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Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker) Hardcover – Jan 1988

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Hardcover, Jan 1988
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Jan. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312930437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312930431
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 16.5 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,183,460 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


"Suddenly the saga of Alvin Maker begins to thrill."--"Washington Post Book World" ""Red Prophet" is but a section of a vast American fantasy epic. It is vividly written, and the principal actors--Alvin, Ta-Kumsaw, the Prophet, and Alvin's Gandalfesque mentor Taleswapper--are all complete and memorable characters."--"The Philadelphia Inquirer" "Harsher, bleaker, and more mystical than" Seventh Son," this novel superbly demonstrates Card's solid historical research, keen understanding of religious experience, and, most of all, his mastery of the art of storytelling."--"Booklist " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The second book in the acclaimed Tales of Alvin Maker series, by one of the world's best-loved SF/fantasy authors. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patty on 19 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
The second installment in young Alvin Miller's adventures is even more gripping, relentlessly exciting, imaginative and simply a wonderful story.
In this book, Alvin follows the lives of the Red Indians as they struggle aginst the onslought of the White settlers driving them out of their lands, and their own struggle of choosing war or peace. In the course of the book, Alvin learns to "see" more than meets the eye, to understand more of his "knack", and begins to realise how he should fit into the grand scheme of life.
The story is also immensely real and emotional. I was nearly in tears at the end of it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GJ on 28 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let's start by saying I like the work well enough, say 3 or 4 stars worth. Unfortunately the idiots who transfered this to digital are either illiterate or plain lazy, certainly no attention at all has been made to the countless typos. Were I the author I'd fire the publisher, it is beyond ridiculous. It is so bad that it detracts so much from the work as to leave you thinking only of the typos. Another transfer that has never seen a proof reader and proof again that they are worth the cost.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a great read - and as usual, Card is inventive and unorthodox. What appears to be an anti-religious tirade settles into a more considered point of view. Meanwhile there are some interesting diversions into things that actually make a society strong and meaningful, and into issues surrounding native Americans, whilst all the time taking the overall story of a seventh son of a seventh son forward.

Not Card's best work, but certainly not his worst either - and well worth reading
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. G. Latham on 3 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
As usual Orson Scott Card delivers a highly readable sequel to his Alvin series. Readers are best advised to start at the beginning of the series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 82 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The saga darkens 4 Feb. 2005
By tertius3 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book II of Card's Alvin Maker fantasy alternative history of frontier America covers some of the same ground as in Book I, Seventh Son, but now through different eyes. Rather than the mostly idyllic and rational vision of the white man's world-that-was-or-might-be, centered on Alvin's family, this story mostly gives us the Red man's view of white oppression versus working to live together. White's forest clearance vs. Red's forest custodianship is the most powerfully expressed metaphor of the contrast, while the black, Unmaker, rivers run through. Certain central events in Alvin's numinous awakening to his powers in the first novel are now seen from an unsuspected "other" side, not that of the Devil as the intolerant Rev. Thrower would have it, but from the native Shaw-Nee or Kicky-Poo side of the rivers. This book includes a version of Tippecanoe, the massacre that made William Harrison our President, that chills the blood. Card has an especially different take on liberty-loving Lafayette, an associate here of Napoleon rather than dead Washington! Really, these amazing shifts in view on American political icons are one of the great appeals of this series.

