by Orson Scott Card
Rigg is as unimportant as a young boy can be. He lives in almost complete seclusion in the far northern woods of his wallfold. He and his father are trappers, coming down from the mountains only to sell their furs. But Rigg has a talent. He can see the path left by every living being that has traversed Garden. This skill comes in handy when tracking animals, but it is not until his father dies that Rigg beings to realize the full extent of his powers.
With his dying breath, Rigg’s father tells him a secret—he is not Rigg’s father. Shocked and hurt, Rigg must travel into the heart of civilization to find his family. He explores his terrifyingly powerful talent on the way, using it to get out of trouble time and time again. But when he arrives at his wallfold’s capital, he realizes that his talent may be most useful in protecting himself from his very own family.
Orson Scott Card creates a fascinatingly unique world. His detailed understanding of physics and his elaborate exploration of time travel puzzle and delight. Rigg’s story is wonderful to follow. It is exciting, dangerous, and enthralling. The skill in which Orson Scott Card builds this world will quickly suck readers into a wonderful trilogy. There are adult conversations regarding sex and violence, but the adult content is not described in detail.
- Loaf tells Rigg that he threw out this first wife when he came home from a lengthy trip and discovered she had three children from three different men. Loaf says she was lucky he didn’t kill her, as was his right.
- Rigg hangs a purse of jewels under his clothes, around his waist. Loaf says, “I think you carry in your crotch most of the wealth of this wallfold . . . but that’s how all young men feel, isn’t it!”
- Rigg’s father dies when a tree falls on him and he is impaled. His father calls out to him, “I have been pierced by two branches, completely through my belly.” Rigg does not see this directly, and his father makes Rigg promise, “You will not come look at me, now while I’m alive or later after I’m dead. I don’t want you to have this terrible image in your memory.”
- Rigg tries to save a boy from falling off a waterfall. In the process, he nearly knocks a man over the falls. “The weight of Rigg’s head and shoulder striking the man caused his leg to buckle, and the man twisted, started to topple forward. I came to save a boy and now I’m killing a man.”
- Umbo thinks his brother was pushed over the waterfall by Rigg. Umbo throws rocks at Rigg, nearly knocking him over the falls. Later a mob, stirred up by Umbo, comes for Rigg. Nox talks the mob down. “Why do you want to believe the worst? Why are you hungry to do a killing here today?”
- Umbo runs away because his father beats him, and after his little brother dies he was scared his father would kill him. “Perhaps Umbo was afraid . . . Everyone knew how Tegay beat him when he was angry.”
- Loaf met his wife after a battle. He was on the ground with a gash across his stomach. His wife found him, stitched him up and took him home. “By scavenger law I’m her slave,” Loaf says.
- When captured, a general threatens to torture and kill Rigg’s friends.
- A man talks about his great-grandfather, who was given, “a slow and gruesome public death . . . with his body parts fed to the royal hunting dogs.”
- Rigg hits a man on the forehead and pees on the same man during an attempt to escape his own assassination.
- Ram Odins’ neck is broken by expendables, machines that look human. “The expendable reached out with both hands, gave Ram’s head a twist, and broke his neck.”
- Peasants broke into the house the former princess was living in, and forced her to surrender all her clothing.
- Loaf injures a drunkard who was close to hurting his wife. He does this before his wife would have killed the drunk to save herself from harm.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Rigg is attacked by soldiers who are drugged to the point of being unable to recognize when they received, “orders [that] would lead directly to their deaths.”
- Bastard is said once.
- Rigg and several others have the ability to manipulate time to different extents. These abilities are genetic.
- Some people in Rigg’s wallfold have genetically induced powers such as projecting a wall with their minds.
- The people of Rigg’s wallfold pray to many deities such as the Wandering Saint.
- Rigg briefly wonders if he is a demon, since he has strange abilities.
- Rigg and his friends take a pilgrimage to the Tower of O, a strange structure of unknown origins that is the oldest structure in the Wallfold.
by Morgan Lynn