Set in an alternate frontier America (where we talk about Hio and Missippi for example), where the people have knacks, comes this novel chronicling Alvin Smith, a boy destined to become a legendary Maker.
The book was a find when a local bookstore was closing doors and it was in their final day lying around. No loss in costs as I paid like half a euro for it, I never heard of the writer nor if there was any series about this.
But it is a great read. The tale chronicles the life of Alvin from the moment he arrives in the small village Hattrack Road (where he had been born a decenium ago during a river swilling that cost his eldest brother his life) to take up apprenticeship with the local smith.
But the local innkeeper harbours a secret as he shelters the runaway `mix up boy`, a product from a slaver and the raping of one of his slaves. With people having knacks in this world, which can be either foresight, or something as simple as making people feel good, Alvin discovers slowly and steadily he is a Maker. A mythical knack of which only two had existed before him, that can literally make anything, up to an atomic level. Healing wounds, unbinding wood... it is all in his range of possibilities.
He is guided in his journey by Ms Larner, an elderly schoolteacher who in reality is far younger, the runaway daughter of the innkeeper who is in love with Alvin, but as a torch couldn`t see a good future coming from their being together as a couple. So she uses disguise hexes to guide Alvin instead.
The slaveboy, Arthur Stuart, is special in his own way, as he was conceived by his father, a cruel slaver that unknowingly works for the devil, as the prodigy and antipode to Alvin. But as Alvin has taken a liking to the boy and vice versa, this creates a very special bond and a series of events that might carry grave costs...
I`m definilty going to research if their are more books in the series, because I truly enjoyed it. It`s not a literary great or a genre classic, but for me personally that doesn`t matter. A good book is something I enjoy reading in the bathtub or while on the bus, and this one caught my attention span.
I honestly think this tale would even make a good script. Not for those high and mighty cinema movies, but for those lesser budget but not necessarily lesser quality ones they make over on Sci-Fi and the likes.
Just my two cents...