Seventh Son is a work of fantasy concerned with the mystery of the human soul, particularly how people find and deal with evil within themselves. Though this serious theme is often found in adult fiction, Orson Scott Card presents it in a wonderfully exciting series of adventures set in a uniquely interesting fictional world. These adventures concern the birth and growth of Alvin Miller, Jr., a child capable of wielding great power in an alternative frontier America.
While the setting is a fantasy world in which people practice magic, it is realistically presented. For example, the first chapter begins with a little girl's pleasure in gathering eggs on her frontier farm, a pleasure spoiled by Bloody Mary, the hen that always pecks the girl. The novel then recounts Alvin's birth and the major episodes of his childhood. Throughout these adventures, Card exhibits a sure grasp of a child's perception of reality. The reader also shares the suffering of Alvin's parents as they deal with and try to protect a gifted child whom the very elements of nature seem to wish to destroy.
The serious moral and spiritual issues of the novel arise from Alvin's attempts to grow up with his special gifts and from the attempts of those around him to help or hinder.