The Fourth Nephite (Hardcover)
Busted. Football star Kaleo Steele is caught under the high school bleachers with the wrong group of friends. Even worse, he's caught by his seminary teacher, Brother Mortensen. If Kaleo gets turned in, he'll be in jeopardy of missing the regional championship game.
It doesn't help that Kaleo has been cutting seminary class. But what's the point? Mumbo jumbo stories about angels and gold plates and Joseph Smith? Brother Mortensen decides Kaleo is ready for an extraordinary “field trip” — one that could alter the course of his life and his heart.
Reluctantly, Kaleo meets with Ladan — a mysterious old blind man — and unknowingly begins a quest through time, landing in Palmyra, New York, in the fall of 1827.
Soon, Kaleo and a nineteenth-century girl named Jennie are caught up in a battle between treasure seekers — led by Alistair Blackburn, a necromancer hired to steal the gold plates — and the young Joseph Smith, who has sworn to keep them safe.
In his quest to find a key that will send him back to his own time, Kaleo will have to decide for himself what to believe and who to trust. Before it's too late.\r\r
Note from the Publisher:
As a publisher I_ã_m always bringing home books for my children to read. I have a 14-year-old son who is not particularly fond of “church” books. I finally convinced him to read The Fourth Nephite. He was determined not to like it. A few days later my wife called and told me that this son of ours was telling her how much he was enjoying the book. (I don_ã_t think he would_ã_ve admitted that to me). Anyway, the next day I asked him if he was still enjoying it and he being “Mr. Cool” casually said that he was enjoying it. But here_ã_s the real surprise. Last Sunday during fast and testimony meeting my 14-year-old got up on his own to bear his testimony. This hasn_ã_t happened in years. He_ã_s too “cool” to bear his testimony in public or so we thought. He then began to bear a powerful testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, how he risked his life to protect and translate the gold plates, and how the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the word of God. I was stunned and saw my wife wiping tears from her eyes. There is something powerful in the pages of The Fourth Nephite. I think the fact that the author uses the very words of Joseph Smith creates a powerful spirit that even a 14-year-old boy can_ã_t deny. I hope your children and grandchildren have similar experiences.
— Chris Schoebinger
- Size: 6" x 9"
- Pages: 263
- Published: 2010
- Book on CD: Unabridged
- Number of discs: 5
- Running Time: 6.5 hours
About the Author
Jeffrey S. Savage is the best-selling author of the techno- thriller Cutting Edge. He, and his wife, and their four children recently moved from San Jose, CA, to Spanish Fork, UT.
Friday’s after-school practice was less than an hour—mostly film recap of Freedom High’s last two games and a brief review of a couple of trick plays we might have to use if Saturday’s score was tight. We’d only lost one game all year, and even that was on a last-second defensive lapse. The Eagles were tough, but if we got past them, West was supposed to be a piece of cake. Coach wouldn’t say it, but I knew his mind was on a state championship.
Walking from the locker room out to the snow-covered parking lot, my mind was on the scouts from Michigan and UCLA who were going to be at the game. I was pretty amped up. Technically, the scouts were there to see both teams, but both schools had asked me to sign a letter of intent, even though I was still a junior. If I played well tomorrow I could count on a full-ride scholarship to either of them.
“Steele,” a voice called as I stepped into the icy air. A hand big enough to smash my skull dropped onto my shoulder.
Have you ever seen a rhinoceros up close in a zoo? It’s like standing face to face with Mother Nature’s version of a Sherman tank. Even though the animal is locked safely behind bars, you get the feeling that if it decided to throw all five thousand pounds of armored muscle at the cage, nothing could stop it from trampling you flat.
“Crush” Carlton was Copper Hills High’s rhino—two hundred and eighty pounds of pure nasty. His blocking was half the reason Jeff Greene, our senior quarterback, had connected with me for nearly three touchdowns a game this season. He’d also managed to send five defensive linemen off the field with assorted injuries.
“Careful where you put that thing,” I said, mostly joking as he squeezed my arm.
“Only on the Eagles,” Crush said, smacking a beefy fist into his palm with a grin that made me glad I was on his side of the line. His breath plumed in the cold air. “A few of us are going to have a little party. Get psyched up before the game. You in?”
I shook my head. “Sorry, bro. No can do. I want to get to bed early tonight.” Living in Utah, most of the guys on the team were Mormon, and a lot of them harassed me about not planning on a mission. Crush was one of the few guys who didn’t seem to care one way or the other. I liked that about him, but his “parties” often got a little crazy, and the last thing I needed was to get in trouble the night before the game of my life.