The other appeal, of course, is that Card is an imaginative teller of tales. He infuses this tale with a mythic, sometimes elegiac and mystical, quality, despite dialogue cast in backwoods provincial patois. Card is imagining a more hopeful frontier experience, among Hoosier "hill-billys," where the green hope of the Reds and their Napoleon is crushed finally. The story has become fiercer, bleaker and more desperate. It can be hard going because attention is not always on the central character, but digresses into sweeping quasi-historical tangents that only eventually feed back in to the "main story"--if that really is Alvin. I suspect the more you know of frontier history in the old Northwest Territory (after the East Coast Revolution and before the Cowboy Frontier of the West), the more fun these stories will be. That adds a level of detection to the interest of the story. The similarity here to Card's totally brilliant ENDERS GAME is the coming of age of another boy, who also struggles with "swarms" and powers whose strength is only slowly revealed.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Height of The Tales of Alvin Maker so far, wonderfully epic 19 Aug. 2002
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
RED PROPHET is the second book of Orson Scott Card's "Tales of Alvin Maker" and perhaps the best book in the series (out of the five released so far). It has unforgettable events, an epic sweep, and gives a sobering reminder of how white settlers wiped out the Native Americans.
For the first forty pages the reader is introduced to the world outside of the frontier town of Vigor Church, where most of the first book SEVENTH SON was set. There is a glimpse at the French Canadians in this alternate history, and the black heart of one William Henry Harrison, who in our world became president after his slaughter of the Indians at Tippecanoe. The novel's main plotline then begins with Alvin's setting out from Vigor Church to Hatrack River, the place of his tumultuous birth and where he now will become an apprentice smith. He is accompanied by his brother Measure and it isn't long before they are captured by Choc-Taw hired by Harrison to smear the reputation of the Red prophet Tenskwa-Tawa (formerly Lolla-Wossiky) and his brother Ta-Kumsaw. Alvin and Measure survive their capture and are rescued by Ta-Kumsaw. Then, on the shores of Lake Mizogan, Alvin begins to learn of his destiny as a Maker and the incredible city which he must build.
And this is only the beginning. RED PROPHET takes us over a wide array of places and shows us incredible characters and sweep of history. There is so much here that stays with the reader long after the novel ends, such as the anger of the townsmen at Tippecanoe, Alvin's travels all over this wide land, Eight-Face Mound, and Becky's mystical loom. Card has triumphed in creating such an enchanting novel.
While The Tales of Alvin Maker isn't of the highest quality in terms of prose, I'd certainly recommend this series, especially because RED PROPHET is part of it. This installment is not only captivating, but it also spurs one to read more about this era of American history, when settlers and Native Americans violently clashed.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Well-written, highly entertaining and original! 17 April 2001
By John D. Costanzo - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a wonderful book that deserves wider attention. It is set in an alternate early America, during the time of the Tecumseh and the Indian Wars. As much a frontier western as it is a fantasy, this novel will delight fans of both genres.
Card is an excellent writer who weaves his story with moral and religious overtones. He exposes the best and worst of the frontier Americans, as well as objectively showing the impossible and inevitable conflict with the Native Americans. Card doesn't ignore his characters. Alvin, Tecumseh (renamed Ta-Kumsaw) and his brother, the Prophet, are all deep and vividly portrayed characters. And William Henry Harrison, notorious in history for being the president with the shortest term, is portrayed here as the darkest of men.
If you want to read this book, you will have to read the first in the series, The Seventh Son, also a very good novel, but as you read it keep in mind that you have this one to look forward to. The Red Prophet is a well-written, highly entertaining and original story that ranks among the best fantasy fiction available.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I write this review to the sound of Greensong... 31 Aug. 2005
By Lord Jeffrey of Starbucky - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Red Prophet lives up to the expectations that I had after reading The Seventh Son. All the wonderful things that I said about the first book continue to apply. We get to see a "what-if" America where magic actually works, and our history is revealed in alternate ways (like George Washington having been executed at the start of the revolution). This series has been a lifeline for me in the fantasy genra.

The good of Red Prophet:
1) Alvin is finally coming into his powers a little. No more accidental board splitting - now he runs to the melody of greensong and goes to places where no white man has ever been.
2) In this book, we run into historical celebrities like Napoleon, the Marquis De La Feyette, more from William Blake (Taleswapper), Andrew Jackson, and Tippy-Canoe Harrison. Its neat seeing the writer's interpretation of these historical figures, and they were well done, if not completely accurately (as the author states about Harrison, for example).
3) The characters are never, every one dimensional. The good guys aren't all good, and the bad guys - even the worst guys - have limits to their vileness. In fact, there's an ever-present feeling of the power of redemption throughout this book which I found appealing. I kept hoping that certain people would rise to the occasion - no spoilers though!

The bad of Red Prophet:

1)I would have liked to see even more of Taleswapper. He's the most interesting side-character in the entire series. I think Card avoids heavy usage of him because it requires incredibly diligent writing, and its just plain difficult. And I totally appreciate his work here.
2) I was disappointed with Alvin's dad and brothers when they did "a certain act". I thought that it was out of character and not really believable, and thus I felt led along a path, patiently counting the pages until the believable story began again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Reds, Whites, and Makers 14 Mar. 2003
By Sarah Jayne Lewis - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Orson Scott Card has created a captivating alternate world of colonial America: a world rich in magic, peril, and culture.

