Novel 'fills in the blanks' of Alma's life

Published: Friday, Dec. 4 2009 12:17 a.m. MST

"Alma," H.B. Moore, Covenant Communications, 2009, 308 pages, $16.95In the subculture of science fiction and fantasy, there are those who like to write stories with no intention of professional publication.So-called "fan fiction" is a vast collection of stories written to "fill in the blanks" of favorite books and movies, such as "Star Wars and "Star Trek." Such fiction can be problematic because of the risk of copyright infringement, but as long as the "fans" respect the wishes of the originators, a lot of interesting "what if" stories can result.H.B. Moore's "Alma" seems to qualify as a "fill in the blanks" story for the Book of Mormon. "Alma" is a sequel to "Abinadi" and uses several characters created for that novel to fill in blanks in the Book of Mosiah.And Moore uses the characters very well.While Alma (the elder) provides one point of view, most of the characters who tell his story are people Moore created herself, such as Abinadi's widow and a wife, and later widow, of King Noah. Moore also gives relationships and personalities to people like Amulon and Helam who, with their perspectives, enrich and deepen the events told in the Book of Mosiah.Motives and actions from the story line provide explanations for incidents only glossed over in the Book of Mormon, such as why the daughters of the Lamanites pleaded for their kidnappers' lives when their people finally found them.This book is an exciting and interesting exploration of the followers and enemies of Alma and how they might have been involved in and affected by what happened. Not only do they struggle to survive, but they love, mourn, laugh, misunderstand and grow together, or apart, as the case may be.Moore is true to what is known about that time and place, and "Alma" offers worthy speculations of what surrounded the events.I suppose the next book might be about the sons of Alma and Mosiah, but hope Moore will consider calling one of the sequels "Limhi." There is a lot of potential for filling in the blanks of that story, and Moore could do it justice.

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