Every time I read a new book in the Ender’s Game series of novels, I’m completely blown away. The original four books, I read without a break. I’ve since gone back and re-read the first novel again, and it was just as good as the first time I read it. The second series, following the “Bean” character from the original book, has been a whole new adventure, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.
This book picks up immediately after Shadow Puppets. Bean is still working, reluctantly, in the service of Peter Wiggin, the Hedgemon of Earth. Along with his wife, Petra, Bean is now intent on tracking down the babies he believes to be born from the embryos, stolen in a previous book. Time is of the essense, because Bean is dying from the same condition that made him the most brilliant military mind the world has ever known. He wants to find the babies before he dies. Also, he is given hope for a cure, but at a huge cost to him and his family.
Meanwhile, Peter Wiggin is working to build a peaceful world. Standing in the way are China and the muslim world, both of which have goals of domination and empire. India, caught in the middle, has defeated the Chinese invaders, only to be controlled by muslim invaders from the West. What’s more, each of these powers has, at its head, a Battle School graduate, two of whom fought with Ender in the final battle against the Bugger threat.
What’s great about these books is that they are just good stories. The science-fiction elements have always seemed toned-down, in favor of character development. I’ve come to know these characters, over the course of the series, and many of them I know quite well. In the end, I have trouble figuring out who is the main character of the second series. Is it the story of Bean and his life with Petra? Is it the story of Peter Wiggin and his quest to unite the world? Is it the story of the Battle School graduates, and how they affected the world?
After reading what may well be the last book in the series (I have no knowledge of the plans of Orson Scott Card. I just read the books) I believe the story is about all of this. This is the story of an extraordinary group of individuals, incapable of not affecting everything around them. We follow grand world politics, military strategy, battles, religion, family relationships, motherhood, and so much more.
I’ve been trying to convince my wife to read Ender’s Game. Every new book in the series that I read becomes the reason she needs to start reading, so she can reach that point. Having read what I believe to be the end, I have to say that this book is a fine reason to start reading the series. This book is what brings a batch of books, which continue a single story, into a single large work that I can see as one.