Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow Series #1)

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Overview

A companion novel to the beloved, bestselling science fiction classic Ender?s Game by Orson Scott Card, a major motion picture event in November 2013

If Julian Delphiki, known as ?Bean,? has learned anything from living on the streets, it?s how to survive. And not with fists?he is too small for that?but with brains.

Bean is a genius with a magician?s ability to zero in on his enemy and exploit his ...

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Overview

A companion novel to the beloved, bestselling science fiction classic Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, a major motion picture event in November 2013

If Julian Delphiki, known as “Bean,” has learned anything from living on the streets, it’s how to survive. And not with fists—he is too small for that—but with brains.

Bean is a genius with a magician’s ability to zero in on his enemy and exploit his weakness. What could be a better quality in a future general to lead Earth in a final climactic battle against a hostile alien race?

Recruited for Battle School, a military installation designed to select and train children as future officers in the International Fleet, Bean meets Ender Wiggin: soon to become his best friend, and his greatest rival….

Readers can revisit the events of Ender’s Game through the eyes of Bean in this companion or parallel novel. Readers who have not read Ender’s Game will want to read it as soon as they finish Ender’s Shadow. As Orson Scott Card says, “these two books complement and fulfill each other.”

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Orson Scott Card's Ender Wiggin saga began more than 20 years ago with the publication of "Ender's Game," a novella that formed the basis for the enormously popular novel of the same name, which was followed, in turn, by three increasingly ambitious sequels: Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. Now Card returns to the source material of the series with Ender's Shadow, a "parallel novel" that recapitulates the central events of Ender's Game from a new, and very different, perspective.

Ender's Game, first published in novel form in 1985, describes the relentlessly brutal education of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a preadolescent military genius believed to be humankind's last, best hope against the anticipated invasion of an insectile race of aliens called the Formics. As the novel opens, the Formics — popularly known as "the Buggers" — have already made two unsuccessful attempts to conquer and colonize Earth, and xenophobia now runs rampant, temporarily uniting a wide range of political and ideological factions. Ender, together with a handpicked group of gifted, if slightly less brilliant children, is conscripted and sent to a remote space station called the Battle School, where he participates in a series of war games that prepare him, by the age of 9, for the responsibilities of military command. Eventually, the games turn real, and Ender leads his youthful forces to a bitter and ironic "victory" over the Buggers. His chief lieutenant in the final series of battles — his shadow — is a brilliant,abrasive,undersize child known, simply, as Bean. Bean is both the hero and the focal point of Card's latest novel. Through him, we reexperience — and sometimes reinterpret — a familiar series of events.

Obviously, large areas of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow — the military training sequences, the climactic battles with the Buggers — overlap, and the overlapping scenes reflect and illuminate each other in unexpected ways.

In the end, though, Ender's Shadow is a good deal more than a revisionist rendering of the earlier book. By focusing so intensely on Bean — on his history; his personality; his bizarre, unprecedented origins — Card moves his story into fresh fictional territory. As a result, Ender's Shadow steps outside the frame of its predecessor's concerns to become a meditation on survival, on alienation, on the nature of genius, on what it really means to be "human."

By the age of 4, Bean — who has no known surname — is a battle-scarred survivor whose character has been formed on the streets of Rotterdam. Homeless and alone, he makes a place for himself in a street gang/family that is run by a homicidal opportunist named Achilles. Eventually, Bean comes to the attention of Sister Carlotta, a Roman Catholic nun who is also a talent spotter for a military coalition called the International Federation. Sister Carlotta immediately recognizes Bean's immense, virtually unmeasurable intellect and recommends him to the leaders of the Battle School. At the same time, she begins to investigate Bean's shadowy background and discovers that her protégé is the sole survivor of an illegal experiment in genetic engineering and that his intellect has been purchased at an enormous, ultimately tragic, price.

As Bean progresses, with astonishing speed, through the various stages of Battle School, a single question begins to dominate the text: Is Bean, by commonly accepted standards, human? Or is he something different, something genuinely — and frighteningly — new? As the narrative proceeds, and the larger events of the novel move inexorably toward their xenocidal conclusion, Card's own position on the question becomes clear. With great skill and compassion, he shows us the process by which Bean develops his dormant capacity for empathy, slowly evolving from an autonomous, prodigiously analytical creature governed by Darwinian survival instincts into a child capable of connecting with the larger human community.

Bean's gradual discovery of his own humanity stands very much at the center of this moving, unsentimental examination of children robbed of their childhoods in the name of a greater good. It should be considered required reading for anyone familiar with the previous volumes of the Ender saga, but it can — and no doubt will — be read by people utterly unfamiliar with Card's earlier work. Ender's Shadow is a humane, involving narrative that asks hard questions and successfully revisits old, familiar settings but finds, against all odds, something new to say. It deserves the popularity it is almost certain to achieve.

—Bill Sheehan

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. He is currently working on a book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub.

