Empire Mass Market Paperback – Nov 27 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Right-wing rhetoric trumps the logic of story and character in this near-future political thriller about a red-state vs. blue-state American civil war, an implausibly plotted departure from Card's bestselling science fiction (Ender's Game, etc.). When the president and vice-president are killed by domestic terrorists (of unknown political identity), a radical leftist army calling itself the Progressive Restoration takes over New York City and declares itself the rightful government of the United States. Other blue states officially recognize the legitimacy of the group, thus starting a second civil war. Card's heroic red-state protagonists, Maj. Reuben "Rube" Malek and Capt. Bartholomew "Cole" Coleman, draw on their Special Ops training to take down the extremist leftists and restore peace to the nation. The action is overshadowed by the novel's polemical message, which Card tops off with an afterword decrying his own politically-motivated exclusion from various conventions and campuses, the "national media elite" and the divisive excesses of both the right and the left.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Some video-game developers asked Card to write a scenario for "an entertainment franchise . . . about a near-future American civil war." They came to the right man and held off on releasing the game until he completed this relentless thriller, which couldn't be timelier and is, for all its hyperactivity and flip, Hollywoodish one-liners, heartfelt and sobering. Its heroes are two special-ops army officers who keep their oaths to defend the U.S. against all enemies when far too many of their ostensible colleagues have decided to abandon theirs. A rocket hits the west wing of the White House, killing the president, vice-president, and secretary of defense. While those directly responsible are Arabs, the next day, 14-foot-tall, bulletproof, armed globes on mechanical legs, backed by shooters on individual hovercraft, seize New York City by killing anyone in uniform. None of the new attackers looks anything other than American. A "Progressive Restoration" administration is established in the city, and it encourages other cities and states to join it to restore government as it should have been but for the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. Intriguing plot wrinkles come fore and aft of those basic developments, there are many deftly shaped supporting players, and major shocks explode in a split second (no Stephen King slo-mo for Card!). Moreover, all the action doesn't obscure the author's message about the dangers of extreme political polarization and the need to reassert moderation and mutual citizenship; indeed, it drives it home. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The heroes of the book are very right-wing, and the storyline itself is very anti-left. There is perhaps one strawman right-wing crazy who doesn't seem to do much, and an entire left-wing conspiracy that is dismissed and demonized in the thoughts of the protagonists at every turn. The one "liberal" protagonist doesn't do a or express a liberal thought in the novel, leaving us with one perspective, which one must assume is the author's opinion. I'm willing to admit that perhaps Card is clever enough to have done all this on purpose just so the reader will have the reaction I did, and prove his point -- but I don't think that is what was intended. Just as Card challenges us to examine our own beliefs and biases in the afterward, I feel like he ignored his own advice in the writing of the thoughts of the protagonists of the novel.
Politics aside (which is very difficult to say or do when it comes to this book, it is about a Civil War after all), the book is a bit unfocused. It is part military thriller, part mystery, part political commentary, but spends not enough time in any mode, and when it is all done, you are left with a plot that started with a very plausible premise and ended up with an extremely implausible resolution and a "mystery" that most would predict from practically the very beginning.
Oh, and the book spells "Hari Seldon" incorrectly.Read more ›
Card is a very talented writer who has written quite a few classics and I was looking forward to reading this one. As far as the writing was concerned I wasn't disappointed. Sure, its no Ender's game, but the writing flows, the action is punchy and the characters are relate-able. Many people complain that Card's writing is sub-par but I think what they really mean is that they don't like the politics of the book. The writing itself is at the very least decent.
Which brings me to the politics, and in a very real way the story and the premise of the plot. If taken as a very basic lefty vs. righty story; its pretty poor and if you get lost in your own political views its very easy to dislike a book who's characters are oriented strongly on one end of the political spectrum. What really hurts this novel is that its contemporary. If the novel was set in a place called "United Endoria" in some far away time like typical sci-fi; nobody would really raise a stink. But as it is, everyone is missing the point.
The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of heroes in any time of military fiction are right wingers. While Rube is a paladin for the right wing; its not necessarily a bad thing. The plot wouldn't advance if he or Cole had been anything less than true believers in the cause. As a matter of fact, the fact that they believe the way they do is a major factor in their being manipulated in the story. As a matter of fact, after a point, its quite obvious that both sides are being used...which to me was the whole point of the story.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If you like Card's previous books, chances are you will find this an entertaining read. I was transported into the Neo-American Civil war and was constantly questioning where it... Read morePublished on March 27 2008 by Dr Doom
Wow! A fast-paced, non-stop, thought-provoking action thriller set in the near future. I won't rehash the plot - you can read the other reviews yourself. Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2008 by David W. Wildeboer