Fans of The Tales of Alvin Maker are sure to rejoice at the publication of the sixth and final volume in Card's ingenious alternate-reality fantasy series. For the uninitiated, Alvin was born the seventh son of a seventh son, destined to possess the powerful magical gifts of a Maker. His world is a North America divided into countries such as New England, Appalachee, and a greatly reduced United States. Throughout the series, Alvin uses his powers for the force of good, by healing and seeking justice for the oppressed. His wife, Margaret, is a torch, enabling her to see into the future, and a passionate abolitionist. As this volume begins, Margaret has sent Alvin to Nueva Barcelona (a.k.a. New Orleans) on an unspecified mission. Alvin irritably suspects that she has seen his death in another place and has merely sent him there to avoid that fate. Alvin is traveling with teenager Arthur Stuart, a former slave and novice Maker. The pair rescues the slave population of Nueva Barcelona by creating a crystal bridge across the Mizzippi River, leading them toward the legendary Crystal City that has always been Alvin's destiny. As usual, Card's writing is spiced with snappy dialogue and memorable characters, including such historical personalities as Abraham Lincoln and Jim Bowie. The more the reader knows about American history, the more enjoyable is Card's imaginative reworking. Although it is not necessary to have read the earlier books to appreciate this tale, faithful readers will be rewarded by the inclusion of old friends and by the satisfying resolution of ongoing plot twists. The novel is highly recommended, even if the library does not own the first books in the series. VOYA CODES: 4Q4P J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2003, Tor, 416p., Ages 12 to Adult.