From the Publisher

Praise for Ender’s Shadow

 
“The wonders of Battle School and flash suits and children’s armies should keep readers turning pages.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The author’s superb storytelling and his genuine insight into the moral dilemmas that lead good people to commit questionable actions make this title a priority purchase for most libraries.”
Library Journal

 

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
You can't step into the same river twice, but Card has gracefully dipped twice into the same inkwell--once for Ender's Game and again for this stand-alone "parallel novel." The course readers will follow this time is of the superhuman child Bean. Raised on streets ruled by starving children's gangs, he was too weak, at age four, to hold peanuts in his hand, but ingenious enough to trick the other children into civilizing themselves--and to keep himself alive. When his genius and uncanny understanding of individuals' motivations are discovered, he is sent to Battle School, where children learn to command fleets for the war with the alien Buggers--the smallest kid ever to do so. Bean is not as perfect as Ender Wiggin--hero of the Ender Quartet, begun with Ender's Game and concluded with Children of the Mind--but he becomes Ender's ally. Though Bean is cold at first, the kind of child who weighs the costs of hugging the nun who saved him from the streets, he wants to understand the respect and love that Ender wields. Thus, Bean's story is twofold: he learns to be a soldier, and to be human. Devotees of the Ender saga will delight in the revelations about the formation of Ender's Dragon army and about the last of Ender's games. Though newcomers to the series may miss many of the novel's points, the wonders of Battle School and flashsuits and children's armies should keep them turning pages. As always, everyone will be struck by the power of Card's children, always more and less than human, perfect yet struggling, tragic yet hopeful, wondrous and strange. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
The streets of Rotterdam are hell on Earth for the homeless children who live there surrounded by violence and hunger. In this milieu lives a small boy on the verge of starvation. He is called Bean and he survives because of his genius and his ability to manipulate some of the other children. His ability is noticed by Sister Carlotta, a nun looking for a child who will be able to help save Earth from alien invasion. Bean is taken to the space station that serves as Battle School. There he becomes known as a genius at military strategy. He is still small and very young but is assigned to Ender Wiggin's Dragon Army. Bean figures out the truth behind the war games the young armies play: they are actually directing the real battle taking place light years away. Between Ender and Bean they may be able to defeat the alien queen. Ender's Shadow covers the same time period as Ender's Game. It is not a sequel; it tells the same story from a different point of view. There are many exciting twists, turns and subplots and Card manages them all adroitly. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Tor, 467p, 18cm, $6.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Susan E. Chmurynsky; Media Spec. E., Kentwood Freshman Campus, Kentwood, MI, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
Greg L. Johnson
..a novel whose author took a chance and produced a book that is both a worthy experiment and enjoyable story. There's nothing wrong with that, and quite a bit that is right.
The New York Review of Science Fiction
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765374714
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Series: Ender's Shadow Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 39,733
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card

ORSON SCOTT CARD is the author of the international bestsellers Shadow of the Giant, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Ender's Shadow, and of the beloved classic of science fiction, Ender's Game, as well as the acclaimed fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Biography

Any discussion of Orson Scott Card's work must necessarily begin with religion. A devout Mormon, Card believes in imparting moral lessons through his fiction, a stance that sometimes creates controversy on both sides of the fence. Some Mormons have objected to the violence in his books as being antithetical to the Mormon message, while his conservative political activism has gotten him into hot water with liberal readers.

Whether you agree with his personal views or not, Card's fiction can be enjoyed on many different levels. And with the amount of work he's produced, there is something to fit the tastes of readers of all ages and stripes. Averaging two novels a year since 1979, Card has also managed to find the time to write hundreds of audio plays and short stories, several stage plays, a television series concept, and a screenplay of his classic novel Ender's Game. In addition to his science fiction and fantasy novels, he has also written contemporary fiction, religious, and nonfiction works.

Card's novel that has arguably had the biggest impact is 1985's Hugo and Nebula award-winner Ender's Game. Ender's Game introduced readers to Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a young genius faced with the task of saving the Earth. Ender's Game is that rare work of fiction that strikes a chord with adults and young adult readers alike. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won the Hugo and Nebula awards, making Card the only author in history to win both prestigious science-fiction awards two years in a row.

In 2000, Card returned to Ender's world with a "parallel" novel called Ender's Shadow. Ender's Shadow retells the events of Ender's Game from the perspective of Julian "Bean" Delphinki, Ender's second-in-command. As Sam to Ender's Frodo, Bean is doomed to be remembered as an also-ran next to the legendary protagonist of the earlier novel. In many ways, Bean is a more complex and intriguing character than the preternaturally brilliant Ender, and his alternate take on the events of Ender's Game provide an intriguing counterpoint to fans of the original series.

In addition to moral issues, a strong sense of family pervades Card's work. Card is a devoted family man and father to five (!) children. In the age of dysfunctional family literature, Card bristles at the suggestion that a positive home life is uninteresting. "How do you keep ‘good parents' from being boring?" he once said. "Well, in truth, the real problem is, how do you keep bad parents from being boring? I've seen the same bad parents in so many books and movies that I'm tired of them."

Critical appreciation for Card's work often points to the intriguing plotlines and deft characterizations that are on display in Card's most accomplished novels. Card developed the ability to write believable characters and page-turning plots as a college theater student. To this day, when he writes, Card always thinks of the audience first. "It's the best training in the world for a writer, to have a live audience," he says. "I'm constantly shaping the story so the audience will know why they should care about what's going on."

Card brought Bean back in 2005 for the fourth and final novel in the Shadow series: Shadow of the Giant. The novel presented some difficulty for the writer. Characters who were relatively unimportant when the series began had moved to the forefront, and as a result, Card knew that the ending he had originally envisioned would not be enough to satisfy the series' fans.

Although the Ender and Shadow series deal with politics, Card likes to keep his personal political opinions out of his fiction. He tries to present the governments of futuristic Earth as realistically as possible without drawing direct analogies to our current political climate. This distance that Card maintains between the real world and his fictional worlds helps give his novels a lasting and universal appeal.

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    1. Hometown:
      Greensboro, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richland, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"You think you've found somebody, so suddenly my program gets the axe?"

"It's not about this kid that Graff found. It's about the low quality of what you've been finding."

"We knew it was long odds. But the kids I'm working with are actually fighting a war just to stay alive."

