Heather B. Moore has written another book based on a famous story in The Book of Mormon (for more info on The Book of Mormon click the link). With seven novels and one non-fiction work based on The Book of Mormon, Heather is uniquely qualified for this project and I jumped at the chance to review her latest book (full disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy, although that didn't influence my opinion).
Ammon is the story of a rebellious prince, heir to a kingdom who fought against the church his father had helped organize. He and his brothers and friend organized themselves in opposition to the church and began actively working to tear it down and persecute the members. An angelic visit led to his conversion and sparked a missionary zeal that lasted for all his life (yes, there are echoes to the conversion of St. Paul in the Bible) turned him around.
Moore's book begins as the newly converted Ammon and his brothers leave each other to go preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a wild and ferocious people in a neighboring kingdom. The action of the story recounts Ammon's experiences.
Moore had a delicate task. She had to weave together the well-known episodes that every Mormon child knows. At the same time, the account doesn't give enough information for a complete narrative. Consequently, she had to use her imagination to fill in the gaps in a credible way. It seems to me that it would be much easier to either write about someone you create from scratch or about some historical figure where there are enough data to create a narrative. Moore's characters essentially give her the worst of both worlds--she can't let her imagination have completely free reign, but she has to do a lot of imagining.
This is a task she does deftly. Ammon is a well-imagined, well-crafted book. She managed to keep the tension up with some plot twists that grabbed my attention. Even more admirably, she created a hero who is virtuous and good without being one-dimensional or shallow. I found the character Ammon likeable and well-fleshed out, and I believed him as a human. Moore also did an excellent job creating a believable milieu for her book. She has clearly done a great deal of research on Meso-America and was able to include enough historical, cultural, and geographical details to provide texture to the story without becoming pedantic.
Ammon is an enjoyable read by a skillful author who knows her craft. I look forward to reading more of Heather's work.
Watch the book trailer here.
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