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Empire Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 2007

308 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Empire Series

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Empire
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (November 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765355221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765355225
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Aaron on October 20, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, I do give credit to Card for the subject matter. Having seen the frothing hate swing from Bush to Obama, I've started to wonder if some kind of civil war is our fate. That was my main reason for picking up this book from the library.

The problem with Card's take on the subject, is that he feels the answer to the problem is to accept Conservative ways and reject Liberalism.

Key points in the world of Empire

-99.99% of the armed services are noble and honorable Conservatives
-100% of Liberals loathe all members of the armed services
-Liberals are so ignorant and gullible (because they believe in things like global warming), that they would be easily manipulated into triggering a civil war
-Liberals are so inept at the art of fighting (since there are no Liberal soldiers, of course), that they would need to rely heavily on insanely advance technology to even come close to matching the skill and heroism of Conservatives, and yet they still lose, badly
-Conservative soldiers would pine and feel an intense burden at having to fire on fellow Americans, while Liberals would gleefully slaughter anyone standing in the way of their mad agenda, especially members of the armed services
-The heads of the Washington Post would openly discuss with the Conservative soldier, how they're intending to spin his story to the Left and smear him and the military, while Fox News takes great lengths to provide a truly balanced forum for unbias reporting

Card continued to imply thoughtout the book that both sides were to blame, and a lot of people giving this a 5 star review say we missed that point. To them I ask, find me one Conservative villian in this book.
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110 of 150 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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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Stanislav Fritz on December 22, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will keep my review "fairly" brief, after scanning a number of the positive and negative reviews. I have no problem with the main characters having a conservative point of view. I do have a problem with the execution of the writing. As I pursue my own masters in creative writing, I am stunned by how Card violates some of his own advice from his two good books on writing (Character and Viewpoint; How to write science fiction). Whether you call this science fiction, or an espionage/thriller, it still has to be believable within the confines of the world he is building. It doesn't.

Card choses to build a world that is essentially "right now" and post 9-11. He populates it with people that actually exist (O'Reilly on FOX). If you do that, in broad brush strokes you are setting expectations that this is the world we live in right now and people would react as you have seen them recently react. They don't.
Card does a number of things that make this hard to swallow: 1) Major attack in and on New York City, where the entire nation still empathizes with the police and fire department (left or right politically) and has the revolutionary forces kill all uniformed people and the city then rolls over and embraces that group? This world? Today? Really? Embrace the killers of anyone in uniform? Then he basically ignores the entire situation for several months (elapsed novel time) and focuses strictly on the remaining protagonists? Card, what happened to "world building" as you discuss in your craft books? Yes, you wanted to keep it fast paced, but that much time elapses and we get close to zero feel for what is happening in the nation. A few blurbs about city council votes does not cut it!

The premise at its core could have worked.
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