Empire (Orson Scott Card's Empire Series #1)

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Overview

The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone.

The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the countryside. But the vast majority, who only want the killing to stop, and the nation to return to more ...

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Enter a brave new world and a high-stakes conflict in Orson Scott Card?s Empire

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New York, New York, U.S.A. 2006 H Hardcover New in J New jacket 1st ed/1st pr, SIGNED on title page by the AUTHOR. Book is perfect in every way--square, solid, unblemished, ... sharp tips, with a DJ in protactive mylar Brodart cover--you'll trumpet like a bull elephant once this book arrives at your door! ! ! Read more Show Less

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Overview

The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone.

The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the countryside. But the vast majority, who only want the killing to stop, and the nation to return to more peaceful days, have technology, weapons and strategic geniuses of their own.

When the American dream shatters into violence, who can hold the people and the government together? And which side will you be on?

Orson Scott Card is a master storyteller, who has earned millions of fans and reams of praise for his previous science fiction and fantasy novels. Now he steps a little closer to the present day with this chilling look at a near future scenario of a new American Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Inspired by video game developer Donald Mustard and the design team at Chair Entertainment -- who are creating a multi-format entertainment franchise revolving around a second American Civil War that includes a video game, comic book series, etc. -- Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Orson Scott Card's apocalyptic vision of this near-future conflict is as chillingly conceivable as is it downright disturbing. (In the novel's afterword, Card states that coming up with a plausible scenario for such an event to happen was "sadly enough, all too easy.")

In an America where "divisive, vicious, hate-filled rhetoric" has increasingly dominated elections, the rift between the left and the right has become unbridgeable -- and something has to give. When terrorists assassinate the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, and other officials in a masterfully coordinated attack, the country slips into chaos and rumors spread about a vast right-wing conspiracy. At the center of the pandemonium is Major Reuben Malich, a celebrated war hero who is being set up as the fall guy. But as Malich and his crew race to uncover the real conspirators, an elaborate scheme has already been put in motion -- one that will transform America into a true empire….

Equal parts apocalyptic thriller, militaristic science fiction adventure, and soul-chilling political cautionary tale, Card's Empire offers readers not only a glimpse of a possible war-torn future for the United States but also a hopeful preview at what could be: "a single society, linked together by a shared culture, a shared history, and a shared future." Regardless of political affiliation, this thought-provoking novel -- and especially the author's candid afterword -- will spur hours and hours of heated discussion among those who read it. Paul Goat Allen
Library Journal
Violent infighting has the American Empire on the brink of destruction in this look at a possible future. Simultaneous Tor hardcover. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“The ideal presentation of any book of mine is to have excellent actors perform it in audio format.”—Orson Scott Card from the afterword of Ender’s Game

“The folks at Audio Renaissance have quite literally brought greatness to the text. They’ve included an introduction and a postscript read by Card himself, both of which place the novel and the audiobook in its context as well as enlightening us to the author’s method of its construction. Multiple readers led by Stefan Rudnicki work perfectly to vocally illustrate each chapter, character and scene.”

Science Fiction and Fantasy on Ender’s Game (A Science Fiction and Fantasy Essential)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765316110
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Series: Orson Scott Card's Empire Series , #1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone sf and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.  Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.

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Read an Excerpt

Empire

Limited Edition - Leather Bound
By Card, Orson Scott

Tor Books

Copyright © 2006 Card, Orson Scott
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765318602

Chapter One

Captain Malich
 
Treason only matters when it is committed by trusted men.
 
 
The team of four Americans had been in the village for three months. Their mission was to build trust until they could acquire accurate information about the activities of a nearby warlord believed to be harboring some operatives of Al Qaeda.
 
All four soldiers were highly trained for their Special Ops assignment. Which meant that they understood a great deal about local agriculture and husbandry, trade, food storage, and other issues on which the survival and prosperity of the village depended. They had arrived with rudimentary skills in the pertinent languages, but now they were reasonably fluent in the language of the village.
 
