It's a strange thing, but I've owned a copy of this book since my university days, and I'd obviously assumed that I'd read the book having previously rated it. However, once I came to read it again I realised that I'd not read it before at all. Quite why I'd managed to own an entire trilogy for nearly twenty years without reading beyond the first one is a mystery.[b:Red Prophet|1930959|Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker, #2)|Orson Scott Card|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1212068078s/1930959.jpg|98069]
is the second in the original Alvin Maker trilogy – like [a:Piers Anthony|8516|Piers Anthony|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1234056775p2/8516.jpg] it seems that [a:Card|589|Orson Scott Card|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1294099952p2/589.jpg] struggles to put a lid on a good series once he starts one. This story acts as a counterpoint to the first novel. While [b:Seventh Son|1930955|Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)|Orson Scott Card|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1190500762s/1930955.jpg|2771466]
tells the tale of Alvin's birth and early life – including the vision of the Shining Man. This sequel covers much of the same time period, but following the tales of the 'Reds': the one-eyed drunk Lolla-Wossiky who of course turns out to be both the Shining Man, and the prophet of the book's title and the moody and silent Ta-Kumsaw. About half-way through, we catch up with the end of Seventh Son
and Alvin meets up with our two Reds.
As other reviewers have noted this is fictional history rather than historical fiction. Heavy on the fiction, very light on the history. Card continues, though, to build his world; it just happens to overlay, very loosely, on the east side of the US. As we learnt about the 'knacks' and hexes of the white folk in the first book, this time we learn about the 'land sense' of the red man. This is where the book starts to stray into an awkward sort of racism in its style: the red man is the noble savage: a mystical, pagan, form of magic in touch with the land but a slave to his anger and vengeance; the white man is both the civilised creator of order and structure, and the selfish, greedy, destructor of the red man's land sense. The red man must separate from the white man in order to maintain his connection to the land.