PATHFINDER; Orson Scott Card; Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster; Nov. 2010; 662 pages; $18.99
Fans of the Ender's Game series have long awaited another young hero like Ender Wiggins.
In Pathfinder, Rigg Sessamekesh comes close.
This young lad is bright, inventive and capable of outwitting all kinds of adults and evildoers who wish him harm. He's also a pawn in a drama that depends on his survival but for which he isn't given a choice about whether he participates or not. He doesn't know who he can trust and the landscape around him is ever-changing.
Here is a story that intrigues and involves right from the start as Rigg loses the man he believes is his father and starts on a quest to find out why he's been meticulously schooled to behave well in worlds he has never seen.
He must learn to use his gift he can see the paths of those who've gone before and those who move around him to help him and his friends survive. He must rely on his wits to keep him alive and to solve the mystery of why his father would leave him with a bag of precious jewels that guarantees him trouble instead of a life of wealth and ease.
Linking up with another gifted boy named Umbo and a good-hearted tavern owner by the name of Loaf, Rigg goes in search of his mother, sister and the royal heritage he apparently has. He moves with ease from the river folk to bankers to high society as he looks for answers and manages to impress both the reader and those in his life.
In the meantime, there's a secondary story going on involving space travelers and a time travel jump that has created multiple copies of a starship on a voyage to the planet Garden. Without giving away too much of the story, suffice it to say there's a parallel that becomes evident and a good reason for the double storyline. Plus, throughout the book, there's plenty of debate and discussion about time travel and the ramifications that can result.
It's somewhat mind-boggling and in some places maybe a bit tiresome if you're not fond of word puzzles, but it's easy enough to skim over these portions in order to get back to the action.
Pathfinder introduces characters who live in a distant place that could easily exist. The dialogue is interesting and the pacing is lively. Card knows how to tell an interesting story and keep a reader engaged.
Even with more than 600 pages, the book is over too soon.
Sharon Haddock is a professional freelance writer with 30 years experience, 17 of those at The Deseret News. She has a personal blog called Grandma's Place: http://sharonhaddock.blogspot.com/