"Your kids are so malnourished that they suffer serious mental degradation before you even begin testing them. Most of them haven't formed any normal human bonds, they're so messed up they can't get through a day without finding something they can steal, break, or disrupt."

"They also represent possibility, as all children do."

"That's just the kind of sentimentality that discredits your whole project in the eyes of the I.F."

Poke kept her eyes open all the time. The younger children were supposed to be on watch, too, and sometimes they could be quite observant, but they just didn't notice all the things they needed to notice, and that meant that Poke could only depend on herself to see danger.

There was plenty of danger to watch for. The cops, for instance. They didn't show up often, but when they did, they seemed especially bent on clearing the streets of children. They would flail about them with their magnetic whips, landing cruel stinging blows on even the smallest children, haranguing them as vermin, thieves, pestilence, a plague on the fair city ofRotterdam. It was Poke's job to notice when a disturbance in the distance suggested that the cops might be running a sweep. Then she would give the alarm whistle and the little ones would rush to their hiding places till the danger was past.

But the cops didn't come by that often. The real danger was much more immediate -- big kids. Poke, at age nine, was the matriarch of her little crew (not that any of them knew for sure that she was a girl), but that cut no ice with the eleven- and twelve- and thirteen-year-old boys and girls who bullied their way around the streets. The adult-size beggars and thieves and whores of the street paid no attention to the little kids except to kick them out of the way. But the older children, who were among the kicked, turned around and preyed on the younger ones. Any time Poke's crew found something to eat -- especially if they located a dependable source of garbage or an easy mark for a coin or a bit of food -- they had to watch jealously and hide their winnings, for the bullies liked nothing better than to take away whatever scraps of food the little ones might have. Stealing from younger children was much safer than stealing from shops or passersby. And they enjoyed it, Poke could see that. They liked how the little kids cowered and obeyed and whimpered and gave them whatever they demanded.

So when the scrawny little two-year-old took up a perch on a garbage can across the street, Poke, being observant, saw him at once. The kid was on the edge of starvation. No, the kid was starving. Thin arms and legs, joints that looked ridiculously oversized, a distended belly. And if hunger didn't kill him soon, the onset of autumn would, because his clothing was thin and there wasn't much of it even at that.

Normally she wouldn't have paid him more than passing attention. But this one had eyes. He was still looking around with intelligence. None of that stupor of the walking dead, no longer searching for food or even caring to find a comfortable place to lie while breathing their last taste of the stinking air of Rotterdam. After all, death would not be such a change for them. Everyone knew that Rotterdam was, if not the capital, then the main seaport of Hell. The only difference between Rotterdam and death was that with Rotterdam, the damnation wasn't eternal.

This little boy -- what was he doing? Not looking for food. He wasn't eyeing the pedestrians. Which was just as well -- there was no chance that anyone would leave anything for a child that small. Anything he might get would be taken away by any other child, so why should he bother? If he wanted to survive, he should be following older scavengers and licking food wrappers behind them, getting the last sheen of sugar or dusting of flour clinging to the packaging, whatever the first comer hadn't licked off. There was nothing for this child out here on the street, not unless he got taken in by a crew, and Poke wouldn't have him. He'd be nothing but a drain, and her kids were already having a hard enough time without adding another useless mouth.

He's going to ask, she thought. He's going to whine and beg. But that only works on the rich people. I've got my crew to think of. He's not one of them, so I don't care about him. Even if he is small. He's nothing to me.

A couple of twelve-year-old hookers who didn't usually work this strip rounded a corner, heading toward Poke's base. She gave a low whistle. The kids immediately drifted apart, staying on the street but trying not to look like a crew.

It didn't help. The hookers knew already that Poke was a crew boss, and sure enough, they caught her by the arms and slammed her against a wall and demanded their "permission" fee. Poke knew better than to claim she had nothing to share -- she always tried to keep a reserve in order to placate hungry bullies. These hookers, Poke could see why they were hungry. They didn't look like what the pedophiles wanted, when they came cruising through. They were too gaunt, too old-looking. So until they grew bodies and started attracting the slightly-less-perverted trade, they had to resort to scavenging. It made Poke's blood boil, to have them steal from her and her crew, but it was smarter to pay them off. If they beat her up, she couldn't look out for her crew now, could she? So she took them to one of her stashes and came up with a little bakery bag that still had half a pastry in it.

It was stale, since she'd been holding it for a couple of days for just such an occasion, but the two hookers grabbed it, tore open the bag, and one of them bit off more than half before offering the remainder to her friend. Or rather, her former friend, for of such predatory acts are feuds born. The two of them started fighting, screaming at each other, slapping, raking at each other with clawed hands. Poke watched closely, hoping that they'd drop the remaining fragment of pastry, but no such luck. It went into the mouth of the same girl who had already eaten the first bite -- and it was that first girl who won the fight too, sending the other one running for refuge.

Poke turned around, and there was the little boy right behind her. She nearly tripped over him. Angry as she was at having had to give up food to those street-whores, she gave him a knee and knocked him to the ground. "Don't stand behind people if you don't want to land on your butt," she snarled.

He simply got up and looked at her, expectant, demanding.

"No, you little bastard, you're not getting nothing from me," said Poke. "I'm not taking one bean out of the mouths of my crew, you aren't worth a bean."

Her crew was starting to reassemble, now that the bullies had passed.

"Why you give your food to them?" said the boy. "You need that food."

"Oh, excuse me!" said Poke. She raised her voice, so her crew could hear her. "I guess you ought to be the crew boss here, is that it? You being so big, you got no trouble keeping the food."

