United States had that awful, borrowed smile of a man who has seen too much.

Charles played with one eye on the clock, and an ear cocked for the sound of an approaching cab. James, who usually liked card games that he had a fair chance of winning, plummeted into a snit. ” he cried. ” “James,” Charles said, “you can’t cheat at Stealing Bundles. ” James yelled. He stood up. “We’re not supposed to bother Patsy. ” Charles followed his brother as he raced out of the room. “He’s cheating! ” With Charles in close pursuit, James ran up the back stairs, not even holding onto the banister.

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