Orson Scott Card
Red Prophet (Volume 2 of the Tales of Alvin Maker)
Tor Books 1988

This is the second book in the tales of Alvin Maker. Beware! The review might include spoilers if you haven't read "Seventh Son".

Governor Harrison is a man who is ready to do whatever it takes to reach his goals. Selling whiskey to the Reds is nothing that hurts his conscience. It's just an easier way to conquer them. And conquer them he must, them and the Red-lover Armor-of-God Weaver who is his major competitor for the governor title of the future U.S. state of Wobbish. But sometimes "likker" isn't enough to beat the Reds. The one-eyed Lolla-Wossiky is considered the worst of all the whiskey-Reds, but when he gets healed by Alvin (that story is also told in "Seventh Son") he becomes the Red Prophet who preaches non-violence and gets ten thousand followers, coming from all tribes. His brother Ta-Kumsaw starts an armed resistance movement, uniting warriors from all tribes, aiming to drive the Whites into the sea and restore the land. Both of them get their stories closely linked together with the story of Alvin - amazing stories about an America that never was.

This book is a lot better than the first in the series. Here there is absolutely no lack of good stories. Dramatic, unpredictable and also tragic, it tells a story about how the history of America changed forever. Magic is in the very core of it, and not only Alvin's magic but also the magic that is a way of life for the Reds (I use that word, because it's the word consequently used in the books, politically correct or not), and maybe most of all the magic of the Red Prophet.

And everything that was really good in "Seventh Son" is still really good, maybe even better than before. It's still an extrapolation of the American history of our world. Not only Andrew Jackson and Napoleon (who both have interesting roles in the story) are real, but also Ta-Kumsaw and his brother the Red Prophet. Even though the story of course turned out slightly different in our world...

This is not only an interesting story in an interesting setting. It is also a very well-written novel, in my opinion. Card knows the art of combining a natural spoken language in dialogues and thoughts with colourful descriptions. He makes concepts and ways of life quite alien to the Western way of life comprehensible, and I could only wish that more authors had his ability to make their characters come alive. This is a book I sincerely recommend.

Karl Henriksson

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Books by the same author:
Seventh Son
Prentice Alvin
Alvin Journeyman

Hatrack River - The Official Web Site of Orson Scott Card

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Henriksson & Henriksson 1996.