Seventh Son (Alvin Maker Series #1)

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Overview

From the author of Ender’s Game, an unforgettable story about young Alvin Maker: the seventh son of a seventh son. Born into an alternative frontier America where life is hard and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with the power. He must learn to use his gift wisely. But dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

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Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume I

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Overview

From the author of Ender’s Game, an unforgettable story about young Alvin Maker: the seventh son of a seventh son. Born into an alternative frontier America where life is hard and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with the power. He must learn to use his gift wisely. But dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
One of the most original and enchanting fantasy series continuing today is Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker. Set in an alternate frontier America, the Tales of Alvin Maker begins with Seventh Son. Here we meet the young Alvin Miller, the seventh son of a seventh son. Alvin is a Maker and is destined to create a positive new future for America. But to do so he must defeat an ancient enemy, the Unmaker, whose dark magic and deadly plots constantly threaten Alvin's existence. Not only is Orson Scott Card one of the most popular science fiction novelists alive, he is also one of the strongest and purest voices in American fantasy.

--Andrew LeCount

From the Publisher
“A consistently gripping tale featuring solid historical research and a keen understanding of religious experience. Another major effort by a world class talent. Highly recommended.” —Booklist

“Captures the essence of a world where folk magic abounds. A tribute to the art of storytelling, this is highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“This beguiling book recalls Robert Penn Warren in its robust blend of folktale, history, parable, personal testimony, and pioneer narrative.” —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812533057
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Series: Alvin Maker Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 129,843
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 4.06 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone sf and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.  Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.

Biography

Any discussion of Orson Scott Card's work must necessarily begin with religion. A devout Mormon, Card believes in imparting moral lessons through his fiction, a stance that sometimes creates controversy on both sides of the fence. Some Mormons have objected to the violence in his books as being antithetical to the Mormon message, while his conservative political activism has gotten him into hot water with liberal readers.

Whether you agree with his personal views or not, Card's fiction can be enjoyed on many different levels. And with the amount of work he's produced, there is something to fit the tastes of readers of all ages and stripes. Averaging two novels a year since 1979, Card has also managed to find the time to write hundreds of audio plays and short stories, several stage plays, a television series concept, and a screenplay of his classic novel Ender's Game. In addition to his science fiction and fantasy novels, he has also written contemporary fiction, religious, and nonfiction works.

Card's novel that has arguably had the biggest impact is 1985's Hugo and Nebula award-winner Ender's Game. Ender's Game introduced readers to Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a young genius faced with the task of saving the Earth. Ender's Game is that rare work of fiction that strikes a chord with adults and young adult readers alike. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won the Hugo and Nebula awards, making Card the only author in history to win both prestigious science-fiction awards two years in a row.

In 2000, Card returned to Ender's world with a "parallel" novel called Ender's Shadow. Ender's Shadow retells the events of Ender's Game from the perspective of Julian "Bean" Delphinki, Ender's second-in-command. As Sam to Ender's Frodo, Bean is doomed to be remembered as an also-ran next to the legendary protagonist of the earlier novel. In many ways, Bean is a more complex and intriguing character than the preternaturally brilliant Ender, and his alternate take on the events of Ender's Game provide an intriguing counterpoint to fans of the original series.

In addition to moral issues, a strong sense of family pervades Card's work. Card is a devoted family man and father to five (!) children. In the age of dysfunctional family literature, Card bristles at the suggestion that a positive home life is uninteresting. "How do you keep ‘good parents' from being boring?" he once said. "Well, in truth, the real problem is, how do you keep bad parents from being boring? I've seen the same bad parents in so many books and movies that I'm tired of them."

Critical appreciation for Card's work often points to the intriguing plotlines and deft characterizations that are on display in Card's most accomplished novels. Card developed the ability to write believable characters and page-turning plots as a college theater student. To this day, when he writes, Card always thinks of the audience first. "It's the best training in the world for a writer, to have a live audience," he says. "I'm constantly shaping the story so the audience will know why they should care about what's going on."

Card brought Bean back in 2005 for the fourth and final novel in the Shadow series: Shadow of the Giant. The novel presented some difficulty for the writer. Characters who were relatively unimportant when the series began had moved to the forefront, and as a result, Card knew that the ending he had originally envisioned would not be enough to satisfy the series' fans.

Although the Ender and Shadow series deal with politics, Card likes to keep his personal political opinions out of his fiction. He tries to present the governments of futuristic Earth as realistically as possible without drawing direct analogies to our current political climate. This distance that Card maintains between the real world and his fictional worlds helps give his novels a lasting and universal appeal.

