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December 2010

Shadow of the Hegemon

Author: Orson Scott Card
Original Publication: 2001
Started: 2010 Oct 30
Finished : 2010 Nov 8
Format: Kindle
7231 locations / 10 days
723 locations / day

So here I go, I am now up to Book 6 in the Ender Series.  This book once again concentrates on the character of Bean, the minor character in Ender’s Game that got a deeper background in the last book, Ender’s Shadow.  Now that the Buggers / Formics have been defeated, the action shifts back to Earth, where the unity of the planet during the war against an alien threat has fallen apart, and now major geopolitical shifts are under way as national powers start reasserting themselves.

In this context, the former members of Ender’s team (including Bean) become major players, as they are considered the brightest military minds on the planet.  An old rival of Bean’s from his childhood who was introduced in the last book also plays a huge part as the villain, constantly plotting for his own power, but more importantly for revenge against all those, such as Bean, who had ever seen him in positions of weakness.

There is some interesting geopolitical speculation here, looking at how a world might look several hundred years in our future, after an interlude where the planet had been forced to unite, but no longer is.  But even given the premise of this cadre of super-bright children who had already saved the world, it does start to stretch the suspension of disbelief a little bit when you essentially get a handful of teenagers engaging in machinations that direct the course of major nations as they go into and out of war.  It is an entertaining story, and once again Card is doing a novel that concentrates on events and actions as opposed to philosophical speculation.  They are different sorts of novels.  Both good in their own way.

This is maybe in the middle of the pack of the series so far in terms of how much I’ve enjoyed it.  Not as good as #1, #2 or #5 in this series, but probably better than #3 and #4.  Dunno.  They are all enough different from each other that it is hard to compare.

Worth a read if you like this series.  I wouldn’t suggest picking it up without having read at least #5 though, since it follows directly on from that book.