Friday, August 1, 2014

Prentice Alvin

The third novel in Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series is entitled Prentice Alvin. In the second novel, Red Prophet, young Alvin, seventh son of a seventh son, had been on his way to take up as an apprentice for a blacksmith in a neighboring township. At the outset of his journey, he was kidnapped by a rogue group of indians, who were working for an ambitious, controlling frontier general. Red Prophet was focused on the year Alvin spent with the indians in their conflict against the european settlers. In Prentice Alvin, that chapter has concluded, and Alvin finally reports to begin his training at the forge.

The story takes place in the early 1800s and through the narrative we come to get a gritty taste of life in a small, but bustling town along the frontier of the newly formed United States. Nearly everyone is born with some sort of a special knack. Some might be able to find water in the ground, some may have a skill with manipulating people, some may be able to read minds. Alvin's knack is to be a maker. In fact, the Alvin Maker series is all about Alvin's journey to understand his destiny, which he believes was revealed to him during his time with the indians.

In this story, we see Alvin come into his manhood, as he ages by nearly 8 years. At 19 years old, Alvin has grown into a very gifted blacksmith. But his skills as a smith are nothing compared to his growing ability as a maker. In this story, the townspeople find a slave girl, who had been raped by her master. She escaped with her child before he could be sold off. Little Arthur Stuart has his own endearing qualities, and soon he is bound to Alvin. When two finders show up to reclaim the plantation owner's property, Alvin is forced to move on with Arthur, and Alvin decides it is time to head back home to reconnect with his family. Having risen to the rank of journeyman smith and understanding a bit more about how to go about fulfilling his destiny, Alvin is convinced the task is not his to go alone. He believes that he might be able to train up his family into helping bring his vision into reality.

The next part of this enjoyable tale is entitled Alvin Journeyman and is next on my list.