If you like Book of Mormon fiction, you'll love this book. If you've never tried it before - this is a great place to start. Alma the Younger takes place about 20 years after the second book, Alma, and the story lines are not closely tied together. So if you haven't read the first two yet, you can just dive right in to Alma the Younger. (Although you'll probably want to get a hold of the others soon, because you'll love them too.)
I've read the story directly from the Book of Mormon (several times, in fact), but I've never connected with it the way I did in Moore's telling. Immediately after finishing Alma the Younger I opened my own Book of Mormon and read the account again. This time it really meant something to me.
While Alma the Younger is a work of fiction, H.B. Moore's knowledge of the Book of Mormon and the people's culture brings the story to life in a way that connects with the reader. She takes facts from the Book of Mormon and weaves them together with fictional characters, powerful emotion, and a well written storyline.
Before I even got started on the novel, I was impressed with the message H.B. Moore delivered in the Preface:
...The question is whether Alma the Younger knew that what he was doing was wrong. Or had he been so carefully led by Satan down the path of idolatry, and an anti-Christ pattern of belief, that he truly believed he was in the right?
Another question we might entertain is how Alma the Younger could exert so much influence over people as to lead them astray from the church. The record tells us that he did "speak much flattery to the people" (Mosiah 27:8). He must have been a natural leader, charismatic and easily loved by people, with the power to persuade. His influence nearly toppled the Church in Zarahemla as he stole "away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension" (v9), so his preaching was no small thing.
In studying Mosiah 26-28, I was struck with the idea that Alma the Younger was no rebellious teenager, playing pranks or skipping Sabbath meetings to go fishing or hunting...
A final question we might ask is why the Lord saw fit to send an angel to intervene in Alma the Younger's behalf. Yes, his father and many others had been praying and fasting for him to have a change of heart. But there are many parents who pray for their errant children and angels aren't sent. This led me to believe that what Alma the Younger was doing had such grave consequences and the potential to devastate an entire nation - thus thwarting the Lord's plan - that extreme action was needed.
Alma the Younger is a great reminder of Heavenly Father's promise that through sincere repentance, all men can be forgiven, and with that forgiveness they will find a peace and joy they never knew they were missing.