"Not me," said the boy. "I'm not worth a bean, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember. Maybe you ought to remember and shut up."

Her crew laughed.

But the little boy didn't. "You got to get your own bully," he said.

"I don't get bullies, I get rid of them," Poke answered. She didn't like the way he kept talking, standing up to her. In a minute she was going to have to hurt him.

"You give food to bullies every day. Give that to one bully and get him to keep the others away from you."

"You think I never thought of that, stupid?" she said. "Only once he's bought, how I keep him? He won't fight for us."

"If he won't, then kill him," said the boy.

That made Poke mad, the stupid impossibility of it, the power of the idea that she knew she could never lay hands on. She gave him a knee again, and this time kicked him when he went down. "Maybe I start by killing you."

"I'm not worth a bean, remember?" said the boy. "You kill one bully, get another to fight for you, he want your food, he scared of you too."

She didn't know what to say to such a preposterous idea.

"They eating you up," said the boy. "Eating you up. So you got to kill one. Get him down, everybody as small as me. Stones crack any size head."

"You make me sick," she said.

"Cause you didn't think of it," he said.

He was flirting with death, talking to her that way. If she injured him at all, he'd be finished, he must know that.

But then, he had death living with him inside his flimsy little shirt already. Hard to see how it would matter if death came any closer.

Poke looked around at her crew. She couldn't read their faces.

"I don't need no baby telling me to kill what we can't kill."

"Little kid come up behind him, you shove, he fall over," said the boy. "Already got you some big stones, bricks. Hit him in the head. When you see brains you done."

"He no good to me dead," she said. "I want my own bully, he keep us safe, I don't want no dead one."

The boy grinned. "So now you like my idea," he said.

"Can't trust no bully," she answered.

"He watch out for you at the charity kitchen," said the boy. "You get in at the kitchen." He kept looking her in the eye, but he was talking for the others to hear. "He get you all in at the kitchen."

"Little kid get into the kitchen, the big kids, they beat him," said Sergeant. He was eight, and mostly acted like he thought he was Poke's second-in-command, though truth was she didn't have a second.

"You get you a bully, he make them go away."

"How he stop two bullies? Three bullies?" asked Sergeant.

"Like I said," the boy answered. "You push him down, he not so big. You get your rocks. You be ready. Ben't you a soldier? Don't they call you Sergeant?"

"Stop talking to him, Sarge," said Poke. "I don't know why any of us is talking to some two-year-old."

"I'm four," said the boy.

"What your name?" asked Poke.

"Nobody ever said no name for me," he said.

"You mean you so stupid you can't remember your own name?"

"Nobody ever said no name," he said again. Still he looked her in the eye, lying there on the ground, the crew around him.

"Ain't worth a bean," she said.

"Am so," he said.

"Yeah," said Sergeant. "One damn bean."

"So now you got a name," said Poke. "You go back and sit on that garbage can, I think about what you said."

"I need something to eat," said Bean.

"If I get me a bully, if what you said works, then maybe I give you something."

"I need something now," said Bean.

She knew it was true.

She reached into her pocket and took out six peanuts she had been saving. He sat up and took just one from her hand, put it in his mouth and slowly chewed.

"Take them all," she said impatiently.

He held out his little hand. It was weak. He couldn't make a fist. "Can't hold them all," he said. "Don't hold so good."

Damn. She was wasting perfectly good peanuts on a kid who was going to die anyway.

But she was going to try his idea. It was audacious, but it was the first plan she'd ever heard that offered any hope of making things better, of changing something about their miserable life without her having to put on girl clothes and going into business. And since it was his idea, the crew had to see that she treated him fair. That's how you stay crew boss, they always see you be fair.

So she kept holding her hand out while he ate all six peanuts, one at a time.

After he swallowed the last one, he looked her in the eye for another long moment, and then said, "You better be ready to kill him."

"I want him alive."

"Be ready to kill him if he ain't the right one." With that, Bean toddled back across the street to his garbage can and laborious climbed on top again to watch.

"You ain't no four years old!" Sergeant shouted over to him.

"I'm four but I'm just little," he shouted back.

Poke hushed Sergeant up and they went looking for stones and bricks and cinderblocks. If they were going to have a little war, they'd best be armed.

* * * * *

Bean didn't like his new name, but it was a name, and having a name meant that somebody else knew who he was and needed something to call him, and that was a good thing. So were the six peanuts. His mouth hardly knew what to do with them. Chewing hurt.

So did watching as Poke screwed up the plan he gave her. Bean didn't choose her because she was the smartest crew boss in Rotterdam. Quite the opposite. Her crew barely survived because her judgment wasn't that good. And she was too compassionate. Didn't have the brains to make sure she got enough food herself to look well-fed, so while her own crew knew she was nice and liked her, to strangers she didn't look prosperous. Didn't look good at her job.

But if she really was good at her job, she would never have listened to him. He never would have got close. Or if she did listen, and did like his idea, she would have got rid of him. That's the way it worked on the street. Nice kids died. Poke was almost too nice to stay alive. That's what Bean was counting on. But that's what he now feared.

All this time he invested in watching people while his body ate itself up, it would be wasted if she couldn't bring it off. Not that Bean hadn't wasted a lot of time himself. At first when he watched the way kids did things on the street, the way they were stealing from each other, at each other's throats, in each other's pockets, selling every part of themselves that they could sell, he saw how things could be better if somebody had any brains, but he didn't trust his own insight. He was sure there must be something else that he just didn't get. He struggled to learn more -- of everything. To learn to read so he'd know what the signs said on trucks and stores and wagons and bins. To learn enough Dutch and enough I.F. Common to understand everything that was said around him. It didn't help that hunger constantly distracted him. He probably could have found more to eat if he hadn't spent so much time studying the people. But finally he realized: He already understood it. He had understood it from the start. There was no secret that Bean just didn't get yet because he was only little. The reason all these kids handled everything so stupidly was because they were stupid.

