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Fire Of The Covenant: The Story Of The Willie And Martin Handcart Companies (2004)

Fire of the Covenant: The Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies (2004)
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4.56 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
1590384113 (ISBN13: 9781590384114)
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English
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deseret book company
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Fire Of The Covenant: The Story Of Th...
Fire Of The Covenant: The Story Of The Willie And Martin Handcart Companies (2004)

About book: When Justin and I and our little family lived in Student Family Housing at BYU at the "turn of the century" :), we would often spend Sunday afternoons (and sometimes evenings) or vacation days reading LDS Church-themed/related books together. We took turns reading to each other, but usually I ended up reading the most. We read the entire Work and the Glory series and Children of the Promise series that way. After we finished those, we read this book together. By the time we started this book, Justin was in grad school and working full time in Salt Lake City, and our oldest daughter was getting old enough that we could only read in bits and snatches at night. It took us longer to get through it, and we were often both exhausted. I remember liking the book, but we read so infrequently that it didn't endear itself to us like other books we had read. I wanted to read this book again, partly because I'd just read Brother Lund's most recent book, The Undaunted, and it got me in the mood for more pioneer-type historical fiction. I also wanted to read it in more than just bits and snatches so I could get a good feel for it. Readers of Gerald Lund's books know that he is an impeccable researcher. You will learn so much about the time periods and events he is writing about, not only through the story, but through the extra notes and experiences he includes at the end of each chapter/end of the book. His descriptions really give the reader a feel for the characters and the places they live in or go to: what they look like, what kind of person they are, the environment they are in, the kind of day a certain experience occurred on. You feel a part of the book. However, many readers will also know that he tends to use the same kinds of phrases over and over to describe emotions and occurences (like "husky voice" to describe someone speaking with emotion, and so on). He also tends to have people who are separated for some time come back together in a "surprise unveiling," where the long-gone person is brought in by another character to the surprise and joy of the other characters, and the way he includes fictional characters in real historical happenings is a bit awkward sometimes. But if you can look past those quirks, you will enjoy his books very much.I found myself shedding tears many times as I felt the sufferings of the handcart companies, the angst and sacrifices of their eventual rescuers, and the strong faith exhibited by many people in the story. I also cheered for triumphs and accomplishments, and grieved for beloved characters who died. I am a "likener," I guess, and I took away so many things that could be applied in my life. Overall, this book is an excellent way to get to know the story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies, and it is also just a great story by itself.

Fire of the Covenant is a book about the Martin and Willie handcart companies. Written as if they had walked together at the same time towards Zion, it shares details of the average “new converts” life. In some instances, the choice to leave a fiance, best friend, or even family members behind had to be made. Once decided, those who went made the tough journey. It often involved many weeks on a boat and months spent shivering. Sacrifices were, at times, extreme. The ultimate testing of faith happened on these trails. Although tough, every person had the same basic background - All were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and had been commanded and instructed to make their way to Utah. During a time period of trial, physical expense, joy, and immense suffering, they painstakingly make their way to Salt Lake City, UT. The book helped me consider what it might have been like for me to be a pioneer. As a member of the LDS Church, I have ancestors who walked across the United States. It connected me with them, by showing me determination, human spirit, family relationships, and what it took to get this state started.Even for those not of the same faith, I encourage you to read it. It shows a great measure of Utah’s history. Many of the cities, towns, and counties were settled by early pioneers. Everyone experiences faith of some type, even if they are not religious. They have goals that they believe in, and work toward those goals. They will identify with these people, the same type of experiences we may see today. Although we may not have literal wolves trying to tear us apart, we have our own challenges equally as difficult.From the author of The Work and The Glory, Fire of the Covenant is a well written, gut wrenching novel. Experience love and romance, death, obedience, and happiness as you walk the trails with the saints. A well researched, good story line, and a major test of faith. I encourage all to read this book.
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Reviews
Cristina
It took me a little while to get into this book most likely because the size of the book deterred me just a bit; however, I ended up enjoying this book so much! Written about the Martin and Willie Handcart companies; the early pioneers (1856) and their struggles coming across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. It gave me much appreciation for not only what I have been blessed with in my life but also for the sacrifices that these people made to come to Zion. I originally began reading the book to help prepare for a youth conference in my church in which we reenact pushing handcarts on a trek. I recommend this book to all who would like to hear more about the early pioneers and their sacrifices. It is a great book! Be ready to shed a few tears as well!!
Nancy
This was a long book - over 700 pages, but it was very good. It took some families and just some children of families from Scotland and Norway and England on the voyage across the continent to England then across the ocean to cross the plains for freedom of religion. The Willie and Martin groups left later in the year than usual but wanted to get to the "Valley" for freedom of religion and pursecution. They ran into the snow and strong winds in Wyoming and Brigham Young didn't get the letter that they were coming as late as they were. Four groups had gone before them so The Valley had alread retired the wagons that went to Wyoming to meet the pioneers so he had to unretire them and ask for a lot of volunteers and help of the citizens of The Valley (SLC). It was very well written to help you understand what our ancestors went through.
Dad
This was an excellent book. I could get a glimpse of what happened. It is a terrible tragedy that so many suffered. It was something that could not be averted. The handcart Saints of the fourth and fifth companies could not stay in Iowa as there was no food nor money to buy any. There was no way to quickly contact the Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Therefore, they took a chance to come west. These people had great faith. They gave their all. Thankfully, Elder Richards had travelled quickly to the Valley to inform Brigham Young. He implored the Saints in Utah to quickly respond with a relief effort. In the freezing snow, they were able to rescue the 2 handcart companies and 2 wagon companies. It was still miraculous that they were able to get back. Many times in this reading, I cried or laughed out loud. It was well written and the characters were well painted. Maggie and Eric were a great match as were David Granger and Hannah McKensie. My great grandfather, Edwin Ruthven Miles, Sr., was one of the rescuers who came all the way to meet the handcarts. My great, great grandfather, Marriner Wood Merrill, brought supplies to Fort Bridger. Reading a book with 762 pages was a trek for me. I have wanted to read this for some time. I gave it to my wife Kristy in 1999 which she read. I didn't want to take on such a task as I thought I would give it up part way through. Finally, I succumbed. I have only read three books of this length a history book called "1001 Days", "Moby Dick," which I only read parts for school and then couldn't read all of them, and the Bible, which took 2 1/2 years. I think this book was long so you had to wade through a lot of pages like they crossed cold streams and baking hot deserts and mindlessly, freezing snow. This is a fine book. I give the utmost tribute to these SAINTS who gave their all for the "Fire of the Covenant." May God always bless them.
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