Magic Words

Gerald Kolpan

The tale of a Jewish boy-interpreter, the world's most estimable magician, a murderous harlot, and America's greatest indian chief

by gerald-kolpan Read about him







Arriving in America in the wake of the Civil War, Julius comes of age surrounded by the wild world of 1867 Omaha. He befriends the mysterious Prophet John, who saves his life when the two are captured by the Ponca Indian tribe. Living as a slave, Julius meets the noble chief Standing Bear and his young daughter, Prairie Flower, with whom he falls in love. Using his astounding facility with languages, Julius becomes the tribe’s interpreter and a champion of its rights.

His life seems safe and settled; but Julius has reckoned without the arrival of his older cousin, Alexander—who, as the Great Herrmann, will soon become the most famous magician in the world.

Nor does Julius suspect the danger posed by Alex’s treacherous brother, Compars; or the ultimate consequences of the magician’s affair with Lady-Jane Little Feather, a glamorous— and murderous—prostitute destined to become the most scandalous woman on two continents.

Based on historical events, Magic Words is filled with colorful characters, rollicking humor and the danger of the frontier. It is also a gripping adventure about the nature of prejudice, the horror of genocide, and two amazing men: one fighting for love and freedom, the other living for mystery and magic.

Read Chapter 31 of the book

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  1. "Kolpan’s magical feats include more than conjuring diverse, intricately detailed historical settings and heart-revving predicaments. He also offers sensitive revelations of the horrific suffering of Native Americans forced from their homelands, crimes and tragedies he thoughtfully parallels with the bloodshed and exile endured by Jews. In all, a distinctively insightful and bewitching work of compassionate historical fiction by an adept novelist one hopes has lots more tricks up his sleeves…"

  2. "Kolpan’s ambitious second novel (after Etta) follows a family of Jewish magicians from the Wild West to the glittering theaters of Victorian London...Kolpan’s novel rollicks along with a huge cast, colorful locales, and a jolly sense of fun."

    -Publisher's Weekly
  3. "Kolpan weaves an enthralling tale of adventure featuring larger-than-life characters, without trite Western stereotypes. Readers who loved Kolpan's Etta should enjoy this new work."

    -Library Journal