“Figured you’d say that.” His eyes gleamed. “You really think Michigan’s gonna be at the game?”
“That’s what the rumor is.” I played it cool, not admitting I knew it for a fact, because the scouts for both Michigan and UCLA had let me know personally that they’d be watching me.
“Man, what I wouldn’t give to play for a school like that,” Crush said. He was a brute on the field, but kind of a head case everywhere else. More than likely he’d end up with a smaller college or maybe a JC unless he cleaned up his act.
“Plant their nose guard into the turf a couple of times, and who knows?” I said.
“Yeah . . .” He gazed out at the field—cleared of snow and ready for the game—and I took the chance to jog toward my car, hoping he’d forget why he’d started talking with me in the first place.
No such luck.
“About the party,” he said before I got more than a few steps away. “Knew you and Greene wouldn’t want to stay up late, so guess what?”
I shook my head, knowing I wouldn’t like whatever he had to say.
“We’re having it right here—behind the bleachers on the other side of the field.”
Behind the bleachers. I knew what kind of party that meant. Someone had talked an adult into buying them beers. Probably cigars too. Crush’s idea of luxury was a cold beer in his hand and a cheap cigar stuck in his mouth—although I’d never actually seen him smoking. “Sorry, dude. My mom will kill me if I don’t come straight home,” I said. It was the truth.
“Come on, man.” He caught up with me, leaned close to my ear, and whispered, “We invited some of the cheerleaders. But they won’t come unless you and Greene are there.”
“Greene’s going?” I asked, turning around. Jeff Greene was Mormon too. In my ward, in fact. Although neither of us was what you’d call very active. We occasionally cut out of Sunday School when our parents weren’t watching and went for doughnuts. As far as I knew, Jeff wasn’t any more of a partier than I was, so I was surprised to hear he was coming.
“Sure.” Crush beamed. “Told him it wouldn’t be right for the star quarterback to dis the guys who are keeping him in one piece tomorrow.”
That changed things a little. I could get by with blowing off Crush and whatever other guys he dragged with him. They’d probably get so drunk they wouldn’t remember whether I’d been there or not. But Greene was my bread and butter. If he was going, I should at least stop by.
“You’re sure Jeff will be there?”
Crush grinned again, knowing he had me. “Kaleo, my man, would I lie to the guy who’s going to take us to state?”
The next thing I knew, I was heading reluctantly across the field with Crush and a few of his buddies. Sure enough, I spotted Greene a few yards away—although he didn’t look any more excited than I. It was probably the cheerleaders that did it. I hadn’t heard of Jeff drinking, but he was definitely a ladies’ man.
I glanced back over my shoulder, hoping the rest of the team hadn’t seen where I was headed. That was another thing about living in Utah. Most of the other guys on the team were good Mormons—going to seminary, reading their scriptures, planning on serving missions. The last thing I needed was for them to spot me hanging out with guys like Crush.
“Surprised to see you partying the day before you make the college scouts true believers,” Jeff said as we crossed the fifty-yard line.
“Same with you,” I said. Greene and I were both hoping to make it to the pros one day—him with his arm, and me with my speed and hands. We were tight on the field and friends off of it, but that didn’t keep us from being competitive every chance we got.
“Wasn’t going to,” Jeff grinned. “How could I say no when Crush told me you were coming to support the line?”
“Wait, he told you . . . ?” I looked at Crush and his buds—who all had suspicious lumps hidden beneath their letterman jackets—and kicked at a clump of ice that somehow hadn’t been cleared. “I think we’ve been set up.”
By then we’d reached the bleachers. Someone had cleared the snow from a patch of winter-brown grass out of sight of the school and the parking lot. A bunch of five-gallon buckets turned upside down provided chairs, and just as Crush had said, a handful of varsity cheerleaders were standing around nervously, hands tucked in their jacket pockets.
Despite the cold, they were all wearing their cheer outfits. I never understood how they stayed warm in those skirts. Maybe they were just a lot tougher than us jocks. I’d be complaining up a storm if I had to stand around in something like that with the snow blowing up off the cold field.
“Hey guys!” a cute senior with long blonde hair squealed.
“She’s talking to you, Kaleo,” Greene said, elbowing me in the ribs.
I shook my head. He was the babe magnet. I liked girls just fine, and as a football player I’d had plenty of chances to go out on dates. But being raised in a house full of boys, I’d never had a sister to teach me how to act around girls. “All yours,” I said, wondering why I was even there.
