Stone Tables

Written by Orson Scott Card
Review by Suzanne Crane

Card once again produces an enjoyable story of biblical fiction, his Stone Tables is the story of Moses and the Exodus, but with a lightly flip outlook and placed in a time period only a few other authors share. And “flip” in no way means irreverent. Card clearly states he is a Mormon, and this story reflects some of his values and beliefs — and he infuses this telling of Moses with a sardonic humor which still gets the his people free of Egyptian bondage but does not weigh down the reader with despairing visions of doom and gloom.

Also unusual is his having Hatshepsut, daughter of Pharaoh Thutmose I and eventual Pharaoh herself, as the noble woman who takes baby Moses as her own child thus making him a Prince of Egypt. Card’s supporting argument in the preface, based on cultural factors, makes it seem quite possible.

Most of the supporting cast are quite different than their usual portrayals, and though some (like Hatshepsut, Thutmose III and Jethro) could have used a bit more depth, grumpy sister Miriam, envious brother Aaron, squabbling Jethro’s daughters and Moses make Stone Tables a delightful way to read Exodus. Card’s skill in the writing of this novel displays his ability to apply his talent to a diversity of subjects and have them enjoyed by all. Card makes no apologies, and has no need, for all Stone Tables’ lightness in reading, the message that God loves all his children is there for the reader.