The village girls were beginning to find occasions to walk near whatever project the American soldiers were working on. But the soldiers ignored them, and by now the parents of these girls knew they were safe enough--though that didn't stop them from rebuking the girls for their immodesty with men who were, after all, unbelievers and foreigners and dangerous men.
 
For these American soldiers had also been trained to kill--silently or noisily, close at hand or from a distance, individually or in groups, with weapons or without.
 
They had killed no one in front ofthese villagers, and in fact they had killed no one, ever, anywhere. Yet there was something about them, their alertness, the way they moved, that gave warning, the way a tiger gives warning simply by the fluidity of its movement and the alertness of its eyes.
 
There came a day that one of the villagers, a young man who had been away for a week, came home, and within a few minutes had told his news to the elder who, for lack of anyone better, was regarded by the villagers as the wisest counselor. He, in turn, brought the young man to the Americans.
 
The terrorists, he said, were building up a cache of weapons away to the southwest. The local warlord had not given his consent--in fact, he disapproved, but would not dare to intervene. "He would be as happy as anyone to be rid of these men. They frighten him as much as they frighten everyone else."
 
The young man was also, obviously, afraid.
 
The Americans got directions from him and strode out of the camp, following one of the trails the shepherds used.
 
When they were behind the first hill--though this "hill" in most other places would have been called a mountain--they stopped.
 
"It's a trap, of course," said one of the Americans.
 
"Yes," said the leader, a young captain named Reuben Malich. "But will they spring it when we reach the place where his directions would send us? Or when we return?"
 
In other words, as they all understood: Was the village part of the conspiracy or not? If it was, then the trap would be sprung far away.
 
But if the villagers had not betrayed them (except for the one young man), then in all likelihood the village was in as much danger as the Americans.
 
Captain Malich briefly discussed the possibilities with his team, so that by the time he gave his orders, they were all in complete agreement.
 
A few minutes later, using routes they had planned on the first day, before they ever entered the village, they crested the hill at four separate vantage points and spotted the armed men who had just entered the village and were taking up many of the positions surrounding it that the Americans had guessed they would use.
 
The Americans' plan, in the event of such an ambush, was to approach these positions with stealth and kill the enemy one by one, silently.
 
But now Captain Malich saw a scene playing out in the center of the village that he could not bear. For the old man had been brought out into the middle of the sunbaked dirt of the square, and a man with a sword was preparing to behead him.
 
Captain Malich did the calculations in his head. Protect your own force--that was a prime concern. But if it were the only priority, or the highest priority, nations would keep their armies at home and never commit them to battle at all.
 
The higher priority here was the mission. If the village sustained any casualties, they would not care that the Americans saved them from even more. They would only grieve that the Americans had ever come at all, bringing such tragedy with them. They would beg the Americans to leave, and hate them if they did not go.
 
Here were the terrorists, proving that they were, as suspected, operating in the area. This village had been a good choice. Which meant that it would be a terrible waste to lose the trust that had been built up.
 
Captain Malich took his own weapon and, adjusting wind and distance, took careful aim and killed the swordsman with a single shot.
 
The other three Americans understood immediately the change of plans. They took aim at the enemies who would be able to take cover most easily, and killed them. Then they settled down to shooting the others one by one.
 
Of course, the enemy were firing back. Captain Malich himself was hit, but his body armor easily dealt with a weapon fired at such long range. And as the enemy fire slackened, Malich counted the enemy dead and compared it to the number he had seen in the village, moving from building to building. He gave the hand signal that told the rest of his team that he was going in, and they shot at anyone who seemed to be getting into position to kill him as he descended the slope.
 
In only a few minutes, he was among the small buildings of the village. These walls would not stop bullets, and there were people cowering inside. So he did not expect to do a lot of shooting. This would be knife work.
 
He was good at knife work. He hadn't known until now how easy it was to kill another man. The adrenalin coursing through him pushed aside the part of his mind that might be bothered by the killing. All he thought of at this moment was what he needed to do, and what the enemy might do to stop him, and the knife merely released the tension for a moment, until he started looking for the next target.
 
