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Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker, #5)
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Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker #5)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  11,345 Ratings  ·  194 Reviews
In this new episode of the Tales of Alvin Maker, Alvin's wife Peggy, whose knack is to read the heartfire of other people and know their futures, makes a perilous journey to the court of the exiled king of England in the southern city of Charleston. There she hopes to somehow influence the king and change the dreadful future she sees -- a war between the free nations and t ...more
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Tor Books (first published 1998)
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Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of alternate-world fantasy
This fifth volume of the series finds Alvin and Peggy now married, and expecting the birth of their first child, but separated for much of the book by separate missions far apart geographically. His continuing quest for understanding of how to build the "Crystal City" of his vision will take him and his small group of companions to New England, to observe a model human community founded on solidly moral and religious principles. But this is a New England where the Puritan theocracy never fell, a ...more
Two stories in one, that end up coming together. On the one hand Alvin has formed a little gang with Mike, Verily and Arthur Stuart. Wandering around trying to work out how Alvin is going to build his Crystal City - or even what the Crystal City really is. In the process, Alvin gets accused of being a witch and Verily suddenly decides to take on the whole principle of witch trials and fight them through the courts.

The other story is of Peggy, now Alvin's wife, who is trying to get an audience wi
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 3/5

Almost every new volume in the series has been slightly worse than the previous though none have diminished enough to merit the designation of a bad book. I understand now that a big part of Card's plan with the series was to tour 19th century North America and show off his alternate history. There are probably inside jokes and intriguing contrasts being made with colonial towns, historical personages, and popular ideas. I'd count myself a
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


Government is like watching another man piss in your boot. Someone feels better but it certainly isn’t you.

Cupid shoots his arrows where they’ll cause the most mischief.

Virtue is what you treasure until you feel desire, and then it becomes an intolerable burden to be cast away, and only to be picked up again when the desire fades.

But that was the way of the world – seducers and rapist rarely bore the consequences of their acts, or at least not as heavily as the seduced and the broken-spi
Mathew Whitney
By the fifth book in Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker series, Heartfire, there's little chance that this entry will change many opinions about the series. For those with a continued interest in reading about Alvin's quest to become a Maker and build the Crystal City, this will certainly continue that story.

I'm leaning towards the opinion that this series was complete, and better, as a trilogy. Still, the series stands as something which shows the unique voice of the author, and is possibl
Nathan Burgoine
Note: I won't be finishing this series, given the author's homophobic stance - I'm not going to fill his pockets. But these were my thoughts on the book before I knew how horrible a man the author was:

Though not quite as up to snuff as the other books in the Alvin Maker series to date, this one wins praise for paying as much attention to Verily Cooper and Peggy the Torch as it does to Alvin and Calvin themselves.

Peggy is taking on slavery, trying to use her gift to see the possible futures of pe
Evgeni Kirilov
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of my reviews lately have been in the "more of the same" spirit, and this one will have to follow suit. If you liked the previous Alvin books, you'll like this one too. If you didn't, this one won't offer you new reasons to change your mind. I liked it better than the Journeyman, and that's probably because the plot is finally starting to (slowly) pick up: Arthur Stuart is no longer defined solely by his fanboyism, Verily Cooper gets fleshed out a little bit more, the plot around Alvin and ...more
This series is starting to get a bit disappointing. In Heartfire, Calvin didn't quite make the waves that I hoped he would. Instead, Card produced another average book in the series that from start to finish makes little progress in the overall conflict. And the overall conflict seems mediocre at this point as well - the conflict is simply how Alvin will build the Crystal City someday. I understand that Card meant to write an American epic poem or something and that perhaps he succeeded. However ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, maps
Rampant Jordan-ism. If there's a spot on his map, he has to set part of his story there--populated with new characters and challenges--even if it has next to nothing to do with the main story.

It ought to be rated a two, or maybe even one one, except that Card is such an extraordinary storyteller.

Just read and enjoy.
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luisa by: Luiz Letti
I really enjoyed this book. Alvin is really coming into his own as a maker, even though he doesn't yet call himself one :)
Calvin is more and more trouble, but I still have a bit of faith on the kid coming around. Who knows right? :)
I loved the part with the slaves. Incredibly interesting idea, and also, the part about witchcraft was great. I really like Verily Cooper :D
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I found that these Alvin stories are really good at taking up moral dilemmas of early America and show then for what they where. The story telling is quite good as well.
Scot Eaton
Read in a day and a half while I was home sick. This story was MUCH better than book 4, and in fact should have functionally replaced it. I rated them both the same though, because they both have serious flaws.

Alvin doesn't change or really DO anything in this book. He makes no decisions, does no Making... he's more of a backdrop for Verily, Margaret, and Calvin to carry the show. He has almost become like Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars Extended Universe. He doesn't go through any struggles; is
The Scrivener's Quill
I enjoyed the scene where Alvin leaves the court room after he sees that the law is being subverted to find him innocent. I then appreciate that John Adams is able to use the law to find Alvin legitimately innocent by destroying those who abused the law to attempt to find Alvin guilty. Clever twist and excellent lawyering.
Christopher Litsinger
here we have found a book that can be entirely judged by its cover. Not that the cover has a whole lot to do with the plot, mind, but I mean look at that awful cover. Pretty much how I feel about the series at this point. One more to go, unless Card at some point writes Alvin Maker.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Technically I have not "read" this book. I tried to. But it was so boring and predictable that I had to stop. Each of the books in this Alvin Maker series are worse than the last. And that's too bad, because the first was excellent. Five books in and I can't take the preaching anymore.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite an entertaining court scene, this book was the weakest in the series. It didn't feel like the protagonists had any direction, yet this was the point in their saga where they should have known what they were trying to accomplish.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story line has officially lost my interest. Characters have gotten dull and the dialects are just annoying. Disappointing.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars.

