Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alvin Journeyman

The fourth book in Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series is Alvin Journeyman and picks up just where Prentice Alvin ended. Alvin is the seventh son of a seventh son, living in the early 1800s on the frontier of the newly formed United States. Alvin, like many folks, was born with a special knack. Sometimes these knacks allow for control of fire, water, or even the ability to manipulate people in various ways. Alvin, however, has a unique knack, he is a powerful maker. A maker is essentially one who has the ability to create, and Alvin's entire life has been a quest to understand his destiny. In his year living with the red men in the midwest, he was given the vision of a grand Crystal City. This city was a place of harmony, peace, and love among all of its inhabitants, and stood in marked contrast to the ongoing conflicts between the indians and the white settlers, between the Americans and the British, and between the slave owners and those who believed in equality among men. The vision of this wondrous city is what Alvin believes he was created to build. However, he has no idea of how to proceed or where to begin.

In this story Alvin has completed his time as the apprentice to a blacksmith. The piece that he created as his journeyman project was a farm plow, but a plow that he made of iron and transformed into gold using his knack. However, the plow was not just a solid gold piece of machinery, it was, in fact, a plow made of living gold. Once his smith master came to know of the plow, he brought charges against Alvin. Much of the story involves the trial of Alvin and his relationship with his lawyer, one Verily Cooper, who came from England specifically to meet Alvin and learn about his knack. Against the side of light, Alvin and his friends, looms the side of darkness in Alvin's brother Calvin. Calvin used to adore Alvin, but when Alvin became respected and popular, he felt unappreciated and came to loathe everything his brother stood for. Calvin then traveled long and far to learn the skills necessary to put his brother in his place. Alvin is given a warning of a future conflict with his brother that could destroy everything that he is working toward.

I now move onto the next book in the series, Heartfire, where the now freed Alvin travels the land in an attempt to learn more about how to be a maker and how to go about fulfilling his destiny.