By now his men were also in the village, doing their own variations on the same work. One of the soldiers encountered a terrorist who was holding a child as a hostage. There was no thought of negotiation. The American took aim instantly, fired, and the terrorist dropped dead with a bullet through his eye.
 
At the end, the sole surviving terrorist panicked. He ran to the center of the square, where many of the villagers were still cowering, and leveled his automatic weapon to mow them down.
 
The old man still had one last spring in his ancient legs, and he threw himself onto the automatic weapon as it went off.
 
Captain Malich was nearest to the terrorist and shot him dead. But the old man had taken a mortal wound. By the time Malich got to him, the old man gave one last shudder and died in a puddle of the blood that had poured from his abdomen where the two bullets tore him open.
 
Reuben Malich knelt over the body and cried out in the keening wail of deep grief, the anguish of a soul on fire. He tore open the shirt of his uniform and struck himself repeatedly on the chest. This was not part of his training. He had never seen anyone do such a thing, in any culture. Striking himself looked to his fellow soldiers like a kind of madness. But the surviving villagers joined him in grief, or watched him in awe.
 
Within moments he was back on the job, interrogating the abject young betrayer while the other soldiers explained to the villagers that this boy was not the enemy, just a frightened kid who had been coerced and lied to by the terrorists and did not deserve to be killed.
 
Six hours later, the terrorist base camp was pounded by American bombs; by noon the next day, it had been scoured to the last cave by American soldiers flown in by chopper.
 
Then they were all pulled out. The operation was a success. The Americans reported that they had suffered no casualties.
 
 
"From what one of your men told us," said the colonel, "we wonder if you might have made your decision to put your own men at risk by firing immediately, based on emotional involvement with the villagers."
 
"That's how I meant it to appear to the villagers," said Captain Malich. "If we allowed the village to take casualties before we were on the scene, I believe we would have lost their trust."
 
"And when you grieved over the body of the village headman?"
 
"Sir, I had to show him honor in a way they would understand, so that his heroic death became an asset to us instead of a liability."
 
"It was all acting?"
 
"None of it was acting," said Captain Malich. "All I did was permit it to be seen."
 
The colonel turned to the clerk. "All right, shut off the tape." Then, to Malich: "Good work, Major. You're on your way to New Jersey."
 
Which is how Reuben Malich learned he was a captain no more. As for New Jersey, he had no idea what he would do there, but at least he already spoke the language, and fewer people would be trying to kill him.
 
Copyright 2006 by Orson Scott Card. All rights reserved.


Continues...

Excerpted from Empire by Card, Orson Scott Copyright © 2006 by Card, Orson Scott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 98 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 98 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Disappointment abound

    Like many avid readers of science fiction, I enjoyed Ender's Game. In fact, I enjoyed nearly everything Card has written in the Enderverse. But this work was appalling. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I subscribed to Mr. Card's political standpoints, but I do not.

    It's unfortunate that such a well loved author would alienate such an important segment of his readership. I may be wrong, but I assumed most people who loved science fiction were more progressive than not. And this book is a demonization of progressives.

    I would have liked it better had Mr. Card used a pseudonym for this work, so honest lovers of science fiction, and not political commentary, would know to steer clear.

    And just so everyone knows, it brings me no pleasure to write a bad review for an author who once captured my imagination so completely.

    Ender's Game is still my favorite book.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A cautionary futuristic science fiction thriller