Already with the previous part I got the feeling that the story is getting stuck in a rut, and here it's more of the same. In fact it's far worse because it's now the second part in a row already that the story doesn't seem to move forward that much. It really should have.

The most unpardonable offence was that there was another courtroom drama, and like in the previous part, Alvin insists on sitting in jail even though he could get away. But it's all about doing the right thing of cour
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin Rosales
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the way it ended.
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 5 of 6 in the Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card. This one divides the recently married Alvin and Peggy; the former heads to New England to challenge and undermine the legality of witch trials while the latter heads south to Camelot [Charleston, South Carolina] in the Crown Colonies as an abolitionist seeking to prevent a bloody, divisive war over the issue of slavery. Although this narrative suffers from being a bit more cerebral and static like its immediate predecessor, there are som ...more
Chip Hunter
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First I'd like to concur with many of the other reviewers here on Amazon.. the cover of this book is absolutely horrific. Besides being way to romance novel-like for any man to bring out in public, it also has no bearing on the story. Whatever is happening on the cover certainly doesn't portray any scene from the book, so my only question is "What the hell were the producers thinking, and how did OSC let this happen??"

But whatever, on to the book itself. Without a doubt this is the least inspiri
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This is the fifth book in a fantasy series where traditional European folk magic is real and working in early nineteenth century America. For the first time, a helpful map shows that New England remains a puritan, law-based protectorate of England (still under Commonwealth rule) with John Quincy Adams in charge and his elderly father John as a senior judge; after the sudden death of his predecessor, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson pres ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Philadelphie, Alvin et le jeune métis Arthur Stuart, l'interprète des oiseaux, font la connaissance du peintre français Jean-Jacques Audubon. Ensemble, ils partent en quête en Nouvelle-Angleterre avec aussi les compagnons de route habituels d'Alvin, l'avocat, En-Vérité Cooper et le géant, Mike Fink. Alvin voudrait savoir pourquoi il a reçu ses dons. Il a hérité d'une mission qui le laisse désemparé, construire une Cité de Cristal. Il pense trouver des réponses en Nouvelle-Angleterre, mais la
Althea Ann
Card is an extremely good writer, and his books are always a pleasure to read, but at times I did feel that the stories here occasionally suffered for being too allegorical, and too much about Card's ideas of morality.

In the 5th volume, 'Heartfire' Alvin marries Peggy, the schoolteacher. All I have to say is, I'm not sure what Card is trying to get at here, but he seems to have a peculiar idea of marriage. Basically, they get together, conceive a child, and run off to totally separate parts of t
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2/5 Would not read again.

The suddenly slow pace of Alvin Journeyman continues in this novel. Alvin continues to be a complete and utter martyr whenever the opportunity presents itself and spends a lot of time being resigned about the fact that he HAS TO build the Crystal City because it's a thing to do and not because it's something he really WANTS to do. He is unrecognizable from the Alvin of the first two books and not in a remotely good way.

Peggy continues her single woman crusade against sla
Miz Lizzie
The continuing saga of Alvin Maker finds Alvin on the outs with his sweetheart Peggy and twiddling his thumbs in one jail after another. Makepeace Smith charges Alvin with stealing his gold in order to make his journeyman piece, the golden plow. Out of the kettle and into the fire, Alvin then finds himself embroiled in a witchcraft trial in New England. Meanwhile, Peggy takes on the institution of slavery in Camelot. New characters and new colonies are introduced as Alvin gets no closer to reali ...more
Continuing the story of Alvin Maker and his quest to build the Crystal City, Heartfire has Alvin thrown in jail and on trial again--this time for witchcraft--after he and his companions meet a knackishly talented young woman whose futures threaten to end with her execution for witchcraft and they decide to help her avoid that fate. At the same time, in New England, Peggy Larner continues her quest to abolish slavery and Alvin's brother Calvin seeks a way to free the slaves' heartfires after Pegg ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, it's consistent, I like the odd numbered books in this series best. This was excellent. While book 4 dragged in places, book 5 had a great pace. The new characters introduced were well developed and added nicely to the story overall. I enjoy that few of Card's characters are all bad - they're complex, as real people are. Some of the characters that disgusted me at the beginning of the story fascinated me by the end. I also loved the imagery used, especially with the slaves and their heartf ...more
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Alvin Maker series just gets better. This episode we get witch trials, the struggle to end slavery, new intriguing characters that sort of dovetail with the Ender book I just read, A War of Gifts, and some movement toward a resolution, better or worse, with Alvin's brother Calvin, his seeming opposite so much of the time. I also get many giggles out of the alternate history aspects. When "Tom Jefferson" and John and John Quincy Adams and (view spoiler) appear or get ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Better image file for a book cover 3 16 Sep 02, 2015 05:23PM  
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
More about Orson Scott Card...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of Alvin Maker (6 books)
  • Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)
  • Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker, #2)
  • Prentice Alvin (Tales of Alvin Maker, #3)
  • Alvin Journeyman (Tales of Alvin Maker, #4)
  • The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, #6)
“My father always said that government is like watching another man piss in your boot. Someone feels better but it certainly isn't you.” 20 likes
“Do not shout at me, Mr. Quill," said John [Adams]. "Justice may be blind, but she is not deaf.” 11 likes
More quotes…