Card really sacrificed storytelling for sermonizing in this book, which is too bad. It's almost as though he ran out of interesting ways to tell Alivn's story back in Prentice Alvin and the rest of the series is less good fiction and more a vehicle from which to tout his Mormon agenda. There is more author intrusion in Heartfire than in any other of the Tales of Alvin Maker so far, most of which is pure political crap. Some bits of it were still interesting though, and I'm hooked enough to want to see how the final conflict between Calvin and Alvin turns out. Unfortunately, my copy of The Crystal City is in TN, so it may be awhile before I finish the series. Ah, well.
This was not as good as I remember the initial books in this series being. *sigh* But still a good read and worth your while.
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 the country both doing their own political thing. Alvin can 'see' Peggy from afar, but no actual romantic love is portrayed in the story AT ALL. Very odd. Anyway, most of the story here, again, is a courtroom drama. This time, Alvin, his lawyer, Verily Cooper, Arthur Stuart, and John James Audubon (yes, the famous naturalist, here portrayed as a caricature of the French - it's kinda weird), encounter a young woman who suspects that she herself may be a witch. Of course, she accuses Alvin and his friends of witchcraft. But when the witch-hunter comes, she finds herself accused as well. Alvin feels the need to stick around and save her from herself. The judge in the case is John Adams (not, here, a President), and meanwhile, Calvin is hanging out with Balzac (the author). And yes, the gratuitous appearances of historical figures was annoying me (but that's just me).