    The two extremes in the USA have reached a point of hatred that threatens the fiber of the country. Neither extremist group wants to compromise because they believe that makes them seem weak. The vast center prefers harmony, but they are considered expendable pawns by the right and the left who each assume the mantle of righteousness. In this divisive world of hate, the final blows occur almost simultaneously. Terrorists kill the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, and other VIPs leaving a chaotic nation without leaders. The right blames the left for being soft on Al Qaeda the Left blames the Right for failing to protect the infrastructure.------------- Major Reuben Malich was near White House when the rocket attack killed POTUS, and the Defense Secretary. Initially considered a hero for saving lives, soon Rube is accused of carrying out the assassination. With his new assistant Captain ¿Cole¿ Coleman and a few other trusted aides, Rube investigates and soon believes the recent assassinations is the first stage in a coup to turn America into a world dominating empire to outlast the five centuries of Rome. The 'Progressive Restoration' has begun as the second American Civil War has exploded into open hostilities.----------------- Extrapolating from the hatred that has divided the country, Orson Scott Card provides a cautionary futuristic science fiction thriller. The war seems a plausible outcome though the recent election controlled by the middle brings new hope that maybe we can get along. Readers will appreciate this powerful military thriller yet extremists on both sides will condemn Mr. Card for failing to take their opinion while missing the whole point of this strong thriller that either extreme could destroy the values of this country with their no compromise idealism.--------- Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    E is for effort, E is for Empire

    Ugh, what a terrible book. What happened to you Mr. Card, where did you go, and when did a crazy neo-con steal your soul and your body?

    I used to love Orson Scott Card. Seriously, when I was a kid I read every single one of his published books, even saints (despite the fact that I hated and continue to dislike the Mormon church). His books were subversive and unique. Even when he stole subject matter from other authors, he used the ideas in a new way and talked about something meaningful (see the Worthing Saga were he stole the idea of cryogenic sleep). His short stories are shocking and suggestive, in addition to being well written. Early in his career it seemed like he not only cared about what he was writing, but he cared about writing well.

    Now, I think he only cares about what he wants to say, and he doesn't care about disguising what he wants to say with a decent plot or well constructed characters.

    I remember Ender and Valentine and Mazer Rackham. They were intelligent, multi-dimensional and puzzling characters. The scenes from Ender's game where Ender is struggling with the morality game are truly provocative. The idea of a child being tricked into xenocide and then turning into a non-violent opposition leader are the definition of subversive.

    And it wasn't just Ender's Game. Take Hart's Hope, a obscure fantasy written by Card during his early period. In this book a poor young boy discovers a completely unique ability: in a world controlled by magic, he is a sink. Magic doesn't work on him, and he can make magic stop all around him. How subversive is that, magic as a metaphor for power and the main character as an opposition force to that power? Sounds like fantasy that could have been written in the sixties. Man.

    And then you've got the recent stuff by Orson Scott Card. The new parallel Ender series is garbage. I got to the third one (I think, the one before shadow of the Hegemon or giant or something crappy like that), and I gave up. The book was thinly veiled pro-life propaganda. Petra doesn't have any opinions except that killing babies is wrong. The characters read like cranky middle aged men, not 20 something men and women who are forced into "saving" the world.

    But this isn't a review for any of the Ender's Shadow books. This is a review of Empire, so I better start talking about Empire before this blog post gets too long. Oh wait it already is? Tough, all you three readers will have to suffer through it.

    Empire sucks. And aunt Susan, I blame this on you. You promised me it didn't suck. You said it was like the old Card, before he sold out Ender for money, before he turned into a talentless hack writer. You lied to me, your tenth favorite nephew. How could you?

    Finish reading the review at http://tickleishpickle.blogspot.com/2009/07/e-is-for-effort-e-is-for-empire.html

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    USA Into an Empire!!!!!!

    Yes it's a book about a very possible future, one that many great nations time and again have represented. Days of chaos followed by a sturdy rule that would extend the life of the nation for a few more centuries. Why can't such a thing happen in the united states as well? Read the book and you will not regret it.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Insiteful book full of parallels to current political situation

    Quite aread. Full of parallels to current politial situations. Exciting and every bit as gripping as his Ender novels. Card never disappoints.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2009

    Story for our times

    The book was a very fun read but left, in my opinon, one big hole at the end. The question of who killed the president and how was not fully explained. However, it does provide a very good look into a possible future. Lastly the cover art and words do imply a much wider war front that is seen in the book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2008

    good but not great

    i'm a long time card fan and have read almost all of his books and empire was as good as many of them. however, it wasn't on the level of ender's game, speaker for the dead, seventh son, or ender's shadow. but you can't write a new york time's bestseller every time. having said that, i think that empire was a book worth reading. it is heavily drenched in american politics of a few years ago, but the real story is driven by fair-minded characters. people have complained that card was too biased in this novel but i didn't get that impression at all. and if it feels too much like a video game it's because card was writing a novelization of a video game with the same name.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Great

    For a kid like me who doesn't care about politics it a great book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2011

    Don't bother

    Wow, I really expected more from Card (Ender's Game). This book has an absolutely ludicrous premise a weak plot and characters you won't end up caring about in the slightest.