They were stupid and he was smart. So why was he starving to death while these kids were still alive? That was when he decided to act. That was when he picked Poke as his crew boss. And now he sat on a garbage can watching her blow it.

She chose the wrong bully, that's the first thing she did. She needed a guy who made it on size alone, intimidating people. She needed somebody big and dumb, brutal but controllable. Instead, she thinks she needs somebody small. No, stupid! Stupid! Bean wanted to scream at her as she saw her target coming, a bully who called himself Achilles after the comics hero. He was little and mean and smart and quick, but he had a gimp leg. So she thought she could take him down more easily. Stupid! The idea isn't just to take him down -- you can take anybody down the first time because they won't expect it. You need somebody who will stay down.

But he said nothing. Couldn't get her mad at him. See what happens. See what Achilles is like when he's beat. She'll see -- it won't work and she'll have to kill him and hide the body and try again with another bully before word gets out that there's a crew of little kids taking down bullies.

So up comes Achilles, swaggering -- or maybe that was just the rolling gait that his bent leg forced on him -- and Poke makes an exaggerated show of cowering and trying to get away. Bad job, thought Bean. Achilles gets it already. Something's wrong. You were supposed to act like you normally do! Stupid! So Achilles looks around a lot more. Wary. She tells him she's got something stashed -- that part's normal -- and she leads him into the trap in the alley. But look, he's holding back. Being careful. It isn't going to work.

But it does work, because of the gimp leg. Achilles can see the trap being sprung but he can't get away, a couple of little kids pile into the backs of his legs while Poke and Sergeant push him from the front and down he goes. Then there's a couple of bricks hitting his body and his bad leg and they're thrown hard -- the little kids get it, they do their job, even if Poke is stupid -- and yeah, that's good, Achilles is scared, he thinks he's going to die.

Bean was off his perch by now. Down the alley, watching, closer. Hard to see past the crowd. He pushes his way in, and the little kids -- who are all bigger than he is -- recognize him, they know he earned a view of this, they let him in. He stands right at Achilles' head. Poke stands above him, holding a big cinderblock, and she's talking.

"You get us into the food line at the shelter."

"Sure, right, I will, I promise."

Don't believe him. Look at his eyes, checking for weakness.

"You get more food this way, too, Achilles. You get my crew. We get enough to eat, we have more strength, we bring more to you. You need a crew. The other bullies shove you out of the way -- we've seen them! -- but with us, you don't got to take no shit. See how we do it? An army, that's what we are."

OK, now he was getting it. It was a good idea, and he wasn't stupid, so it made sense to him.

"If this is so smart, Poke, how come you didn't do this before now?"

She had nothing to say to that. Instead, she glanced at Bean.

Just a momentary glance, but Achilles saw it. And Bean knew what he was thinking. It was so obvious.

"Kill him," said Bean.

"Don't be stupid," said Poke. "He's in."

"That's right," said Achilles. "I'm in. It's a good idea."

"Kill him," said Bean. "If you don't kill him now, he's going to kill you."

"You let this little walking turd get away with talking shit like this?" said Achilles.

"It's your life or his," said Bean. "Kill him and take the next guy."

"The next guy won't have my bad leg," said Achilles. "The next guy won't think he needs you. I know I do. I'm in. I'm the one you want. It makes sense."

Maybe Bean's warning made her more cautious. She didn't cave in quite yet. "You won't decide later that you're embarrassed to have a bunch of little kids in your crew?"

"It's your crew, not mine," said Achilles.

Liar, thought Bean. Don't you see that he's lying to you?

"What this is to me," said Achilles, "this is my family. These are my kid brothers and sisters. I got to look after my family, don't I?"

Bean saw at once that Achilles had won. Powerful bully, and he had called these kids his sisters, his brothers. Bean could see the hunger in their eyes. Not the regular hunger, for food, but the real hunger, the deep hunger, for family, for love, for belonging. They got a little of that by being in Poke's crew. But Achilles was promising more. He had just beaten Poke's best offer. Now it was too late to kill him.

Too late, but for a moment it looked as if Poke was so stupid she was going to go ahead and kill him after all. She raised the cinderblock higher, to crash it down.

"No," said Bean. "You can't. He's family now."

She lowered the cinderblock to her waist. Slowly she turned to look at Bean. "You get the hell out of here," she said. "You no part of my crew. You get nothing here."

"No," said Achilles. "You better go ahead and kill me, you plan to treat him that way."

Oh, that sounded brave. But Bean knew Achilles wasn't brave. Just smart. He had already won. It meant nothing that he was lying there on the ground and Poke still had the cinderblock. It was his crew now. Poke was finished. It would be a while before anybody but Bean and Achilles understood that, but the test of authority was here and now, and Achilles was going to win it.

"This little kid," said Achilles, "he may not be part of your crew, but he's part of my family. You don't go telling my brother to get lost."

Poke hesitated. A moment. A moment longer.

Long enough.

Achilles sat up. He rubbed his bruises, he checked out his contusions. He looked in joking admiration to the little kids who had bricked him. "Damn, you bad!" They laughed -- nervously, at first. Would he hurt them because they hurt him? "Don't worry," he said. "You showed me what you can do. We have to do this to more than a couple of bullies, you'll see. I had to know you could do it right. Good job. What's your name?"

