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Treasure Box Review
By Laura Dempsey - July 28, 1996


Orson Scott Card has made a name for himself on what's known as speculative fiction, not quite science fiction, not quite fantasy. He's also a series kind of guy, having collected several Hugos and Nebula awards for his Ender, Alvin Maker, and Red Prophet series.

Those new to Card will be thrown off by Treasure Box, which opens like your average contemporary novel. Quentin Fears is 11 when his beloved, older sister dies in a car accident. Her death, a plug-pulling event full of tragedy and conflict, is the pivotal point in Quentin's life, clouding everything to come.

He grows into an eccentric millionaire, functioning quite nicely yet shut off from all real human connection. He makes money without effort, moves from town to town pumping cash in the dreams of others, tied only to his parents. Until he meets Madeleine, the woman of his dreams. They marry.

And the strangeness begins. Card's books aren't your average alien-takeover tales; they're thoughtful, well-crafted stories of fully fleshed characters in situations so wonderfully weird the reader can't help but feel bored by real life. Card's folks are right there, ready to do the smart thing, the brave thing, with second thoughts dogging their every move. They're all too human.

Madeleine isn't real, but she's not fake, either. She's not a ghost, yet she has intimate dealings with those in the afterworld. She steals Quentin's thoughts and uses them against him in her all-consuming effort to open the treasure box, the story's central mystery. Quentin knows he's got to stop her.

It's pure imagination, pure wonder, total fun. Card is able to take the reader for a ride leading who-knows-where, and engenders enough confidence in the driver to us all to just sit back and keep the pages turning.

(Source: Dayton Daily News, July 28, 1996, by Laura Dempsey)


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