    I really wouldn't bother, those who gave this more than a two are probably on Card's payroll.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Sorry I bought this book

    I bought and loved all of the "Ender" books, but I did not enjoy this book at all. I found the plot to be implausible and I did not care about the characters. I do not share Card's political views, nor would I recommend this book to anyone.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    Technical issues with E-book

    Ok Book so far.Too bad chapter 10 is missing from the digital download. If I could get any help from customer service I might be able to fix it but without a redownload option or any help after 1/2 hour listening to soft music on the phone I still don't have any info. If you don't want to headache don't buy this from B and N in this format.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Four stars

    So i reccomend getting the book, it amazingly depicts scenes settings and plots that just run rampant in your mind, BUT most people will not mention it is a sequal to enders game. John paul (j.p.) is the name of the wiggins father. Anotherbut though, four stars because i feel it is a thinly veiled attack on the left wing side of a political standpoint. Also lots of untied knots at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2011

    BRILLIANT!

    Being a fan of Orson Scott Card's, my expectations for this book were very high. Once again, Card has far surpassed my expectations! I would love to write a twenty page review complimenting Card's masterpiece, but I don't want to give anything away. Instead, I will just say this :

    READ IT. =)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2010

    A tremendously provocative read! Card's creativity never ceases to amaze.

    Another outstanding and creative read by Card! Let's hope his fiction remains fiction and not prophecy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2008

    A biased but interesting novel

    There is indeed right-wing slant in the novel, and this title, as Card's first thriller it cannot compete with the classic ones like Tom Clancy/Michael Critchton. But it is still an interesting novel with good imagination. Go read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2008

    Stay Away

    I've long know that Card is a conservative, but his political views never seemed to impinge on his fine, thoughtful, and exciting writing before this book. Not only is the writing simplistic and the main characters stereotypical and not fleshed out, but the rightwing slant in a book purportedly about the moderate majority stopping a left/right civil war is so heavy handed it is far more than a distraction.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2008

    Write What You Know ... Or Know What You Write

    Orson Scott Card is a prolific and talented writer of science fiction, and has deservedly gained a legion of fans. With Empire, he left science fiction to write a futuristic thriller, which is a very different animal. Empire had to be written according to the guidelines for a thriller, and the results were mixed. A futuristic thriller must be consistent with current social and technology trends while making a plausible projection into the future, the story must unfold at a fast pace, the lead characters must be strong and dangerous, there should be plenty of action and suspense, and it must be 'pardon the phrase' fair and balanced. OSC succeeds to varying degrees in most areas. Empire postulates that partisanship between the political Right and Left has gone much too far, leading to the beginning of a new American civil war. An interesting theme, and OSC moves the story along at a good pace with plenty of action. The characters are realistic, if a little too familiar. The giant, robotic-like weapons, however, are pretty standard stuff more imaginative weapons would have energized the storytelling. The critical flaw is that the story is not fair and balanced the conservatives wear the white hats while the liberals are almost all black hat dudes. This is exactly the kind of packaging that OSC warns us against. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth, and we are all mixtures of wholesome and unattractive characteristics and beliefs. Readers can enjoy a story that doesn't precisely fit their view of life if they feel the author has presented a balanced perspective. Empire failed here. For me, this flaw dragged down a pretty good futuristic thriller to the level of a made for TV movie.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2008

    A reviewer

    I thought that this work was just not very good. I have read other books by card and this one is just not one of his better works. I guess you can't write a hit every time. Hopefully his next effort will be better.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    Eve of Destruction

