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Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: Alma by H.B. Moore


Over the weekend I read Alma, the second in a series of historical novels by H.B. Moore. It follows directly after Abinadi, which I read a few weeks ago.

Alma covers a span of several years and has several story lines that at varying places join together and separate again. Alma was a priest in the infamous court of King Noah, renowned for money, sex, and alcohol (not necessarily in that order). We first meet Alma in the book Abinadi. When the young prophet preaches of Christ to King Noah, Alma is the only person who believes. Abinadi is killed for his teachings, but not before Alma flees King Noah's court.

Taking his life in his hands, Alma begins to teach others what he heard from Abinadi. As life becomes more dangerous within the city lines, he and several 'Believers' flee. They create their own city, free of idols, prostitutes, and the other vices that tore apart King Noah's court.

But King Noah doesn't get off that easily. He's made a lot of enemies over the years, and his city is invaded by the Lamanites, a warring enemy tribe. King Noah's own people sacrifice him, and that appeases the Lamanites enough to allow the inhabitants to live. As long as they pay a tax of 50% of all their goods.

Meanwhile, Alma and his people live in peace, upheld by their religious beliefs. Their new city is industrious and beautiful. But one day, quite by accident, a small party of Lamanites stumbles upon Alma's city. With no warning and no chance for an uprising, the Lamanites seize the city and make it part of their stronghold. They force the inhabitants to give up their homes, their possessions, and deny them the right to even pray. Repressed, Alma's people must pray for deliverance in secret.

If you've read the Book of Mormon, you know how the story ends. The telling of this story and the representation of the familiar characters enlivens the familiar Book of Mormon story. What takes place in a matter of verses in the scriptures occurs over several pages in Alma. The people and places have left an impression in my mind that will not be forgotten, no matter how many years pass by between reading.

I did feel like the romantic drama between some of the characters was contrived and unnecessary. But once they got over their inabilities to communicate their true feelings, all was well again. I enjoyed this book very much and know there is another on the way. This is a fantastic way to live out Book of Mormon history.

Sequel Stats:
today's goal: 42,652
actual: 43,000 (exactly!)
tomorrow's goal: 45,000

11 comments:

M. Gray said...

Interesting, what you said about some of the romantic drama being contrived. It's SO hard to get right, isn't it? Seems like there's either too much or too little... and to make it real? Wow, a difficult duty.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I'm difficult to please. When it seems to me that people are only not together b/c they're both going in their heads, "Oh, it's impossible for us to be together" but really, there's no reason on earth for it to be impossible...well, I just thinks that's contrived drama. My opinion.

Glad you dropped by! I was starting to think no one read my blog today!

Karen Gowen said...

I always read your blog Tamara, but I have nothing to say so I didn't comment, except for Welcome Back M. Gray! And rock on, Tamara

M. Gray said...

Thanks, Karen! I feel so silly! I missed my friends I've never met!

M. Gray said...

Actually, Tamara, I made a short list a couple months ago about what I considered the best scenarios for obstacles in a romance. Not romantic plot lines, but the obstacles themselves. For instance "Forbidden love" or "from different worlds" are classic obstacles. Aha! I've discovered something to blog about! Brainstorm, everyone! It's a fascinating topic!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Mary--good job! B/c the truth is, there often are real obstacles that get in the way of love! Very real ones! But how many people actually let those obstacles stand in the way of them?

Therefore, for someone to let an imaginary obstacle get in the way...well, let's say it's a pet peeve of mine! (and if you catch it in my own writing, please tell me before it hits the shelf!)

Kate said...

Okay, I didn't read your review (because I'm going to read the book and I'm funny about reading reviews before I read a book) but I read the comments and have a comment about the comments. I recently read two romances where both characters were unbelievably stupid and couldn't get together because that would be the end of the book. So the author stretched out an unrealistic conflict for nearly 300 pages! I kept waiting for the characters to wake up.

M. Gray said...

I think that's why I love the different spheres obstacle. i.e. Memoirs of a Geisha, Pride and Prejudice, Twilight, Shrek, Wuthering Heights. Ahh, I love this topic. Should I include my book?? ;)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

ha ha ha, Kate! That's awful! I read a book like that once too. I got about 100 pages into it and put it down. (And it was by a bestselling author!)

Yes, Mary, add your book to the list! those are wonderful examples of realistic conflict!

Heather B. Moore said...

Tamara--thanks for the review! I'll get it linked to my blog :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

You're welcome, Heather!

And I hope that the overall reaction my blog readers got was that the book was good!

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