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