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Empire Hardcover – November 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Empire
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765316110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765316110
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

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

More About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the bestselling author best known for the classic Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow and other novels in the Ender universe. Most recently, he was awarded the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in Young Adult literature, from the American Library Association. Card has written sixty-one books, assorted plays, comics, and essays and newspaper columns. His work has won multiple awards, including back-to-back wins of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards-the only author to have done so in consecutive years. His titles have also landed on 'best of' lists and been adopted by cities, universities and libraries for reading programs. The Ender novels have inspired a Marvel Comics series, a forthcoming video game from Chair Entertainment, and pre-production on a film version. A highly anticipated The Authorized Ender Companion, written by Jake Black, is also forthcoming.Card offers writing workshops from time to time and occasionally teaches writing and literature at universities.Orson Scott Card currently lives with his family in Greensboro, NC.

Customer Reviews

The characters are shallow and the plot predictable.
David S. Clark
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.
Dan Ronco
First couple times I went back and tried to find something, but after awhile I gave up and just kept reading.
rjpbills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Hawk Season on September 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I don't mean to scathe an author I have for so long respected, but given my reaction to this book I don't see how I can do otherwise. On one hand, plot mechanics and the language of the book are blatantly recycled from his Ender series. The obsession with the word "jeesh" and certain actions with .22 pistols are laughable distractions for anyone who's read any other OSC.

The other hand, the more important hand to me, is that Card's language throughout is blatantly offensive to my value system. Card and I have opposite sociopolitical views, which I have known for a long time. That said, I have respected him for years because he always argued his value system in a way that I respect. From reading Card's work in the past, I was able to understand and sympathize with Conservative viewpoints. That said, he abandoned his intellectual approach in this book in favor of cheap shots barely worthy of best seller of the week pulp novels. I had to check the cover every few minutes to make sure it was still an Orson Scott Card book.

The only entertaining parts of the book, which ends in a total fizzle, are the action sequences... which are practically written to go straight to a movie. It's strange, the moment the book goes to an action sequence bizarre sci-fi machines come out of the woodwork. Nothing believable ever happens in the entire book, and the action sequences only serve to drop the credibility of the story.

I don't recognize this author as the man who wrote Ender's Game or Xenocide, two of my favorite books.
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59 of 79 people found the following review helpful By J. Mattingly on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even being as conservative as I am I has a hard time reading this book. What could have been a action packed military thriller quickly became boring talk fest. One converstaion after another about nothing,that had to do with everything. While the begining of the story is and the initial plot(If there is a plot)are a good basis for a book that quickly goes no where.

I was hoping for a look into what a second American civil war would look like. I have read many books by Harry Turtledove and other writers who have taken on the subject and done wonderful jobs with it. This was not case with this book.

What realy killed the book for me was the ultra right wing angle of the book. As a Republican I can stand a lot of left wing bashing. But comparing Al Gore to the Unabomber was just a little more than I could take.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven Forth on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'd like to begin by reviewing the novel, not the author's politics. OSC has written two of my favorite recent SF novels, Enders Game and the truly wonderful Pastwatch. They are both five star books. Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender's Shadow are all excellent books as well, solid four stars. But OSC also knows how to milk a franchise and some of his books are wooden and contrived, striving to do their duty and plodding in plot and action. Sadly, this is one of those. The characters are pretty much stereotypes and the plot predictable where it is not random. Given that this was written as the backstory for a pretty sorry game, I suppose that is not surprising.

I am interested enough in the premise that I will probably go out this evening and get the sequel. Looking at the US from the outside the lack of intelligent debate between left and right, the inability of people on either side to hear each other, and the savage attacks on people looking for a third way are very disturbing. OSC's afterward should be widely read independent of the novel.

Given OSC's position in the afterward, which I read before the novel, I was surprized that it was about as balanced as Fox News. All of the negative characters and actions are taken by the left wing. Even the ranting right-wing general is actually a stooge for left-wing forces. And the 'intelligent' professor who ends up as president is a nasty piece of work lacking in original thought. The right-wing characters and 'moderates' are sympathetic, but there are no actual left wing characters. Not much balance here, lots of spin. I suppose that we don't really know who carried out the assassination, and that this may be a right-wing group. I hope to find out this evening.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Student on January 31, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been a fan of Card since I was in the seventh grade, so almost 15 years now, and after reading Empire I would say that I still am a Card fan. However, this simply is not his best work.

I thought the concept was great. It had been sometime since I picked up a science fiction book, but when I saw a book by Card about a second civil war I was intrigued. I thought it was a great concept to explore.

To be fair to Card, I thought he approached the concept with a unique perspective, creatively addressing the lack of geographic boundaries between the ideological factions for example. However, by the end of the novel I was not in love with the characters and I found the storyline to be somewhat transparent. It wasn't difficult to see where the book was headed.

I will say that I find many of the reviews critical of Card's approach to politics to be a bit unfair. I think Card approaches this issue nicely at the end of the book by saying that we all need to get away from the blind devotion to either political extreme and remember that there is no shame in picking and choosing from both sides.

I remain a devoted fan of Card, but I cannot give Empire the strong endorsement that I would give to Treason, the Ender books, Folk of the Fringe, or his short story collections.
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