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    1. Hometown:
      Greensboro, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richland, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

SEVENTH SON (Chapter 1: Bloody Mary)

LITTLE PEGGY WAS VERY CAREFUL with the eggs. She rooted her hand through the straw till her fingers bumped something hard and heavy. She gave no never mind to the chicken drips. After all, when folk with babies stayed at the roadhouse, Mama never even crinkled her face at their most spetackler diapers. Even when the chicken drips were wet and stringy and made her fingers stick together, little Peggy gave no never mind. She just pushed the straw apart, wrapped her hand around the egg, and lifted it out of the brood box. All this while standing tiptoe on a wobbly stool, reaching high above her head. Mama said she was too young for egging, but little Peggy showed her. Every day she felt in every brood box and brought in every egg, every single one, that's what she did.

Every one, she said in her mind, over and over. I got to reach into every one.

Then little Peggy looked back into the northeast corner, the darkest place in the whole coop, and there sat Bloody Mary in her brood box, looking like the devil's own bad dream, hatefulness shining out of her nasty eyes, saying Come here little girl and give me nips. I want nips of finger and nips of thumb and if you come real close and try to take my egg I'll get a nip of eye from you.

Most animals didn't have much heartfire, but Bloody Mary's was strong and made a poison smoke. Nobody else could see it, but little Peggy could. Bloody Mary dreamed of death for all folks, but most specially for a certain little girl five years old, and little Peggy had the marks on her fingers to prove it. At least one mark, anyway, and even if Papa said he couldn't see it, little Peggy remembered how she got it and nobody could blame her none if she sometimes forgot to reach under Bloody Mary who sat there like a bushwhacker waiting to kill the first folks that just tried to come by. Nobody'd get mad if she just sometimes forgot to look there.

I forgot. I looked in every brood box, every one, and if one got missed then I forgot forgot forgot.

Everybody knew Bloody Mary was a lowdown chicken and too mean to give any eggs that wasn't rotten anyway.

I forgot.

She got the egg basket inside before Mama even had the fire bet, and Mama was so pleased she let little Peggy put the eggs one by one into the cold water. Then Mama put the pot on the hook and swung it right on over the fire. Boiling eggs you didn't have to wait for the fire to slack, you could do it smoke and all.

"Peg," said Papa.

That was Mama's name, but Papa didn't say it in his Mama voice. He said it in his little-Peggy-you're-in-dutch voice, and little Peggy knew she was completely found out, and so she turned right around and yelled what she'd been planning to say all along.

"I forgot, Papa!"

Mama turned and looked at little Peggy in surprise. Papa wasn't surprised though. He just raised an eyebrow. He was holding his hand behind his back. Little Peggy knew there was an egg in that hand. Bloody Mary's nasty egg.

"What did you forget, little Peggy?" asked Papa, talking soft.

Right that minute little Peggy reckoned she was the stupidest girl ever born on the face of the earth. Here she was denying before anybody accused her of anything.

But she wasn't going to give up, not right off like that. She couldn't stand to have them mad at her and she just wanted them to let her go away and live in England. So she put on her innocent face and said, "I don't know, Papa."

She figgered England was the best place to go live, cause England had a Lord Protector. From the look in Papa's eye, a Lord Protector was pretty much what she needed just now.

"What did you forget?" Papa asked again.

"Just say it and be done, Horace," said Mama. "If she's done wrong then she's done wrong."

"I forgot one time, Papa," said little Peggy. "She's a mean old chicken and she hates me."

Papa answered soft and slow. "One time," he said.

Then he took his hand from behind him. Only it wasn't no single egg he held, it was a whole basket. And that basket was filled with a clot of straw—most likely all the straw from Bloody Mary's box—and that straw was mashed together and glued tight with dried-up raw egg and shell bits, mixed up with about three or four chewed-up baby chicken bodies.

"Did you have to bring that in the house before breakfast, Horace?" said Mama.

"I don't know what makes me madder," said Horace. "What she done wrong or her studying up to lie about it."

"I didn't study and I didn't lie!" shouted little Peggy. Or anyways she meant to shout. What came out sounded espiciously like crying even though little Peggy had decided only yesterday that she was done with crying for the rest of her life.

"See?" said Mama. "She already feels bad."

"She feels bad being caught," said Horace. "You're too slack on her, Peg. She's got a lying spirit. I don't want my daughter growing up wicked. I'd rather see her dead like her baby sisters before I see her grow up wicked."

Little Peggy saw Mama's heartfire flare up with memory, and in front of her eyes she could see a baby laid out pretty in a little box, and then another one only not so pretty cause it was the second baby Missy, the one what died of pox so nobody'd touch her but her own mama, who was still so feeble from the pox herself that she couldn't do much. Little Peggy saw that scene, and she knew Papa had made a mistake to say what he said cause Mama's face went cold even though her heartfire was hot.

