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Saints

By: Orson Scott Card
Narrated by: Emily Janice Card,Stefan Rudnicki,Paul Boehmer
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Publisher's Summary

This is an epic of independence and devotion, of hardship and fulfillment, of a woman so strong that knowing her could change your life.

When 10-year-old Dinah Kirkham saw her father leave their Manchester home in the middle of the night, she asked when he would be back. “Soon,” he replied. But he never came back. On that night in 1829, John Kirkham laid the foundation of his daughter’s certainty that the only person Dinah could ever really trust was herself.

From that day forward, Dinah worked to support her family, remaining devoted to their welfare even in the face of despair and grinding poverty. Then one day she heard a new message; a new purpose ignited in her heart, and new life opened up before her.

©1984 Orson Scott Card (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Card’s magnum opus deserves a wider readership than it has hitherto enjoyed. Best known for his fantasy fiction…Card does an excellent job of depicting the Dickensian horrors of England undergoing industrialization in the early 19th century as well as the early trials of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints as experienced by his heroine…Not just for the LDS faithful…this ambitious novel will appeal to anyone interested in a sensitive examination of the roots of religious feeling.” ( Publishers Weekly)
“Orson Scott Card is a powerful storyteller with the gift of making mundane things sparkle…an engrossing epic.” ( Los Angeles Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Saints

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Wash Manure and it is still Sh#t

SHE DOES NOT FIT INTO THE GROUP SHE MAKES THE GROUP FIT HER
This is separated into ten books and 50 chapters. The first and second book and 16 chapters are excellent. It reminded me a lot of Potato Factory by Bryce Courtney. This was about the Industrialized England of the early 1800's. About how cruel people could be and hard it was to survive. With the exception of the father The Kirkham family manages to stay afloat during these hard times.

FROG STRANGLER
Early in book 3 this becomes a devotional. I am guessing a lot people would know that a book called Saints would be about Mormons. I honestly did not. I knew Card was a Mormon, as he mentions in Lost Boys and some other books. I have always been interested in religion, so even though the whole mood of the book drastically changed and I am not a fan of devotionals from any religion, I kept listening. Card is also my favorite writer. Now we have gone from a five star to a three star.

BEAUTY ATTRACTS A MAN, BUT THE BRAIN KEEPS HIM.
In book five Dinah Kirkham leaves her children to go to America. She is called a hero and brave for leaving her children for her religion. I really had a problem with this part of the book. This whole book is mostly about Dinah and we are lead to believe she is some great pious person. When she arrives in America she meets Joseph Smith, who is half naked and wrestling a man. Later she commits adultery with the leader of the church. Only it is called celestial marriage (she is still legally married to a man in England). She becomes an advocate of plural marriages and talks other women into doing it. When Smith dies, she marries Brigham Young. She proposes to him, not him to her. In the beginning of the book, we are lead to believe that she is almost raped by her boss, after the other women have complained about her getting favors for her flirting and showing her cleavage to the boss. Towards the end of the book, I am really starting to wonder who raped who.

MALARIA MEANS BAD AIR
Card did not do any favors for the church, by the way he portrays Joseph Smith, the leader of the church. I am surprised he even published this. I did not like Smith from the start and he got worse as the book goes on. He marries at least 13 other women in secret and does not tell his first wife. When she suspects something is going on, he lies straight to her face. Before sleeping with Dinah, he tells her that if anyone finds out, he will deny it. If she is threatened with excommunication, he will let that happen. Under no circumstances is his first wife to find out. In other words, he is a chicken Sh#t. When his first wife finally finds out, it almost drives her crazy, but he keeps doing it. Matter of fact she might have actually gone crazy, but Smith could care less. Anytime Joseph wants something, he gets a vision from God. He complains he does not want to bed more women, but hey, God told him to. I am not sure we get a final number on how many women he marries, but I do believe that Young has over 40 wives.

BURIED TO HIS ELBOWS IN ASHES
The second half of this book sounds like some kind of Peyton Place. I put it on fast play in order to get through it. I wanted to get through it to see how Smith talks these ladies into sleeping with him and his wife into accepting him. The way Card writes it, it sounds like most of the women are pretty horny for his big body. He is described as big and muscly. His wife never really accepted it and claimed to her dying day that he never cheated on her. There is some drama between two sisters who marry the same man. The Mormons who practice plural marriage today seem to like to marry sisters. If your not a Mormon or interested in the religion, you probably should stay away from this book.

Narrators are good, except for one that sounds like he is reading a children's book.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

"A Woman of Destiny"

I have read every single book written by Orson Scott Card, and this is Card at his best. Though I was first drawn to his works through my love of science fiction, it was his religious writing that kept me coming back for more. I myself am not a member of the Latter-Day Saints, nor am I affiliated with any other religion; however, religious writing (both fact and fiction) fascinate me, especially when presented by a sincere adherent and from a personal point of view.

"Saints", formerly published as "A Woman of Destiny", is a wonderful example of fiction that puts forth some of the doctrines of a faith without proselytizing, without becoming pedantic, and without necessitating any previous knowledge of said faith. In addition, it offers a well-written and -conceived story about a single woman's struggle with the trials and vicissitudes of life during the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century-- the injustice, political and personal, inherent in being an impoverished woman during this time, and most of all, her endeavors to find faith in God, to find happiness, and to find happiness in her faith.

