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The Crystal City: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume VI [Kindle Edition]

Orson Scott Card
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
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Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
Lords of the Sith
With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force and each other to depend on, the Emperor and Darth Vader, must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries. | Learn about the author, Paul S. Kemp

Book Description

Using the lore and the folk-magic of the men and women who settled North America, Orson Scott Card has created an alternate world where magic works, and where that magic has colored the entire history of the colonies. Charms and beseechings, hexes and potions, all have a place in the lives of the people of this world. Dowsers find water, the second sight warns of dangers to come, and a torch can read a person's future---or their heart.
In this world where "knacks" abound, Alvin, the seventh son of a seventh son, is a very special man indeed. He's a Maker; he has the knack of understanding how things are put together, how to create them, repair them, keep them whole, or tear them down. He can heal hearts as well as bones, he build a house, he can calm the waters or blow up a storm. And he can teach his knack to others, to the measure of their own talent.
Alvin has been trying to avert the terrible war that his wife, Peggy, a torch of extraordinary power, has seen down the life-lines of every American. Now she has sent him down the Mizzippy to the city of New Orleans, or Nueva Barcelona as they call it under Spanish occupation. Alvin doesn't know exactly why he's there, but when he and his brother-in-law, Arthur Stuart, find lodgings with a family of abolitionists who know Peggy, he suspects he'll find out soon.
But Nueva Barcelona is about to experience a plague, and Alvin's efforts to protect his friends by keeping them healthy will create more danger than he could ever have suspected. And in saving the poor people of the city, Alvin will be put to the greatest test of his life---a test that will draw on all his power. For the time has come for him to turn to his old friend Tenskwa-Tawa, the Red Prophet who controls the lands to the west of the Mizzippy. Now Alvin must take the first steps on the road to the Crystal City that was shown to him in a vision so long ago.

Books In This Series (6 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    If not the best in the series, Card's latest Alvin Maker novel (after 1998's Heartfire: Tales of Alvin Maker V) still enchants. In the author's alternative American frontier world, Indians work the magics of nature, Africans transform themselves with trinkets and whites have knacks-magical talents that allow them to shape metal, find water, win the hearts of followers and more. Alvin, the powerful seventh son of a seventh son, can create things that cannot be destroyed. He also has more than his fair share of knacks as well as some Indian magic. Determined to stop suffering where he finds it, he dreams of building the Crystal City, which will help mankind live in peace. A large part of the appeal lies in the book's homegrown characters using their powers for ordinary purposes. A blacksmith's knack shapes axes that never dull, while a midwife can sense the health of her patients. Even as Alvin performs miracles to lead thousands of slaves out of bondage, he is filled with uncertainty about what to do with his life and self-doubt because he couldn't save his stillborn child. Alvin's fans will be relieved to know that the City is indeed begun in this volume, but those who were expecting the start of the civil war, previously billed as forthcoming, will have longer to wait.
    Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


    Card creates a solid episode in what is perhaps his most interesting ongoing series. (Bookpage on The Crystal City)

    By mixing real settings, people, and situations with his own brand of characterization and biblical metaphor, the author has created an early America as it might have been if magic had played a part in its development. (Rocky Mountain News on The Crystal City)

    Product Details

    • File Size: 1960 KB
    • Print Length: 352 pages
    • Publisher: Tor Books (October 1, 2004)
    • Sold by: Macmillan
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B003H4I544
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,337 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a bit of a letdown after Heartfire August 31, 2005
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    I felt a little let down by "Crystal City." The quality of the writing and of the characters is still excellent: that's not the issue. But it just didn't feel very climactic for what seems like it ought to be the last book in the series. Maybe if it hadn't been named "Crystal City" I'd have felt better about it being just a link in the chain.

    I also found myself scratching my head and wondering if I'd missed a book in between Heartfire and Crystal City. There seems to have been at least a year in between the stories, which in any of itself isn't a problem except that they keep referring to things that happened - the death of a baby, Arthur's breakthrough, meeting Abe and Coz, rescuing a boatload of slaves, the splitting up of the Verily / Fink / Alvin / Arthur / Audobon crew, Peggy's acquaintence with Squirel and Moose... there seems to be a good book or two in there that we didn't get to read. Maybe he will fill in some gaps later the way he's done with Ender's universe?

    Finally, the Crystal City story itself just didn't seem to be long enough. There was so much going on that didn't really get much detail - especially the role of Abe, Coz, and Verily in getting the charter, the invasion of Mexico, Arthur's return, the journey north, etc. It almost felt like some of those details were too boring to write about... but that doesn't make sense considering the time he spent on similar topics in "Journeyman" and even "Heartfire."

