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Empire [Mass Market Paperback]

Orson Scott Card
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 27 2007 Tor Science Fiction
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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Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
In the afterward for this novel, the author rails against all that is wrong with politics in America today, and I agree with everything he says. To summarize, his belief is that right vs. left, red vs. blue is far too simplistic, and that it lumps people into groups where they usually do not agree with everything that the group stands for. Very true, very astute. So why do I feel like the novel itself ignores this?

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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good book if the context isn't taken too far. Dec 20 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book for three reasons. One I enjoyed the game it was a tie-in for and the second was that I heard it was very politically charged; and the third is that Orson Scott Card wrote it.

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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great March 27 2008
By Dr Doom
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 would end. However, I found that as soon as the analogy with Augustus and Trajan was introduced, the end of the book was given away (those without ancient history knowledge might be surprised how it all works out).
That said, it was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it for anyone going on a vacation or "getting away" on their lunch break :)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa! Bring on more! Feb. 6 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. However, this is an excellent novel with a chilling plot and the scary thing is how plausible and realistic it is. One of the other reviewers slams the alleged "right-wing" slant of the novel and thereby proves the whole premise as outlined in the afterword. This book makes you think along with entertaining you. It's one that you don't want to put down and leaves you wanting more when it's done. Please Mr. Card, continue the story.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Captain Coleman "Cole" is assigned as the new aide for Major Reuben "Rube" Malich. However, Rube never comes into the office and never calls. His secretary, DeeNee, says she cannot help him. According to DeeNee, who has no way to contact him, Rube seldom shows at the office except to pick up messages and leave again. No one knows what Rube does or where he goes. DeeNee assures Cole that Rube knows he has arrived, but all he can do is stand around and wait for what could very well be days or weeks. Within minutes of Cole finally meeting Rube, chaos comes storming in! The Vice President is killed in an "accidental" car wreck. Only few minutes later, the President and the Secretary of Defense dies when a rocket hits the west wing of the White House, at the very section the two were in a meeting. Everyone is calling Rube and Cole "heroes". Had they not been there and acted immediately, it would have been much, much worse. But the two heroes know that Rube is being set up to take the fall.

Rube has his wife and kids move in with a relative in West Windsor, New Jersey. Before joining them, Rube and Cole must meet up with Rube's old buddies from Special Ops for some serious brainstorming. The men have not been in New Jersey with the family half a day before chaos comes stomping (literally) back in. This time it is fourteen-foot-tall, bulletproof, heavily armed globes on mechanical legs. The mechs, along with gunmen on individual hovercrafts, succeed in seizing New York City and establishing the "Progressive Restoration". They claim to be restoring the government to what it should have been and even invite other cities and states to join them. It looks as though a second American Civil War has erupted. One side has high tech weapons. The other side has militia footmen, Rube, and Cole.
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