As usual, Card displays his astonishing understanding of the female mind, and Dinah Kirkham is a strong, believable character. I have long hoped for an audio production of this novel-- yes, I have read it in traditional paper format and I am still buying the audio version, as I have with so many other books by Card-- and if the narrative cast is any indication, this will be an excellent listen. Whether you are using member credits or paying full price, "Saints" is definitely worth your time and your money.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Fiction pretending to be history

I like many of Card's books, but this one just didn't work for me. It is historical fiction - kind of. That is the biggest problem I have with it: It is a series of hypotheses based on the extrapolation of sketchy historical documents at the time of Card's writing of this novel. Since Card wrote this book, most of his major plot twists and events have now been shot down and are "very improbable" or just flat out wrong. It was a nice try (and maybe plausible) at the time of his writing of this novel based on the facts that were known at the time, but now it is almost laughable. If you do read this book, do yourself a favor and google - particularity search for "fair lds wiki" and you will see what I am talking about...

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not What I expected

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing could have helped this book - unless I was looking for a historical novel regarding the Mormon Church.

What was most disappointing about Orson Scott Card’s story?

I kept waiting for the story line to develop a normal Orson Scott Card bend, but it never happened

What aspect of the narrators’s performance would you have changed?

The narrators did fine with the story.

Any additional comments?

I need to remember to always look for the genre, not just assume by the author that it would be in his normal story lines.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good, but not great

Yeah, this was good until I started doing some googe searches. He takes a lot of "artistic license" and his own interpretation of history. But I guess I have to cut him some slack, this book was apparently written in the mid 80's and since them there have probably been new research. So I will assume he was making the best assumption he could based on what he had at the time of this novel's writing. But the story was compelling and far from boring. Good book, just not great. Don't believe everything you read in it as "gospel truth".

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I would like to return this one!

Would you try another book from Orson Scott Card and/or the narrators?

No

What could Orson Scott Card have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It was too gruesome.

Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

Yes

Any additional comments?

I would like to return this book...too cruel and crude for my taste!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too long

this story could have finished ages ago....it was much too long. it became a chore that i was so stubborn i had to finish. goodbye Dinah.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An Epic Story with Indifferent Narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have selected a single narrator - one who could invest themselves in each of the characters. Alternatively, I would have had each of the multiple narrators stick to a character, so that each character could have a unique voice.

Several times in the story, the main character, Dinah Kirkham, is described as having a "Lancashire accent" - although you couldn't prove it from the narration. Each of the narrators who read Dinah's words gave her a different voice & only once or twice did that voice have anything but the narrator's own (American) accent.

Otherwise, the story was excellent. The book describes what life was like for early Mormons, but makes no attempt to proselytize. The author does a fine job of fleshing out each character. By showing the characters' struggles - physical, emotional & intellectual - the author lets us see them as real people.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Warning! Non-Mormons may be offended!

I love Orson Scott Cards work, and I knew going into this book that it would heavily biased towards the LDS church. However, that didn’t keep me from disliking the moral judgments of some of the characters in the story. While the overall story is very solid, I think non-members of the LDS church will be quite offended by some of the doctrine discussed in the book. If you have an open mind, I think it’s well worth the listen and Stefan Rudnicki’s performance is up to his usual high standards.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Long winded

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I was unaware that this was a Mormon story. Since I enjoy history, I liked the historical setting of the book. When I discovered that it was a fictional accounting of the early Morman church I was interested in how the story would sell their ideas, in particular polygamy. It was enlightening. I didn't feel the book particularly preachy. If it were, I would not have finished. I gave the story 2 stars because everything could have been said in a much shorter story. It droned and many chapters could have been combined. I didn't finish the book anxious for more, feeling a kinship with the characters. I was relieved when it ended. I didn't feel that I received anything valuable for my 20+ hours of listening time. I probably would have given the story a 3, possibly 4 stars if more substance was packed into half the time.

Would you ever listen to anything by Orson Scott Card again?

I might.

What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

Multiple voices, some more pleasant than others.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes. It's important for people to have a belief in something greater than themselves. We may not all believe the same things, but the basic need for something greater is inherent in us all.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Boone
  • 10-01-20

An epic -- it will take effort

This is a true epic, spanning the whole lifetimes of the central characters, and a journey of thousands of miles. There's a lot to it and, to be fair, I don't think the style is entirely consistent all the way through. The first quarter of the book, set in the dark satanic mills, is gripping in a Dickensian sense. Card's portrayal of the harshness and injustice of that time is spot-on. When the action moves to North America, things get a bit more sketchy, but it still hangs together. It isn't really until the last few chapters that I think the plot disintegrates.

I find it interesting that the 'narrator' who introduces each section of the book often expresses different sentiments than the central characters. This takes a certain amount of authorial gumption which, to be fair, Card does not lack.

The treatment of Mormonism in the story is nicely ambiguous. It's pretty clear that the main characters convert for questionable motives -- even those who are portrayed as most deeply religious. The founders of Mormonism, particularly Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, are treated with sympathy, but no obvious reverence. The divisive, destructive effect of polygamy -- which continues to this day -- is well explored.

For all that, I didn't find the end particularly convincing. Partly I think that's because the central character, Dinah, does not speak or act in ways which justify the choices she makes. It's just a bit... wishy-washy at the end.

As for the reading -- I was disappointed that no reader could be found who would speak with the Lancashire accents of most of the main characters. In fact, the accents of all the characters were rendered differently by each of the readers. I don't think this is a big deal, but it niggled a little.

In the end, this is a book I would recommend. It's a good story just as fiction, and the historical (or, at leasst quasi-historical) description of the birth of a religion makes it even more compelling. But it's not perfect, and it's not Card's best book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 03-31-11

How much is too many?

A young family are abandoned by their father in Manchester. The children are sent to work and gradually make their way in the world.

A mormon preacher converts siblings Dinah and Charlie and their mother; and they set sail to America to live with other converts. They have to go back to the basic life they escaped, then deal with polygamy and prejudice.