From Publishers Weekly
When the United States stands on the brink of civil war between "blue states" and "red states," Maj. Reuben Malek and Capt. Bartholomew Coleman use their special ops training to maintain the country's unity. With the president and vice president assassinated within minutes of each other, and New York City taken over, the two must figure out who has planned this and how to prevent the growing tension between left and right. Unfortunately, Card's conservative bias seeps into this tale with repeated jabs at "liberal media" and even a guest appearance by Bill O'Reilly helping out the good guys. These juvenile assaults distract from Card's keen storytelling skills. As a co-narrator, Card sticks mostly to the superfluous job of reading chapter introductions, saving his passion for his afterword, where he lambastes both the left and the right for their extreme and exclusionary acts. Rudnicki makes this audiobook worth attention. His deep sturdy voice provides the rich and engaging narrative that pulls in any listener. He reads the book smoothly, adding energy, characterization and authority to all aspects of the story. Without Rudnicki, this empire crumbles.
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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 OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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