Young Alvin Maker is 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... read more
Alvin's family is migrating west. When they try to cross the Hatrack River, the Unmaker tries to stop the as-yet-unborn Alvin from becoming a Maker, sending a tree down the river to crush the wagon the pregnant Mrs. Miller is riding in. Her son Vigor diverts the tree, but is mortally wounded... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Alvin's family is migrating west. When they try to cross the Hatrack River, the Unmaker tries to stop the as-yet-unborn Alvin from becoming a Maker, sending a tree down the river to crush the wagon the pregnant Mrs. Miller is riding in. Her son Vigor diverts the tree, but is mortally wounded in the act. Because a seventh son must be born while the other six are alive, Vigor desperately clings to life until Alvin is born. Help is dispatched at the insistence of five-year-old "torch" (a person who, among other things, can see the life forces of people and under certain conditions, their myriad alternate futures) Peggy Guester, who sees Alvin and Alvin's possible future as a Maker.
As the years pass, Alvin avoids numerous attempts by the Unmaker to kill him, often helped by the intervention of Peggy, who continues to watch over him and help him use his power with her "torch" powers. When he is ten years old, Alvin encounters "Taleswapper" (William Blake) a travelling storyteller who arrives in the town his parents have founded. Meanwhile, the Reverend Philadelphia Thrower becomes a tool of the Unmaker. When the Unmaker manages to injure Alvin, Taleswapper encourages him to heal himself, and Thrower (acting as a surgeon) attempts to kill him, but finds himself unable to by a mysterious force. Alvin heals himself (with the aid of his brother Measure) and is contracted as an apprentice to a blacksmith in the town on the Hatrack River where he was born.
“Their horses were champing in the stable, snorting and warning each other about the storm. In every group of horses, little Peggy figgered, there must be one that's remarkable dumb, so all the others have to tell him what all's going on. Bad storm, they were saying. We're going to get a soaking, if the lightning don't smack us first. And the dumb one kept nickering and saying, What's that noise, what's that noise?”
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