"That's the wickedest thing anybody ever said in my presence," said Mama. Then she took up the basket of corruption from the table and carried it outside.

"Bloody Mary bites my hand," said little Peggy.

"We'll see what bites," said Papa. "For leaving the eggs I give you one whack, because I reckon that lunatic hen looks fearsome to a frog-size girl like you. But for telling lies I give you ten whacks."

Little Peggy cried in earnest at that news. Papa gave an honest count and full measure in everything, but most especially in whacks.

Papa took the hazel rod off the high shelf. He kept it up there ever since little Peggy put the old one in the fire and burnt it right up.

"I'd rather hear a thousand hard and bitter truths from you, Daughter, than one soft and easy lie," said he, and then he bent over and laid on with the rod across her thighs. Whick whick whick, she counted every one, they stung her to the heart, each one of them, they were so full of anger. Worst of all she knew it was all unfair because his heartfire raged for a different cause altogether, and it always did. Papa's hate for wickedness always came from his most secret memory. Little Peggy didn't understand it all, because it was twisted up and confused and Papa didn't remember it right well himself. All little Peggy ever saw plain was that it was a lady and it wasn't Mama. Papa thought of that lady whenever something went wrong. When baby Missy died of nothing at all, and then the next baby also named Missy died of pox, and then the barn burnt down once, and a cow died, everything that went wrong made him think of that lady and he began to talk about how much he hated wickedness and at those times the hazel rod flew hard and sharp.

I'd rather hear a thousand hard and bitter truths, that's what he said, but little Peggy knew that there was one truth he didn't ever want to hear, and so she kept it to herself. She'd never shout it at him, even if it made him break the hazel rod, cause whenever she thought of saying aught about that lady, she kept picturing her father dead, and that was a thing she never hoped to see for real. Besides, the lady that haunted his heartfire, she didn't have no clothes on, and little Peggy knew that she'd be whipped for sure if she talked about people being naked.

So she took the whacks and cried till she could taste that her nose was running. Papa left the room right away, and Mama came back to fix up breakfast for the blacksmith and the visitors and the hands, but neither one said boo to her, just as if they didn't even notice. She cried even harder and louder for a minute, but it didn't help. Finally she picked up her Bugy from the sewing basket and walked all stiff-legged out to Oldpappy's cabin and woke him right up.

He listened to her story like he always did.

"I know about Bloody Mary," he said, "and I told your papa fifty times if I told him once, wring that chicken's neck and be done. She's a crazy bird. Every week or so she gets crazy and breaks all her own eggs, even the ones ready to hatch. Kills her own chicks. It's a lunatic what kills its own."

"Papa like to killed me," said little Peggy.

"I reckon if you can walk somewhat it ain't so bad altogether."

"I can't walk much."

"No, I can see you're nigh crippled forever," said Oldpappy. "But I tell you what, the way I see it your mama and your papa's mostly mad at each other. So why don't you just disappear for a couple of hours?"

"I wish I could turn into a bird and fly."

"Next best thing, though," said Pappy, "is to have a secret place where nobody knows to look for you. Do you have a place like that? No, don't tell me—it wrecks it if you tell even a single other person. You just go to that place for a while. As long as it's a safe place, not out in the woods where a Red might take your pretty hair, and not a high place where you might fall off, and not a tiny place where you might get stuck."

"It's big and it's low and it ain't in the woods," said little Peggy.

"Then you go there, Maggie."

Little Peggy made the face she always made when Oldpappy called her that. And she held up Bugy and in Bugy's squeaky high voice she said, "Her name is Peggy."

"You go there, Piggy, if you like that better—"

Little Peggy slapped Bugy right across Oldpappy's knee.

"Someday Bugy'll do that once too often and have a rupture and die," said Oldpappy.

But Bugy just danced right in his face and insisted, "Not piggy, Peggy!"

"That's right, Puggy, you go to that secret place and if anybody says, We got to go find that girl, I'll say, I know where she is and she'll come back when she's good and ready."

Little Peggy ran for the cabin door and then stopped and turned. "Oldpappy, you're the nicest grown-up in the whole world."

"Your papa has a different view of me, but that's all tied up with another hazel rod that I laid hand on much too often. Now run along."

She stopped again right before she closed the door. "You're the only nice grown-up!" She shouted it real loud, halfway hoping that they could hear it clear inside the house. Then she was gone, right across the garden, out past the cow pasture, up the hill into the woods, and along the path to the spring house.

