Prentice Alvin Study Guide

Prentice Alvin

Prentice Alvin by Orson Scott Card

Prentice Alvin is the third entry in The Tales of Alvin Maker, a fantasy epic chronicling the life of the titular Alvin. The third book deals with Alvin's experience as an apprentice magical smith. It also deals with his friend Stuart, an escaped black slave, and with their efforts to help Stuart evade slave hunters wielding powerful tracking magic. The novel dwells on themes of American individualism, the barbarity of slavery, and the essential dignity of human life.

After being released from his time with Ta-Kumsaw, an Indian leader who taught Alvin the ways of Indian people, the young boy sets out to start his apprenticeship as a Smith in the town where he was born.

While there he meets a young half-black boy by the name of Arthur Stuart, the son of a slave and a slave-owner who has been adopted by the owners of the local guesthouse.

Another new friend comes in the form of Miss Margaret Larner, who he later discovers to be the "torch" who helped him to be born so many years ago, and with whom he has been strangely linked since that day.

Eventually, Alvin is forced into helping Arthur to escape some slave-hunters, something that requires him to slightly change Arthur's DNA enough to prevent the hunters' knacks from identifying the runaway child. Alvin also creates a plow of living gold, which is bestowed with magical properties, as his journeyman piece to release himself from his apprenticeship as a Smith (and also as a Maker).

The story ends with Alvin and Arthur leaving the town and returning to Alvin's home in the west.

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