Russell L. Hansen
Tor , September 1995. Hardcover:
Suggested retail price: $24.95 (US)
Audience: Adults and teenagers regardless of religion, race, or political persuasion
Brief Plot Summary
Early 1800's fantasy world taking place on the American frontier. Some references in the series resemble events in Joseph Smith's life.
The story begins with Alvin in the town of Vigor Church, where he is trying to teach others to be Makers, without much success. His younger brother, Calvin (a very jealous young man) decides he must leave, to get out from under his brother's shadow and find his own way to becoming a Maker. Through some strange imaginations of others and false accusations, Alvin, himself is forced to leave. He travels with Arthur Stewart (A young, half black, half white boy) and ends up taking him back to Hatrack River, the town that Arthur grew up in. This town has been a pivital town throughout the series. Alvin was born here. His oldest brother Vigor died here just moments after Alvin's birth (making Alvin the seventh son of a seventh son, and thirteeth child, all of them living). Alvin apprentised to the blacksmith here for seven years, and several other key characters in the book lived in this town.
Almost imediately upon arrival Alvin is arrested under the charge of stealing gold from Makepeace Smith (The blacksmith Alvin apprentised with.) and thrown into jail. About half of the book deals with the resulting trial. I hate to leave you hanging, but I don't want to give away too much. Let's just say, that in order to get Alvin acquitted, the Unmaker must be revealed.
I thought this book was very good. For the most part, I found it hard to put down. Card pulled characters in from all three of the previous books in the series, which helps keep it cohesive. (You really need to read these in the order they were written.)
I think the only critisism I could say, would be about Card in general. I've read a lot of his books, and enjoyed nearly all of them, but one thing I find annoying is he seems to have a hard time ending his novels. Is that why he has so many unfinished series? :-) He seems to have a tendancy to try to tie up all the loose ends. This might sound like a good thing to do, but the way he does it just seems a little too obvious and somewhat forced to me.
Don't get me wrong. I still love the stories. I just wish the last chapter of each of his books would flow as well as the rest of the book did.
As evidence that I still enjoy Card; I'm now reading Pastwatch, The Redemption of Christopher Colombus. I should be able to review it in a few days.
Russ Hansen email@example.com
© 1996 Russell L. Hansen