One by one he learned their names. Learned them and remembered them, or when he missed one he'd make a big deal about it, apologize, visibly work at remembering. Fifteen minutes later, they loved him.

If he could do this, thought Bean, if he's this good at making people love him, why didn't he do it before?

Because these fools always look up for power. People above you, they never want to share power with you. Why you look to them? They give you nothing. People below you, you give them hope, you give them respect, they give you power, cause they don't think they have any, so they don't mind giving it up.

Achilles got to his feet, a little shaky, his bad leg more sore than usual. Everybody stood back, gave him some space. He could leave now, if he wanted. Get away, never come back. Or go get some more bullies, come back and punish the crew. But he stood there, then smiled, reached into his pocket, took out the most incredible thing. A bunch of raisins. A whole handful of them. They looked at his hand as if it bore the mark of a nail in the palm.

"Little brothers and sisters first," he said. "Littlest first." He looked at Bean. "You."

"Not him!" said the next littlest. "We don't even know him."

"Bean was the one wanted us to kill you," said another.

"Bean," said Achilles. "Bean, you were just looking out for my family, weren't you?"

"Yes," said Bean.

"You want a raisin?"

Bean nodded.

"You first. You the one brought us all together, OK?"

Either Achilles would kill him or he wouldn't. At this moment, all that mattered was the raisin. Bean took it. Put it in his mouth. Did not even bite down on it. Just let his saliva soak it, bringing out the flavor of it.

"You know," said Achilles, "no matter how long you hold it in your mouth, it never turns back into a grape."

"What's a grape?"

Achilles laughed at him, still not chewing. Then he gave out raisins to the other kids. Poke had never shared out so many raisins, because she had never had so many to share. But the little kids wouldn't understand that. They'd think, Poke gave us garbage, and Achilles gave us raisins. That's because they were stupid.

Copyright © 1999 Orson Scott Card

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Table of Contents

Orson Scott Card's Ender Wiggin saga began more than 20 years ago with the publication of "Ender's Game," a novella that formed the basis for the enormously popular novel of the same name, which was followed, in turn, by three increasingly ambitious sequels: Speaker For The Dead, Xenocide, and Children Of The Mind. Now, Card returns to the source material of the series with Ender's Shadow, a "parallel novel" that recapitulates the central events of Ender's Game from a new, and very different, perspective.

Ender's Game, first published in novel form in 1985, describes the relentlessly brutal education of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a preadolescent military genius believed to be humankind's last, best hope against the anticipated invasion of an insectile race of aliens called the Formics. As the novel opens, the Formics -- popularly known as "the Buggers" -- have already made two unsuccessful attempts to conquer and colonize Earth, and xenophobia now runs rampant, temporarily uniting a wide range of political and ideological factions. Ender, together with a handpicked group of gifted, if slightly less brilliant children, is conscripted and sent to a remote space station called the Battle School, where he participates in a series of war games that prepare him, by the age of 9, for the responsibilities of military command. Eventually, the games turn real, and Ender leads his youthful forces to a bitter and ironic "victory" over the Buggers. His chief lieutenant in the final series of battles -- his shadow -- is a brilliant, abrasive, undersize child known, simply, as Bean. Bean is both the hero and the focal point of Card's latest novel. Through him, we re-experience -- and sometimes reinterpret -- a familiar series of events.

Obviously, large areas of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow -- the military training sequences, the climactic battles with the Buggers -- overlap, and the overlapping scenes reflect and illuminate each other in unexpected ways.

In the end, though, Ender's Shadow is a good deal more than a revisionist rendering of the earlier book. By focusing so intensely on Bean -- on his history; his personality; his bizarre, unprecedented origins -- Card moves his story into fresh fictional territory. As a result, Ender's Shadow steps outside the frame of its predecessor's concerns to become a meditation on survival, on alienation, on the nature of genius, on what it really means to be "human."

By the age of 4, Bean -- who has no known surname -- is a battle-scarred survivor whose character has been formed on the streets of Rotterdam. Homeless and alone, he makes a place for himself in a street gang/family that is run by a homicidal opportunist named Achilles. Eventually, Bean comes to the attention of Sister Carlotta, a Roman Catholic nun who is also a talent spotter for a military coalition called the International Federation. Sister Carlotta immediately recognizes Bean's immense, virtually unmeasurable intellect and recommends him to the leaders of the Battle School. At the same time, she begins to investigate Bean's shadowy background and discovers that her protégé is the sole survivor of an illegal experiment in genetic engineering and that his intellect has been purchased at an enormous, ultimately tragic, price.

As Bean progresses, with astonishing speed, through the various stages of Battle School, a single question begins to dominate the text: Is Bean, by commonly accepted standards, human? Or is he something different, something genuinely -- and frighteningly -- new? As the narrative proceeds, and the larger events of the novel move inexorably toward their xenocidal conclusion, Card's own position on the question becomes clear. With great skill and compassion, he shows us the process by which Bean develops his dormant capacity for empathy, slowly evolving from an autonomous, prodigiously analytical creature governed by Darwinian survival instincts into a child capable of connecting with the larger human community.

Bean's gradual discovery of his own humanity stands very much at the center of this moving, unsentimental examination of children robbed of their childhoods in the name of a greater good. It should be considered required reading for anyone familiar with the previous volumes of the Ender saga, but it can -- and no doubt will -- be read by people utterly unfamiliar with Card's earlier work. Ender's Shadow is a humane, involving narrative that asks hard questions and successfully revisits old, familiar settings but finds, against all odds, something new to say. It deserves the popularity it is almost certain to achieve.

