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Prentice Alvin by Orson Scott Card
Published by Tor Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
In Red Prophet, Alvin and his brother Measure failed to prevent a terrible massacre at Prophetstown, where Tenskwa-Tawa's followers stood in silence and allowed a frenzied White crowd gun them down. For a year afterward Alvin stayed with his family, but even his strange talent cannot abate the curse Tenskwa-Tawa laid on them. There is also the matter of his apprenticeship contract, which remains unfulfilled.
Alvin goes back to Hatrack River, the town of his birth, to serve out his apprenticeship with Makepeace Smith. However his new master is a hard and brutal man who makes constant demands on his prentice. Makepeace sees in Alvin a rival and a threat, and resolves to teach the boy as little as he can.
However, Alvin is also learning how to use his strange talents the right way. When he is ordered to dig a well he knows to be useless, he also digs another that will yield well. Then he realizes that he cannot use his powers to destroy another man's livlihood, and he must fill in the worthless well so carefully that no one will ever know it was dug.
But all Alvin's spiritual and moral growth will be put to the test when a planter sends two finders to retrieve an escaped slave boy. A slave boy whose mother died to get him north to freedom, a boy who just happens to be Arthur Stuart, the half-caste boy Alvin has come to like.
Alvin's story continues in Alvin Journeyman.
Click here to buy Prentice Alvin in paperback.
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Review posted July 20, 1999
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