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The Crystal City: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume VI Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker series is set in an alternative America where some people are born with knacks, a magical ability that is both a great gift and a deep burden. Alvin, the seventh son of a seventh son, is a "maker," who can make things and fix things, using his doodlebug to get a sense of what needs to be done. After the death of his newborn son, Alvin is persuaded by his wife, Peggy (a "torch," who can see the various paths into the future that a life might take), to go to Barcy (the New Orleans of this world), and so he travels down the Mizzizippy with young Arthur Stuart on a flatboat with Abe Lincoln and his friend Coz.
This matters because while Alvin Maker has his dream of the Crystal City, Peggy is concerned with preventing the great war that she sees coming over the issues of slavery. In this America the United States is put one of several "countries" competing for the North American continent. The south consists of Crown Colonies, Spain controls Florida and Nueva Barcelona (Louisiana), and the French still have Canada. Meanwhile, the descendants of the Aztecs are still performing human sacrifices in Mexica and Alvin's friend, Tenskwa-Tawa, the Red Prophet, controls the lands to the west of the Mizzippy. Beyond the Hio Territory where Alvin was born in Hatrack River, the Wobbish Territory where Vigor Church and Carthage City can be found, and even beyond the Noisy River Territory, Alvin needs to find a place for his Crystal City. Because when he saves a single life in Barcy, the act changes everything and forces a series of issues. The establishment of the Crystal City is obviously a major moment in the series, but clearly it is not the big payoff.
As always, it is interesting to see Uncle Orson's take on some of the figures of American's history. If he liked John Adams, he likes Abraham Lincoln any more. However, Stephen Austin and Jim Bowie do not fare well, and Alvin has to worry about the latter almost as much as he does about his younger brother Calvin. I know there are those who want to read these stories as a religious allegory, but I have enjoyed taking the narrative at face value and I remain ignorant enough of the major tenets of Mormon theology so that I do not see anything more here than the American ideal dressed up in alternative clothing. However, I find it hard to believe that there is only one volume left in the series, because there seem to be too many threads left to weave together.
I to consider myself to be a maker. I understand the joy of making something that works, that lasts.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to make things.