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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on January 3, 2007
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. I usually enjoy the way Card pays homage to the things that he enjoys, even if it lets a little too much of his own perspective creep into the book, but honestly, how does a book get published with that kind of spelling error in it? I'm going to have to assume it was an editing error.
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on December 20, 2009
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. To believe in a cause or a side blindly and without question will let you be manipulated into doing the very things you were trying to prevent.

I don't want to give up too much of the plot, but to me the true meaning of this book is that its an indictment of the current political climate in the united states. Both sides are far too into their own rhetoric and...under the right circumstances could be manipulated.

Personally I recommend this book to someone who isn't going to roll their eyes at a "Republican" hero and a "Democrat" villain and is looking to possibly willing to admit that both sides have their flaws. That heroes and villains are typically painted in a very broad brush, and are willing to have that in a book set in "the Bush years" which does not match accepted wisdom...Then go for it. Otherwise avoid this book like the plague.

But i enjoyed it, and plan on getting the sequel.
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on March 13, 2015
Not a bad book really, but it never really got past the feeling of being about dueling conspiracy theories for me.
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on February 6, 2008
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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on March 27, 2008
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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on November 10, 2006
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.

***** Author David Weber is diabolical in writing books with military tactical maneuvers. Author Tom Clancy is clever in writing books with espionage. But author Orson Scott Card is brilliant in a way that is difficult to define. Card loudly attacks your physical senses, while at the same time; he silently infiltrates your mind and twists your very way of thinking. The most horrifying part is that as I read, I could detect no flaw in the strategies. It is all perfect...and very possible. I strongly recommend ordering pizza to be delivered and unplugging the phones before you even open the cover of this military/political thriller. Stellar! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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