    The pacing isn't bad, but the characters are rather thinly drawn and never quite stir within us the care and concern for them that Card's Ender books accomplish. This may be the inevitable result of this story beginning and resolving in such a short span of time-- another flaw. There is nothing here about the build up of the national mood, the difficulties, the thinking and feeling on both sides there's no prelude. This may have functioned better as a short story. At the very least it could have benefited from a good deal of preliminary material, as I would expect a book about a second American civil war would have. Without a proper prelude, the suspense is muted, and Card relies too much on the average reader's knowledge of somewhat obscure allusions and references within politics and the popular culture to drive the story forward. Inexplicably, Card almost completely ignores the role that the media would have in such a conflagration. The role the media have within our culture must be told when looking over the historical precipice. In this story, the media landscape is strikingly barren. This is not to say there isn't a surprise or two. But this action-thriller will be less than satisfying to most. Card is a great writer. But I think the story of the culture wars leading to a second American civil war could be better presented, perhaps, by someone else. Some conservatives may like this book. But liberals will howl about its 'unfair and unbalanced' approach to some of the most critical issues and people of our day.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    What a farce

    I liked a trilogy of Orson Scott Card's and the premise in 'Empire' sounded interesting. But politics in the US has changed a lot just since he finished the book in 2006. And he didn't even have things quite straight for 2006! Card's pivotal character, A. Tennant, is the best thing in the book, and yet he is not fully realized. Just maddening hints at his true character and intentions. He is revealed in the early pages of the book as the genius with an obsession about how empires emerge. The other characters are smart, good-hearted, but so one dimensional that they can be manipulated endlessly. Many unanswered questions. The battle scenes were so obviously like a video game. Is that what literature is sinking to? Just super good guys and super bad guys with space-age weapons? The novel is doomed by Card's didacticism and his woeful mischaracterizations of progressives as well as conservatives. Michael Crighton's 'State of Fear', trying to discredit the science behind global warming, failed for the same reason. Both these fine, seasoned writers come off looking foolish. The divide between the two ideologies is very real, very old and very firmly imbedded in the minds and hearts of American culture. Card relied on sterotypes invented by the Mainstream Media and internet blogs. He needs to research more widely and be open to our vast diversity created by our centuries of free thinking. In 2006 and still today, the Corporate-owned Media are worthless as honest news sources and are mere toole of their bosses, who also control the government, regardless of party labels, with a few brave individual exceptions. Card's notion of the major intellectual institutions being dominated by the far left is not true today, if it ever was. The novel paints a false picture. There is no way Progressives 'aka liberals' would mount such a ridiculous 'coup'. Progressives are much too disorganized and anti-authoritarian to pull that off. They love to talk, not fight. The deep divide is not Red State/Blue State invented by the Media. And Card is right that it's not geographically based. It's not even urban vs. rural. It's super-capitalists run amuck 'all over the world' versus everybody else! But the catch-22 is a dirty little secret. The rest of us are also capitalists at heart - with a love of cars, clothes, fancy homes and stock holdings 'or the desire to have them' just like the obscenely wealthy CEOs we despise. Just a matter of degree. There is a growing movement to reject such materialistic values, however. Those people are the true progressives. There are many differences between 'left' and 'right' but the basic defining ones are hard-wired into each of us. Progressives are just that: They look forward with optimism to change. They see group consensus as a more effective way to solve problems. Conservatives prefer the status quo or at least - slow, controlled change. They value individualism more than community when the two are in conflict. They like the order and security of a hierarchical system of authority. And here's the clincher: Almost everyone has some of both progressive AND conservative in his or her view of the ideal society. If there's a real civil war in our future, it will be like a huge boil that bursts open. It will be chaos, the 'rebels' will be the desperate poor, and it will be a genocide. No, there will be no civil war with two sides having at it. The American Empire exists today. Everything is in place for the emperor. The Constitution has been already marginalized. But more likely, the USA will collapse of its own weight or something totally unpredictable will happen. It is fun to speculate, tho, isn't it?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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