SEVENTH SON Copyright © 1987 by Orson Scott Card

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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( 73 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Spectacular!

    Card is a genius when it comes to character development. This is book #1 in the Alvin Maker series, and in my opinion the best of the six. Every character is rich and lively and even the antagonists are multidimensional, predictable but fascinating. Card's settings are as important as his characters, and in some cases they are characters. This is a total work of fiction, yet the way Card plays with history is fun and unique. I am a huge CARD fan and he never disappoints me. I truly loved this story and the characters. I have read this book twice in the last six months. First time for enjoyment, and the second as a study in character development. This purchase was a Christmas gift for my Mother. I wanted to share my love of CARD with her and this is the best book, in my opinion to start. If she likes this one, there are 5 more in the series! I have enjoyed the main characters in this story so much. The local County library hunted down copies from all over the county for me to read. Then I purchased them for myself and others. Full of mystery and loaded with magic!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Card is a wonderful storyteller. Great read.

    Orson Scott Card never ceases to amaze. Besides writing engaging science fiction like Ender's Game, his fantasy fiction has twists and turns that is always worth the read. The Seventh Son never had a dull moment, and while the beginning may seem written for a child, it is only the first chapter because it is written in the perspective of a child that later grows up. So, do not let this discourage you. Card writes a story from the beginning to the end, making it into an exciting series for teens and adults. Definately worth the read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2010

    Everyone read this. . . now!

    Why are you reading this review and not the book? Seriously. I will never look at US history the same way. Seventh Son infuses a magic into our history that I wish existed, and Card knows how to write compelling characters, and not just the main cast. If you've read Ender's Game, you know what I'm ralking about.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2009

    Magic in America?

    YES! Card brings you into a familiar setting with unfamiliar twists and turns. The old frontier of America is changed into one of folk magic and interesting events. "The Seventh Son" takes you on an amazing adventure of a little boy named Alvin. Card uses his excellent writing to allow the reader to relate to little Alvin and his journeys. With characters that can form hexes to just plain weird capabilities, Orson Scott Card intrigues the reader with new and exciting events that are just mind boggling. Overall and EXCELLENT read!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000

    Seventh Son, by: Orson Scott Card

    Card expands the imagination of all readers into a paralell United States, one without revolution, a land were American is merely a title for those living on this continent and not a nationality. It is in just such a setting that a boy is born the seventh son of a Seventh Son. 'The Maker is born', reads a passage written by a small girl at his birth. This boy, Alvin son of Alvin, saved by brother and blessed forever. Card follows this boy from the age of 7 until 10 in explicite detail. Miracles are wrought at the hand of this boy, he is met with his share of heartache, never the less the boy blesses the lives of many. A highly superstitious book, Seventh Son, is one book I would recemend to anyone preparing for the start of an adventure. Many paths are open to young Alvin he has many adventures to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Orson Scott Card knows his fantasy!

    This is an amazingly well thought out and written book. Orson definitely had high acheivements but had some downfalls, too. But everyone does sometime or another. He is a fabulous writer and I plan on finishing the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    this is a wonderfull book . I couldn't put it down, Need to ke

    this is a wonderfull book . I couldn't put it down, Need to keep in mind that it is written in the verbage of the time which makes it all the more enjoyable and I was totally able to go back to that time in my mind. Great book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    Good book

    A good book about an alreternative american history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    Didn't Get What I Ordered

    I ordered Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card with the WHITE COVER on the book. I received something completely different. If you don't have what you're showing in pictures, you shouldn't advertise it. I was extremely disappointed because Barnes & Noble usually does a great job.

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Great Read

    If you can get your head around an alternate state of the US in the 1700s, this is a great, well-written read!

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    Loved this book

    Enter an alternate US history and discover magic and peril.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!

    Orson Scott Card writes yet another master piece. An America that could have been. The characters are simply amazing. There is always at least one character you can always relate to in all of his works. I recommend everyone should read this series, whether you like fantasy or not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2003

    A Great Read!!!!!

    This combined my two favorite things,fantasy and history. I have read all of the books in the Alvin Maker Series and love them all. I cant wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2002

    Simply Brillant

    Orson Scott Card has written one of the best books i have ever and probably will ever have the pleasure of reading. Thank you Orson Scott Card!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2002

    Inticing, breathtaking, Perfect....Pick one.

    This book was pure magic. I have never found a book that I could read cover to cover, then the next day do it again. This is not only a fantasy novel but also an alternate history of the United States. I have become quite fond of the characters that make this book my personal top ten favorites.

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    Posted July 23, 2011

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    Posted April 3, 2011

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    Posted August 4, 2011

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    Posted April 24, 2011

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    Posted January 20, 2011

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