--Bill Sheehan

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. He is currently working on a book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub.

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Interviews & Essays

Explorations Interview with Orson Scott Card

Paul Goat Allen: Although obviously adult science fiction, the novels in your Ender's saga have been consistently voted by students worldwide as some of the very best science fiction literature for young adults. Why do you think these novels are so profoundly popular with that age group?

Orson Scott Card: At first I was surprised by the response from younger readers. Ender's Game -- and all the later books -- are definitely adult science fiction, with no concessions for younger readers. The vocabulary is well above "grade level," and the moral, historical, and philosophical questions that are discussed are not watered down or simplified. Since the rule of thumb in young adult literature is that the hero of the story must be two years older than the intended audience, who is the intended audience for Ender's Game, when the hero starts out as a five-year-old?

Over the years, however, I have realized several things. First, young readers are absolutely critical -- what they don't like they won't pretend to like; but they are also extraordinarily forgiving. If they care about a story, they will read it even if it's full of hard words and abstruse concepts. Second, adolescents and some precocious children are likely to find a strong resonance with a hero who is pressured, exploited, and isolated, yet who sacrifices to save the very community that has treated him rather badly. It is a natural impulse for adolescents to either imagine themselves as or to admire the lone hero who pays a terrible price that no one else could have paid. This was certainly not my plan when I wrote the novel or even the original story, but after seeing such a strong response to Ender's Game (and, later, to Ender's Shadow and the other Shadow books), this is my best guess as to why, in addition to the adult readers, there are so many younger readers.

PGA: Peter Wiggin's goal to unite the people of Earth under one government was a focal theme in Shadow of the Giant. Do you think that humankind will ever adopt the One Tribe concept?

OSC: In the Ender/Shadow series, I cheat: The first experience of unity came when humankind's survival was under threat from alien invaders. In other words, a common enemy united us, and though that emergency unity fell apart when the threat was gone, people remembered the benefits of that unity and wanted it back. In the real world, we haven't had such unity, and in fact we have large populations that are committed to disunity -- or unity only by conquering and imposing an ideology on others. Throughout history, unity has only come when one nation had such overwhelming power that other nations either fell in line or were overwhelmed -- one thinks of Rome or of British rule in India -- but such unity is fragile, even when most people want it to continue.

Unity requires sacrifices of national and individual independence that are not always willingly made. But a unity born of blood and terror is never going to last; only unity born of willing participation and mutual benefit has a chance of surviving. The first kind, if sustained long enough, can become the latter. But it takes a long, long time. Old hatreds and resentments are not erased overnight. Will it ever happen? Quite possibly. Do I expect it to happen soon? Ha ha ha.

PGA: Out of all the Battle School graduates, which character is most like the young Orson Scott Card and why?

OSC: None of them. I was never that smart and never that willing to submit to authority. I would have been one of the kids turned down for Battle School, who then told anybody who listened that Battle School only tested for a certain kind of intelligence and actually the smartest and most creative kids were never sent up into space. But I wouldn't have believed it myself and would have considered myself a failure all my life because I hadn't been chosen. This is not a great revelation. That combination of boastfulness and humiliating self-abnegation is almost universal among fiction writers...it's almost a job requirement. If writers weren't vain to the point of arrogance, we would never have the courage to put forth our made-up tales and expect people to pay for them; but if we also didn't fear that we were really quite awful and untalented, we would never be able to learn from our mistakes and improve.

PGA: With so many new plot threads at the conclusion of Shadow of the Giant -- Bean and Petra's children, the various colony ships, etc. -- what's the likelihood of one or more new novels in your Enderverse?

OSC: I am definitely writing a novel that takes place after the events of Children of the Mind, which brings together a few threads from the Shadow books and all the dangling threads from the Speaker trilogy (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind). That one will be called Shadows in Flight. I will also write a novel about Mazer Rackham that is a prequel to the whole series. It is also possible that Tor Books and I will initiate a series of novels (or at least short story anthologies) by other writers about what happened to the kids from Ender's Jeesh after the events of Shadow of the Giant. But no final decision has yet been made on that. But if we don't find writers who can create stories that in my judgment carry on the kind of story I tried to write in my Ender stories, we simply won't do it. Better not to do it at all than to do it badly. And...this next Christmas [2005], we will publish A Battle School Christmas (or some variation on that title), which takes place before Ender comes to Battle School. It will not be a "feel-good" Christmas book in the normal vein -- for one thing, angels and miracles have no place in serious science fiction. It will be as tough a story of kids training for war as any of the other stories in the series. And some of the kids who end up in Ender's Jeesh will be in the book.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 482 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    Ender's Game

    Orson Scott Card has created another master piece in his novel, Ender¿s Shadow. This parallel to Ender¿s Game is remarkably intriguing in the different perspectives and interpretations of Ender Wiggin and the development of Bean. You are taken on a journey through a boy¿s life who acted Ender¿s right hand man in Ender¿s Game. Bean, as he is nicknamed, is a homeless child with nothing but violence and his need for learning accompanying him. Because of his diminutive physicality, he must overcome many situations using only his wits. Personally I felt that this novel was a close second to Ender¿s Game, although many people may disagree. Much more action and inner conflict took place in Ender¿s Game, and I feel that it was, personally, easier to relate to. However, it is still very interesting to see how the much smarter, but more petite ¿shadow of Ender¿ endures his life, and how Ender is portrayed from a different perspective. His deprived childhood makes this book easy to get into, while his perseverance and advance intellectual mind, as well as the many situations he encounters in Battle School, makes this very easy to continue. Even if you have never heard of the book Ender¿s Game, this book is still very interesting and very easy to follow. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Sci-Fi, and people who just feel like reading a good book.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    Excellent book

    The thinking is highly advanced and makes this book quite an interesting read. I read this after reading Ender's Game, and it is cool how everyhing fits together so perfectly. I would highly recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind thinking while they read. I have read and re-read this numerous times, and will continue to do so in the future!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Worth it!

