This installment is a little slow as Alvin goes on trial, needing to explain where he got the gold for his enchanted plough. On his arrival back to Hatrack River, Alvin is immediately charged with theft by Makepeace Smith. So this novel moves slowly, delving up a lot of the past and casting it all in new light.
Meanwhile, Calvin makes his way to Europe, working to develop his power so he can confront Alvin – a confrontation Peggy forsees will end in Alvin’s death. Calvin seeks knowledge of ultimate power from Napoleon by using his knack to ease Napoleon’s gout. Napoleon takes him on, but promises himself to share no real understanding of power with Calvin. Catching on, Calvin makes his way home with his new friend Honore de Balzac.
Meanwhile Peggy is drawn to Alvin’s court case, but the two of them continue to argue about their future. Fortunately, he eventually talks some sense into her and they marry before heading off in separate directions to learn how to make the Crystal City.
I’ve got two more to go… then I will be waiting again for the final book that Card hasn’t written. But I can’t help myself – I just have to know what more there is! I’ll be starting book five shortly.