Reviewed by Brent Hall
Gadiantons and the Silver Sword comes as a sequel to Heimerdinger's 1989 novel Tennis Shoes among the Nephites. As was true of Tennis Shoes, Gadiantons is a time-travel narrative. A brave, young, and handsome Nephite has come through a time tunnel to recover a sword with special evil powers. The plot involves a race by the young Nephite Muleki and another group from his time who are the representatives of the Gadiantons to find this sword that has been stolen from them and taken through the time tunnel. If the Gadiantons recover the sword, it will give them power in their wars against the Nephites. If Muleki can find it first, he will be able to destroy it, thus helping to save his people.
As in his previous novel, Heimerdinger's newest book is action centered. He brings back his Cody, Wyoming, characters from Tennis Shoes several years after their first encounter with the Nephites. They are now students at BYU and Harvard. The plot moves quickly and is generally well connected. The author has done his homework again and the careful reader will find some doctrinal messages. His treatment of Book of Mormon archaeology reveals judgment and maturity. In fact, his explanations of "the two Cumorah theory" will probably surprise some who haven't thought about the issue lately.
I was bothered a bit by the author's use of stereotypes such as "California Money Mormons" and his implication of general squalor south of the Rio Grande. However, his character development, plot, conflict, and resolution are outstanding. The reader of Gadiantons is given an exciting non-stop ride while "good" does battle with the dark side as a society's future hangs in the balance.
Three of my children—ages 18, 17, and 15—read the book and each said he or she really enjoyed it (and I did too!). I suspect that the book would be good for most young readers, and many adults will find it good diversion reading. Heimerdinger has done a good job, and I hope he continues.