ORSON SCOTT CARD. Seventh Son. New York: TOR, 1987.
ORSON SCOTT CARD. Red Prophet New York: TOR, 1988.
ORSON SCOTT CARD. Prentice Alvin. New York: TOR, 1989.
The publication of Prentice Alvin brings us to the halfway mark of Orson Scott Card's projected six-volume series The Tales of Alvin Maker, making a good point to evaluate what he has accomplished so far. I consider this to be a landmark work in contemporary fantasy and in Mormon fiction both; but before I go into detail, let me make a few general comments about fantasy.
As Tolkien took pains to explain in "On Fairy-Stories," when someone reads a story that takes place in an enchanted world, he or she does not experience a "willing suspension of disbelief" but rather a "secondary belief." If the author has done well, the reader can accept the world and its laws on his or her own terms, and believe in the story within that framework. This type of literary belief happens to some extent with all fiction, of course, but it is an essential element with fantasy.