One of these cultures is the Reds, as Card calls the Indians. One of these Reds is a whisky-red named Lolla-Wossiky and he is under the tyrannical care of the white Governor Bill Harrison. Lolla-Wossiky manages to steal a keg of whisky, a necessary tool for his survival, and runs away. He searches for his dream beast, "All of life at first is a long sleep, a long dream. You fall asleep at the moment you are born, and never wake up, never wake up until finally one day the dream beast calls you" (Card 63). He finds the beast in a white boy named Alvin. Alvin is the seventh son of the seventh son, which we find out in the first book of the series, which is appropriately titled Seventh son.
With this order of birth come certain knacks, supernatural abilities, and attributes. Alvin is only eleven at the beginning of Red Prophet and is yet unaware of his powers, but Lolla-Wossiky finds him and is able to see his potential.

Lolla becomes Alvin's dream beast and teaches him a powerful lesson on the administration of his powers. Alvin, in turn, is able to be Lolla's dream beast and cures him of "the black noise". Lolla-Wossiky is then able to accept his destiny as a leader of Red men. "He would call the Reds together, teach them what he saw in his vision, and help them to be, not the strongest, but strong; not the largest but large; not the freest, but free" (Card 98). Lolla-Wossiky becomes the Red Prophet and his name changes to Tenskwa-tawa.

Alvin's life is in danger so his parents send him to Hatrack River to be a blacksmith's apprentice. On the road to his new life, Indians, who were hired by Harrison to torture white boys, stirring the whites against the Red Prophet's people, capture Measure and Alvin. Alvin uses his powers to keep them from harm but the Red Prophet senses their danger and sends his brother, Ta-Kumsaw, to save the boys' lives. Ta-Kumsaw takes the boys back with him to see his brother. Alvin and the Prophet are reunited and Alvin is taught and informed of his future. Alvin is then sent to accompany Ta-Kumsaw on his crusade against the white man. He learns to understand the ways of the land; he learns to understand the Red man. He is so in tune with the land and with the people that at the end of his journey with Red men Ta-Kumsaw tells him, "If all White men were true like you, Alvin, I would never have been their enemy" (Card 304).
Red Prophet is dripping with Archetypes. Alvin is the young hero, the only one who can save the world from being unmade. As Joseph Campbell states in his book A Hero With a Thousand Faces, "the `call to adventure'-signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown. This fateful region of both treasure and danger may be variously represented: as a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountaintop, or profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delight" (Campbell 58). Alvin also goes into the belly of the whale when he goes with Ta-Kumsaw into the Red man's world, "The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would appear to have died" (Campbell 90).

Alvin is helped in his journey by Taleswapper, a wanderer who trades stories with those he meets. Taleswapper is very wise and is able to help Alvin realize his destiny. A young girl named Peggy also aids him. He does not know of her existence or her role in his life, but she is always aware of him and keeping him safe.
Card is not as opposed to allegory as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He openly states in his introduction his thanks to "my great-great-grandfather Joseph for the stories behind the story in this book." He is speaking of Joseph Smith. The similarities in the lives of Alvin and Joseph are prominent in the novel: Alvin is Joseph Smith's brother's name, Joseph hurt his leg the same age as Alvin, Measure and Hyrum Smith share many similarities. Yet, as author Michael Collings says, you do not have to be a Mormon to understand the book, "Card is not a `Mormon' writer. He is a writer who is a Mormon. . . He never sets out to preach, to proselytize, to convince"
The fantasy themes in Red Prophet are subtle. It almost seems that Red Prophet is a historical novel but for the knacks, charms, hexes, and beseechings that really work. They use their knacks to build, to protect, and to heal. There are special knacks that only certain people possess: a spark can start fires with their minds; a torch, which is Peggy's knack, can see people's heartfires, and the rarest is a maker, the last maker was Jesus Christ and the next is Alvin.
Colonial America never seemed so captivating as in Orson Scott Card's alternate world of the Red Prophet.
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