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In the summer of 1856, three companies of handcarts were outfitted and sent west from Iowa to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. All went well, and they arrived without undue incident. But two additional companies — one captained by James G. Willie, and the other by Edward Martin — left England late in the season. When they arrived at Iowa City, they were long past the time for safe departure across the plains. By the time they left Florence, Nebraska, with still more than a thousand miles to go, it was near the end of August. As if that were not serious enough, President Brigham Young thought that the arrival of the third company ended the migration for that season and ordered the resupply wagons back to Salt Lake.
Fire of the Covenant is the story of those handcart pioneers and their exodus to the Salt Lake Valley. Author Gerald N. Lund has used the same techniques present in The Work and the Glory series to blend fictional characters into the tapestry of actual historical events, making this a story filled with all the elements of great drama — tragedy, triumph, pathos, courage, sacrifice, surrender and faith.
To learn what happens to Jens Nielson and others, read about what happens after they reach the Salt Lake Valley in, "The Undaunted."
- Book on CD: Unabridged
About the Author
Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.
During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.
Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.
He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)
Couldn't put it down
by Anja - reviewed on September 19, 2008
This book lets you live side by side with the early pioneers -- they come alive! It has changed the way I view the early members of our Church forever. The language is varied yet simple enough to let the events and the people play the lead. You won't regret reading this.
Excellant. A must read for those who enjoyed "The Work & the Glory"
by Cheryl - reviewed on July 08, 2000
What an inspiration this book is. I have listened to this book on tape each morning as I get ready for work. It puts an impact on our lives as we realized the hardships as well as the joys that the Willy & Martin handcart companies have endured. The story line is wonderful. The family experience that the main characters experience keep you entrigued and want to go on. My Dad read the book and challenged me to read it. I chose to hear it on tape and it really comes alive!
by Camilla - reviewed on November 22, 2002
This is the second book I have read by Lund, and it has drawn me in. I like to feel conected to characters and this book made that easy! I appreciated the notes at the end of each chapter that clarified the facts. I have never before learned so much from reading a novel. 'Fire of the Covenant' is a muct read!
Powerful and Inspiring
by Amber - reviewed on September 29, 2008
This book is so magnificent. I couldn't put it down after the 1st page. I gained a much deeper appreciation for the pioneers and a testimony of the gospel, which they were willing to risk so much to live by.
Great insight into handcart company logistics and the hearts of the people who traveled in them.
by Wendell - reviewed on June 12, 2003
I especially liked the insight into 1) the historical reasons for organizing the handcart companies, and 2) the various parts of the plan that had to come together for a handcart company to be successful. , Until I read the book, I didn't realize that members of the company came from industrial centers and had to be physically conditioned for the trip and had to learn to frontier skills, I didn't understand how Brigham Young knew the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were in trouble before the winter storms hit, I didn't know about the various segments of the trip and the reason for each. I learned what the handcart companies did to compensate for the fact that they couldn't load and carry enough food for the entire trip, let alone household goods needed after they arrived in Salt Lake City. , I relate to the handcart company characters portrayed by the author who were common people with a conviction of the truth, albeit not an unwavering faith, and were committed to obeying the call to come to Zion. They made their choices as best they could and accepted responsibility for their choices. There is much to be learned from their example. , Most of all, I admire the concern the handcart people had for others in their group when their own lives were at risk. It is a stark contrast to what happened in the Donner party and the Freemont party when they were caught by early winter storms in the western mountains. The title of the book, Fire of the Covenant, summarizes what the story is all about.
Amazing testimony builder!
by Customer - reviewed on October 17, 2008
What an amazing book to make you think twice about what our ancestors endured to follow the call of a prophet of God. Gerald Lund's artful style of writing places you back at the time of the pioneers, not only acquainting you with the wonders of Church history, but engaging your emotions to the characters in the story as well. You will need a box of tissue with this one!
Another GREAT book
by Ashley - reviewed on January 14, 2005
This is yet another GREAT book by Gerald Lund. I enjoyed this book very much it made me cry and laugh. I'm also very thankful for all that they did to come to Utah. If you would like to read yet another GREAT book by Gerald Lund and learn some of the pioneers history, you should read this book.
You don't have to have pioneer heritage to appreciate this
by Roberta - reviewed on January 07, 2010
I have no pioneer heritage like this, but after hearing & reading so many stories, I decided to read this before going on a trek in Wyoming with our stake youth. I found the book a fascinating read, the stories are amazing, and when on the trail, though it was summer, I tried to visualize the struggles they endured. The book helped me understand what they did & the hard conditions they endured. Being in many of the same places was amazing, & I appreciate those who endured, so much more, for the sacrifices made then.
A worthy successor to the Work and the Glory series
by Grant - reviewed on August 22, 2009
A wonderful way to join the handcart pioneers in their cahllenging journeys across the plains. The only disappointment was not getting to catch up with old friends the Steed family once the handcarts reached Salt Lake Valley.
This book opened my eyes
by Becky - reviewed on September 16, 2008
Before I read this book I thought those who were in these two companies where stupid to leave on their trek so late in the season. Learning of their faith and experiences in this fiction story really changed my mind. I loved it.
by Devey - reviewed on October 18, 2012
With family history research big on our plate right now, this book inspired me to keep going. It is a wonderful read, I did not want to put it down.
by Cynthia - reviewed on September 24, 2008
This is probably my favorite book! I loved it and would highly recommend it to everyone.
I was there the whole time with them; it was heart wrenching, but so uplifting.
by Sharyn - reviewed on January 04, 2009
Everyone should read this book. I know this story isn't new to anyone; but Brother Lund tells it so that you can feel that you are actually there going through each and every trial that those saints faced. I read the book in two days, because I couldn't put it down. I must agree with what he says at the beginning that the amazing part of this whole trek wasn't the vast amount of people who died along the trail; the amazing part was- how did ANYONE actually survive that and make it at all? Could I have had that much faith and kept going? I'm not sure.
A definite must-read!
by Jennifer - reviewed on October 22, 2010
My kids got this book for me for my birthday! I was a little skeptical because I don't usually read historical fiction. I decided I would give it a try though since I noticed that there was actual journal entries from members of the handcart companies where Lund drew his inspiration from at the end of each chapter. I am so glad that I decided to take the plunge... what a wonderful book! I too, couldn't put it down and learned such a tremendous amount about the trek across the plains...the rescue.. and the never-ending faith, hope and courage that existed among the early saints.
by Customer - reviewed on June 25, 2011
I read this in preparation for a being a Ma in a Pioneer Youth Trek and it was the best! I felt like I came to know the pioneers better. As we trekked for youth conference, experiences from the book came to mind for me to share with the youth. At one point on the cattle ranch where we trekked a herd of cattle ran across our path and I was able to tell the youth of the buffalo stampede that occurred to one of the handcart companies. Deep gratitude and love for those who went before was what I felt after reading this book.