Jamming my hands into my jacket, I found an empty bucket and sat down. Somebody threw a couple pieces of wood into a cut-off metal barrel that reminded me of the ones we used at Scout camp, and got a smoky fire going. I should have known Crush was working me. Now I just had to figure out how quickly I could make my escape without anyone noticing.
“Mind if I sit with you?” asked a soft voice. It was the girl who’d said hi earlier. I thought her name was Tanya or Tammy, something that started with a T. She looked cold—and yeah, kind of cute too.
Immediately my heart began beating way too fast, and my mouth went dry. “Sure, I guess,” I mumbled, wondering how we were both going to balance on the top of a five-gallon bucket.
That turned out not to be a problem. She plopped onto my knees with a grin. Why is it that I can face a two-hundred pound defensive back with no problem, but the minute I find myself face to face with a hundred pound girl, my entire body breaks into an icy sweat? It didn’t help that she leaned against me, her head almost resting on my shoulder.
As usual, I found myself sitting silently with absolutely no idea what to say. The more I tried to think of something interesting, the more stupid I sounded inside my head. The only thing that saved me from making a total fool of myself was Crush showing up with his arms around a pair of cheerleaders. Clearly he had no problem talking to girls.
“Looks like you and Terri are getting comfortable,” he said.
Terri, I reminded myself.
“Got something for you two,” Crush said. A huge brown cigar jutted from the corner of his mouth, bouncing up and down as he spoke. I’m sure he thought it made him look cool, but to me he looked like a total flake. Taking his arm from around one of the girls, he slipped a hand into his jacket and pulled out a couple of beer bottles from an inside pocket. “To a total beat down of the Eagles tomorrow.”
Before I could tell Crush I wasn’t drinking, Terri took the bottles. “Cheers,” she said with a toothy grin. One at a time, she twisted open the tops. Taking a swallow from one of the bottles, she held the other out to me.
I’d like to say I turned her down. That I realized I was crazy for coming to Crush’s party in the first place, left Terri with the rest of the group, and went back to my car. That ten minutes later I was safe at home reading over my playbook and smelling the aroma of roasting pork for the feast my mom served after every game.
But that didn’t happen. Maybe it was the way Terri’s deep green eyes messed with my head. Maybe it was the way no one else seemed to have a problem with what they were doing. I could swear my mind was saying no, but somehow my hand ended up taking the bottle.
Would I have joined the rest of them in drinking and joking? I’ll probably never know, because at that moment everyone went absolutely silent. All heads turned toward the end of the bleachers where a man in a dark suit and a long gray coat was watching us. There were at least a dozen kids around me, but the man’s eyes went straight to mine with laser beam accuracy. I felt all the blood leave my face.
It was my seminary teacher.
The first thing I felt seeing Brother Mortensen standing in the gloom of the bleachers was embarrassment. I wanted to sink into the ground and stay there forever. The second thing was denial. I hadn’t meant to come here. I didn’t actually drink anything. It was just a dumb mistake. Then I realized what this could mean to my coach, my team, my chance to impress the college scouts. Finally it occurred to me I’d have to explain to my mom what I’d been doing. That’s when embarrassment and denial turned to total, all-out panic.
Enjoyed it lots!
by Roberta - reviewed on August 02, 2010
Kaleo Steele makes a poor choice witnessed by his seminary teacher, Brother Mortensen. Worried about being kicked off the squad and missing the big football game next day, if he's found out, he tries to convince Brother Mortensen to keep it quiet but Brother Mortensen leaves it in Kaleo's hands to report himself. Then, angry, Kaleo tries to justify himself and declares his disbelief of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith, after all, the stories are just made up tales, and couldn't possibly be true. So Brother Mortensen makes him a deal, one that will change Kaleo's life. It leads him to meet a special man named Ladan. And the adventure begins. Without realizing it, Kaleo is sent back into time. Into the time of the prophet Joseph Smith, just as he is about to receive the gold plates. What an experience it is as it allows him to be part of the process, during the time of persecution, and bad-mouthing of and attempts on the lives of the prophet and his family. He meets people he only vaguely remembers from his scant reading and study of the Book of Mormon. He hears and sees things he thought couldn't possibly be true. And he is learning that perhaps he ought to rethink his thinking. This story is much like "likening" the scriptures to oneself as it lets you (Kaleo) be a part of the events, witnessing in a sense what is happening when it happens, feeling the feelings...the joy, frustrations, temptations and fears as the early days of the restoration of the gospel unfold. This is a great story for young people, or anyone, to understand just a bit more of what it was like during those times. It is interesting, quick paced, with a bit of mystery and danger in each chapter. A very good read
A must-read for LDS youth
by Heather - reviewed on August 25, 2010
A story of a Mormon teenager, Kaleo Steele, who is about to play the biggest football game of his high school career. College scouts will be in the stands, watching and deciding if Kaleo is good enough for a scholarship. But the night before the game, he gets invited to an after-school party, where some temptations seem too hard to resist. When his seminary teacher catches him doing something that jeopardizes Kaleo’s ability to play in the football game, they strike a bargain--a bargain that will change Kaleo's life in remarkable ways. The Fourth Nephite gave me a fascinating insight into the life of the prophet Joseph Smith as a young man. When Kaleo enters a time portal and finds himself right in the middle of the controversy surrounding the unearthing of the gold plates, I was caught up in the vibrant word created by Savage. I found myself looking at the life of the prophet through different eyes, and thinking about the incredible courage he had. Some of Kaleo’s questions about the gospel have been mine at one time or another, and I loved the way that Savage unobtrusively guided the learning curve that Kaleo went through. Great research, an exciting plotline, and superb storytelling combine into a book worth every minute. I’m now reading it for a second time with my teens.
