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Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker) [Hardcover]

Orson Scott Card
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 2002 Tales of Alvin Maker
Alvin's wife Peggy makes a perilous journey to Charleston to visit the exiled king of England to plead for an end to the madness between the free nations and slave nations of North America, while Alvin journeys north to Salem, Massachusetts, to confront a legacy of witchcraft.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; Limited edition (Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031286728X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312867287
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,451,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the multi-award winning and bestselling author of a number of ground-breaking adult SFF novels. Ender's Game is his first YA cross-over novel in the UK.

Product Description


The most important work of American fantasy since Stephen Donaldson's original Thomas Covenant trilogy. (CHICAGO SUNTIMES)

History, legend, magic, dreams: Card stirs them into a rich brew with a remarkably authentic flavour (LOCUS) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Book Five of The Tales of Alvin Maker. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alvin at the crossroads? 19 Nov 2002
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Seems like we (and Alvin) think that Alvin is headed round the bend - he's so busy trying to be 'good' and keep sane, he's heading nowhere.
We keep losing the thread of why he's wandering and have to be reminded occasionally of his aim.
OK, there were some nice touches in there, Audobon & Balzac especially, but I thought the trial was a bit too glib - I reckon that the pro-slavery contingent would have just taken over and had a hanging there & then in real life.
But, if Alvin really is the second coming - I guess that makes it all OK.
Enough of picky - the book is a good, flowing read, as most of the Alvin series are - Card is a master story-teller, dragging you into the soul of his characters, willing you to keep reading.... ****
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-Alvin buffs proceed with caution. 19 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Card's not doing much exposition at this point: either you know what Alvin's about or you don't. Not much knackery going on either, compared to some of the other books in this series. Alvin brings Calvin back from the dead: nothing new there. Wonderful character development, as usual, both fictional and historical (John Adams, John C. Calhoun, John-James Audubon). Lots of loose ends, of course, given that this is a series. At this point I suspect Card hasn't any more of a clue as to the final form the Crystal City will take than Alvin does. I, for one, will enjoy the discovery process over the next few installments. A warning to those who are picking this up midstream: if American history is not your strong point, you might want to either look elsewhere or commit to a fair amount of catching up, 'cause at least 50% of the enjoyment of this series is already knowing what REALLY happened and comparing it to the "Alvin" version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is there an end? 15 April 2001
By A Customer
Orson Scott Card to my mind is one of the most visionary writers of present time . His Alvin Maker/Smith series started off being further acknowledegement of this genius .However after the first three there is a little doubt cast over how visionary this series is becoming . The characters are vividly written with Alvin in particular being quite brilliant but this book meanders down the same clueless path the fourth installment took. Leaving us uncertain how his relationship with his brother Calvin will end nor how the crystal city will ever come to be . Card's work is excellent without doubt , perhaps he could give a bit more direction to his next book however , if there is one of course .
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Card has written a poor journeyman work. 15 July 1998
By A Customer
I've followed Orson Scott Card's career from his first professional sale of science fiction. Reading his short work was aptly described as "playing pattycake with Baby Huey." If you seek out these early works, you can see a writer who worked his way through a brilliant apprenticeship to become a solid talent.
Card's Alvin Maker series is ambitious, there's no denying that. The first books in the series laid out nothing less than a coming-of-the-Messiah story set in an altenate North America where magic works and the Revolution didn't. Any writer who could bring that off deserved respect and Card had mine.
Until lately, that is.
In the terminology of the Alvin Maker universe, Card seems to have banked his heartfire, the spark of divinity that defines our talents and course in life. Where Seventh Son turned a pioneer family's struggle to find a new home into an epic tale, Heartfire lets an archetypical struggle between good and evil slide into being! ! a mere spat between bratty siblings.
Oddly enough, the book generated the most emotion in me in a way that I doubt Card intended - his description of the Puritan New England colonies. What was most chilling wasn't so much the description of the overbearing theocracy so much as the implicit assumption that such a theocracy would be admirable if only it didn't get 'out of hand.' It's one thing to describe psychic abilities in terms of theology when the characters are obviously steeped in their mythos, but when a Big Brother State is put up as something of a 'near-miss', well, thanks, but no thanks.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Series Drags On . . . 6 July 1998
By A Customer
Like a lot of Card's recent series installments, this book drags without any real point. The characters are sort of drifting towards an eventual destination, but Heartfire is a mess, without most of the elements that normally distinguish Card's work.
The plot: Alvin goes on trial, again; Calvin gets in trouble, again; and everyone has long conversation about what interesting characters they are. Alvin decides that the Crystal City should have fair laws. Alvin's trial and Calvin's goofing around each turn out ok, and Alvin picks up some more disciples.
Back in the good old days, Orson Scott Card novels were full of original premises, difficult moral dilemmas, and were gripping the whole way through. Recently, _Pastwatch_ met all these criteria, and was well worth 5 stars. On the other hand, _Heartfire_ feels like it is just marking time until 1846, when Alvin will presumably lead his people West. At this rate, it looks like a long, boring wait.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars loves it as always
Another great read in the Alvin series - can recommend to anyone wanting a well written and engrossing tale !
Published 8 months ago by Brigadier99
4.0 out of 5 stars Alvin continues his journey
In this book, we see how Alvin gains followers. We are also shown parts of Alvin's world which we haven't been introduced to previously. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best book he's written. Still compelling
The Alvin Maker series is one of the few series I will rush out to buy in hardback. I have just been fascinated with the first four books. Read more
Published on 30 Aug 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars The Journey Continues
It was very obvious to me after the first chapter of Alvin Journeyman the OSC was DONE telling this story. I was very surprised to find Heartfire. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars This was a disappointing book.
My expectations in this book were disappointed. The books opens as if it is the middle of a book and goes from there. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Card's powerful descripitons had me glued to the book
In the fifth book of the Alvin Maker series, Card successfully blends emotion, comedy and drama. Mr. Card's dramatization of witch hunts and slave owners kept me glued to the book. Read more
Published on 21 July 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars The sense of destiny is gone.
Card writes compellingly, as always, and it is always a pleasure to rendezvous with the inhabitants of this well-made series. Yet, I was left feeling vaguely cheated. Read more
Published on 16 July 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book not very intense
Heartfire does not have the same intensity as, for example, Ender's Game or Songmaster, but it is a fine book. Read more
Published on 11 July 1998
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful addition to the ongoing saga of Alvin Maker
This novel continues the fascinating alternate history of the United States. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in one sitting. Read more
Published on 7 July 1998
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