    The book ended in such a way that we were left hopeful for another installment. I certainly hope we get one: as a climax for a really great series, this just didn't fit the bill.
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    33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars The Spark is Gone February 4, 2004
    In _The Crystal City_, Orson Scott Card's 6th book in the Alvin Maker series, Alvin starts an epidemic and builds a bridge, Arthur Stuart gets kissed and runs to Mexico and back, Calvin postures, Verily sulks and Margaret sighs. That's about it.
    Before embarking on _The Crystal City_ I went back and reread the entire series, as it had been five years or so since I was through them last and I wanted to be sure everything was fresh. I was, once more, delighted by the voice with its smooth use of early American colloquialism, impressed by the obvious knowledge of history and folklore that went into them, captivated by the engaging characters and astounded by the scope of the work. "Boy," I thought, "This is one Great Series!"
    Then I came to the current volume. And I was really disappointed. It purely does not compare with its companions in any way. The story was frankly boring and the Biblical allegory--which was very suave and subtle in the earlier works-- was just ham-handed. I don't object to Alvin's spending the entire book leading a group of slaves to freedom, but it doesn't make for very interesting action and the subplots weren't developed enough to alleviate the tedium. The language was mundane, without any of the personality I had come to expect. The earlier books seemed to be told by a breathing human being; TCC resembled a recitation by a history prof counting the days until retirement. The characters were flat. The characters we had seen before were not developed any further and the new characters were not developed at all. In previous books even minor characters had personalities and stories, but only lip service was paid to that here: note the stunning difference between _Heartfire's_ Denmark and TCC's Old Bart.
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars Take it out from the library February 16, 2004
    By A Customer
    The sixth book of the Tales of Alvin Maker feels a lot like the increasingly tired books at the end of the Ender series. It's not that the book is boring--I read it in two sittings--but although the plot is fine, it's simply not as well crafted as the earlier volumes in the series, and it shows. For one, the earlier books had a distinctive narrator, a sort of folksy presence that was clearly of the world of the book, but that is completely absent from this book, making the book read more like notes for a screen play than a coherent whole. Secondly, there's no overarching plot arc that makes this book stand alone the way the others in the series could--it feels more like the collected other adventures of Alvin Maker, and not like a coherent whole where the plot tensions pull the book to its conclusions. Third, the book has a strange quality that it does not take place immediately after the events in Heartfire. There's nothing wrong with that, per se--it might even be interesting, except that in this case a lot of the emotional tension from the previous book is just gone. Peggy and Alvin are separated again, their baby stillborn, and although you are told about Alvin's guilt in not being able to save his child you don't get to see it, and it carries little weight--it feels for most of the book that they've drifted apart, but I'm not sure that's the intention. At the end of the last book, Verily Cooper has found new love, but Purity is almost entirely gone from this book, with some hints that their romance went nowhere. Calvin is back, but all the rapproachment between him and Alvin is gone--which is probably realistic, but very unsatisfying after the last book where we see a seachange in Alvin's brother. Read more ›
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars The final novel in the Alvin Maker series...
    Finally, Alvin builds the Crystal City. But enough of spoilers. Card is a great science fiction and fantasy author. Read more
    Published 1 day ago by Nancy D. Griffeth
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Great ending to a great series.
    Published 1 month ago by Brice L. Korte
    4.0 out of 5 stars The missing link is in Legends II
    I see at least one review citing a big gap between this and the previous novel. It's a short story in the fantasy compendium Legends II.
    Published 3 months ago by Crunchy Bits
    2.0 out of 5 stars Perfunctory conclusion to a promising series
    I was disappointed in this final installment. It was as though Mr. Card just wanted it over and done with. It makes the series a waste.
    Published 3 months ago by
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    More than satisfied
    Published 4 months ago by Heloisa Ridolfi
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Very good series. Each book starts a bit slow...but picks up quickly.
    Published 4 months ago by Jeff Jefferson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
    This is a great book. Finished a little flat, though, in my opinion.
    Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
    3.0 out of 5 stars Average at best. The angle he has taken the story has ...
    Average at best. The angle he has taken the story has gotten pretty boring. Still a great wrtter if course and a well written story but not very exciting.
    Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
    4.0 out of 5 stars good book. Give me the end now please!
    Good book. Me like the maker series. Me making things all the time. Yay for the making of the maker series!
    Published 7 months ago by james sheffield
    1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
    It took the easy way out. The author abandons the faithful readers in the end. What an absolute bait-and-switch. Incredibly disappointing.
    Published 10 months ago by C. Hubbe
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    More About the Author

    Orson Scott Card is the bestselling author best known for the classic Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow and other novels in the Ender universe. Most recently, he was awarded the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in Young Adult literature, from the American Library Association. Card has written sixty-one books, assorted plays, comics, and essays and newspaper columns. His work has won multiple awards, including back-to-back wins of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards-the only author to have done so in consecutive years. His titles have also landed on 'best of' lists and been adopted by cities, universities and libraries for reading programs. The Ender novels have inspired a Marvel Comics series, a forthcoming video game from Chair Entertainment, and pre-production on a film version. A highly anticipated The Authorized Ender Companion, written by Jake Black, is also forthcoming.Card offers writing workshops from time to time and occasionally teaches writing and literature at universities.Orson Scott Card currently lives with his family in Greensboro, NC.

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