Fascinating and Faith Building
by Heather - reviewed on November 10, 2010
4.5 stars Every once in a while a book takes me completely by surprise and I close the pages with a smile on my face. The Fourth Nephite Series is one I now have my eye on, awaiting book two. Here are a few of the many reasons I loved the first book, The Fourth Nephite: 1) The cover. The top half of the front page is gold metallic paper with rusty holes, like the golden plates and the rest of the cover illustration is perfect. 2) The author. I have met Jeffrey and his wife and two book signings and decided it was time to read his books. They are wonderful people who sit together at their booths and engage fans. 3) The scenes are places I'm familiar with. It's fun to hear of tunnels beneath Salt Lake City and travel back in time to the thick woods of Palmyra where we visited as a youth and an adult. 4) The message is positive and interesting for both teenagers and adults. Common questions and doubts about the early history of the Mormon church are answered through Kaleo's adventures. He learns that knowledge and faith must work together as a key. 5) The author's notes were my favorite part of The Fourth Nephite. I love that Jeff uses real historical facts and names in his scenes. I wish he would have written more. When Joseph Smith speaks his own story to Kaleo, endnotes or footnotes would be a useful reference for teens or others not familiar with his quoted words. 6) The writing mixes fantasy with reality in a tasteful way. I am one who usually runs far far away from series like this. But I was drawn in to Jeffrey's writing, his characters and the quest of Kaleo. I will be reading the entire series and one day when my children are a little older we'll read it together. 7) The journalistic pages written at the beginning of each chapter by main hero Kaleo bring us back to the present thoughts of an every day average teenager and show the changes in his personality as he learns the truth for himself as a first hand witness. Well done Jeffrey Savage!
by Alethea - reviewed on August 03, 2010
This is a great story. I like how the author has Kaleo go back in time to meet Joseph Smith. I especially like the way real events was played into the story that helped Kaleo to have a stronger testimony of The Book Of Mormon. As I was reading this I could imagine the events happening. This is an easy book to read. I would recommend this book for teenagers and older. I enjoyed reading The Fourth Nephite and am looking forward for the next volume.
LOVED THIS STORY
by Jennifer - reviewed on September 14, 2010
I enjoyed this book so much and would encourage anyone with teenagers to buy this and have them read it. It is a testimony building adventure.
by Melinda - reviewed on January 22, 2011
This book is a great way to get teens, and others to explore thier own testimonies regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I really enjoyed how the author allowed the reader, through the character of Kaleo, to visit the myths and truths surrounding the protection of the plates.
it is now one of my favorite books!!!!! you must read it !!!!
by Customer - reviewed on January 02, 2011
This book is great for teens, i'm 12 and i reall enjoyed it! i'm so glad that my mom got this for me and i hope that there will be another! If you like Harry Potter, Narnia, Fablehaven etc. you will definately LOVE this!
by Rebecca - reviewed on December 26, 2010
while kaleo has already doubted what he's grown up knowing, I was just starting to. Even though this was his journey and not mine, it brought an end to the seemingly endless tunnel i was in. The book made me want to go to church and listen to the lessons about ancient and latter day prophets,
by Jenice - reviewed on February 18, 2013
I really enjoyed this book and I know my grandchildren will too. I liked the characters in the story I can't wait to read a sequel. I hope there will be one. I know young adults would love this story but this 51 year old grandma loved it as well.