Sub Rosa by Ariel Frailich
Reviewed by Quentin Reynolds

If you are familiar with any Ariel Frailich’s published work you will know that his main focus is on presentation. His book Card Stories being a perfect example.

He sees beyond moves and sleights as he explores the possibilities of the routines that can bring those hidden techniques to life and engage an audience.

Although his sleight-of-hand skills are considerable, here in Sub Rosa, he takes a simple technique known by most magicians - even though no one seems to know what it is called and hardly anyone does it - explores it in detail before teaching how it can be used in many different performing situations.

He calls it Sub Rosa: “The rose as a symbol of secrecy dates back to at least ancient Greece. In Medieval Europe, a rose suspended from the ceiling of council chambers, or sometimes carved into the ceiling, pledged all present to secrecy, thus sub rosa, ‘beneath the rose’, came to symbolize secrecy.”

The technique is simple to grasp and understand. With a few minutes practice, it’s not just undetectable, but there is not the slightest suspicion anything has taken place. It is one of the most natural moves ever developed and it won’t surprise you to know it’s often used by swindlers and con men.

Once you’ve got the basic handling, you will learn the many ways it can be used in both close-up and stage performing environments.

You’ll then explore the sixty different presentations for tricks and routines, where the technique will improve the handling.

There’s sections on both magic and mentalism, along with exploring added secret devices that can be used alongside the technique.

When Ariel asked me to look over this (at the moment an ePub ebook) manuscript, I expected something about thirty pages. In fact there are 180 pages, very well written with ample photos where needed. Ariel is a very good teacher and in this exhaustive treatise you will find - at the very least - one routine you will use. But of even greater value it will get you thinking about using this technique in effects you already perform and that is something we all need more of.

Sub Rosa by Ariel Frailich 180 pages, properly typeset, well laid out, most definitely recommended.


£20 sterling, $25 U.S. From


© Quentin Reynolds, February 2019