    I read Ender's Game first, then decided to read this book next, as I have found out they are now making a movie based on these two books. This book was incredible! Not only did I enjoy immersing myself into Bean's mind, I enjoyed seeing the Battle School and everything else from a different perspective. Well done.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Good

    Definitly worth buying. My friend ashly bought for me and forced me to read it. Its all aout bean. Hes great and just as clever and thinky and ender but as raised on the streets and has more street smarts. Buy it definitly. Also recommend enders game. And dont think you have to read enders game first. There parrellel novels meant to be read in either order

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Good on its own, but not as part of the series

    As I said in my headline, this book isn't bad. Alongside Ender's Game however, this book leaves a lot to be desired. The book was not planned while Ender's game was being written and it shows in many many places. The original characters, Bean and Ender primarily, are written to be completely different than in Ender's Game. The characters are changed so much in fact as to disrupt the reader's suspension of disbelief. Ender is torn down from genius hero and portrayed instead to be nothing but second rate to Bean. This book fits into the series like a square peg into a round hole.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    Awe-inspiring

    Ender's Shadow is an excellent read, one I would recommend to readers of all ages and fans of all genres. This book is filled with military intelligence, cunning, wit, humor, friendship, rivalry, loyalty, love, and an admirable amount of grit and determination coming from the smallest and most unlikely of places. Having read Ender's Game already will not take away from this fantastic tale but might, instead, add to it. I hope that readers and fans of Ender will come to love Bean and hold a special place for him in their hearts as I have.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    Great

    I liked how this book provided another point of view but follows along with the events in enders game

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Bean's Story

    Loved this book but wish I had read it right after Ender's Game or at the same time!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    Ender's Shadow

    Was almost as good as Ender's Game

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Amazing

    This is one of the first military sciences fiction booksI have ever read. I loved this book so much I read the entire series and then read all of the Ender books. Not gonna lie, I like the shadow series more, simply because Bean is a major boss in every way. He was given the most interesting background I have ever read, and was given more potential than Ender could ever had had. Although both series are great, I absolutely adore this one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    interesting to see bean's side of the story

    interesting to see bean's side of the story

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Better than ender's game!

    Bean's point of view is so enlightening. He was hilarious! This book had even more action than its companion. Now it's time to read the rest off the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Great book

    Tells the same story of enders game but from a different perspective. Very good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    It's a really great book. Just like ENDER'S SHADOW!

    Pure AWESMENESS!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Excellent

    An excellent companion to enders game, maintaining the overall flow of the story, as well as the relateability of the charaters, while providing new insights into the world of ender.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Great parallel story telling

    Bean may be bettet than Ender

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Awesome book

    A great book showing the original book in a different perspective. Bean turns out to sometims be a more exciting main character than Ender was. Highly recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    Long needed sequel to Ender's Game

    Excellent read for those who enjoyed Ender's game!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Ender's Shadow, A stunning follow up to Ender's Game

    Ender's Shadow is the story of Bean, Ender's close comrade and friend from Ender's Game. This story is takes place at the same time as the Ender's Game, however it follows Bean from his early childhood all the way to the end of Ender's Game. This story shows a very different childhood and introduction to the IF compared to Ender, Bean is a street rat that used the IF to escape his town. The story is nothing like Ender's Game, it starts off with Bean starving in the streets of Rotterdam, organizing a gang of children using his immense knowledge. As I was reading this book, it completely changes my perspective on Ender's Game, I feel more empathy for Bean after learning about his struggles. I highly recommend reading this book after Ender's Game to learn the background information. I feel that this book is very powerful and changed my perspective on Ender's Game, I suggest to everybody to get in on this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Another Master Piece From Orson Scott Card- BEST ONE YET!!!

    Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card, published 12/15/2000,is a fiction book that you wont be able to put down! It is the best one of Card's books yet. It is like Ender's Games but from another charecters point of view. Bean is a hyper-intelligent young kid off the streets that gets recruited by a nun to go to battle school to fight the buggers. It is a very exciting book because you get to see battle school from another perspective besides Ender's and not just anyones. Bean is a very young genius, who has an act to figure things out and not settling for second.
    This book is exciting and fun. You wont be able to stop reading it once you have started.This book affected me by giving me an escape from life and stress, it helped me take my mind off of homework and work and gave me a place to go and get lost in a world of pure exciting imagination and adventure. I would recommend this book and other books from the Enders series to everyone and anyone. It is easy to follow and has very clear details so you always know exactly whats going on.
    The setting in Ender's Shadow takes place on the hellish streets of Rotterdam, where Bean is on the verge of starvation and fighting for food, but being the smallest and youngest on the street he cant get by with strength or toughness like the other kids. Beans has to use his brain and strategy to survive.Card uses so much detail to describe the setting you know how it feels to live on the streets and you learn the personality's and weaknesses of the other character. In battle school, the author does amazing at drawing this picture for you to where you know exactly how each room and section of the school looks and is used for.
    Bean goes through so many adventure and life threatening challenges that keep you locked in and anxious! You will be surprised and shock how many twists and turns there are in the story. The book will surpass all your expectations. Be prepared to fall in love with each character and their lives. I highly recommend Ender's Shadow!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 482 Customer Reviews

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