HEARTFIRE by Orson Scott Card


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Another in Card’s superior fantasy series about Alvin Smith (Alvin Journeymen, 1995, etc.), set in an alternate world where magic works—people are born with “knacks”—and America is divided among a tiny Union, various European colonies, and inviolable Red territory west of the Mizzipy River. Alvin, a Maker—his magic is creative, holistic, and used only for good—has married his boyhood sweetheart, Margaret, and adopted the former slave boy Arthur Stuart. Margaret—her knack is to read a person’s heartfire, and thus glimpse their future—will travel south to meet the exiled king of England, Arthur Stuart, in his court at Camelot and attempt to persuade him to end slavery in the Crown Colonies (any alternative, so Margaret has foreseen, will be a dreadful slaughter). Alvin, meanwhile, journeys north to New England, where he will deploy both magic and legal wizardry to overthrow the corrupt and oppressive system of justice that declares those who have knacks to be evil witches. That mission accomplished, Alvin will raise his brother Calvin from the dead after Calvin will have been killed helping Margaret in her crusade against slavery. Alvin continues to mature and gain confidence, although neither accomplishment here brings him any closer to discovering how to use the living gold plow he has crafted, or to an understanding of the vision of the Crystal City shown him years ago by the Red Prophet. One more absorbing entry in this brilliantly conceived and fetchingly rendered series.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-85054-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1998


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