RED PROPHET by Orson Scott Card


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The second installment of Card's Tales of Alvin Maker (Seventh Son, 1987), about an alternate frontier America where folk magic works (people have "knacks"), Red men are still very much in evidence, and numerous colonies exist alongside a fledgling US. The Red men are in tune ("green music") with the land in a way that the Whites are not; their leaders are brothers and at odds. Tenskwa-Tawa (the Red Prophet of the title), powerful in magic, sees visions of a crystal city built by Reds--and urges that his people withdraw across the Mizippy river to the west. His brother Ta-Kumsaw advocates armed resistance (using only traditional Red, stone weapons) to the guns-and-whiskey-bearing Whiles (the latter includes, for some reason, Napoleon Bonaparte). Young Alvin and his brother Measure are captured by Ta-Kumsaw, and figure prominently in both the Red brothers' plans. The Red Prophet shows Alvin his crystal vision, and predicts that Ta-Kumsaw will not be killed so long as Alvin accompanies him. Matters culminate in a ghastly slaughter of innocent, unresisting Reds by deluded Whites. A deeply felt and intricately wrought effort, with the intensity often at a crackling pitch. Yet the focus has slipped away from Alvin, the intrusion of Napoleon is wholly gratuitous, and the heavyweight cosmic complications don't help. Impressive, once again, but less immediately involving than Vol. I.
Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 1998
ISBN: 0812524268
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1988


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