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    Review of SHADOW PUPPETS by Orson Scott Card (see his website)

    TOR, August 2002

    With Ender gone on a colony ship, the survivors of the battle school have returned to their native countries--and plunged the world into war. Peter Wiggins, the Hegemon and Ender's brother, wages a small-scale battle against the Chinese who have swallowed India and IndoChina and are now preparing for their next conquest. When he decides to rescue the brilliant murderer, Achilles, from the Chinese, though, Peter throws his own forces into confusion. Bean, the one child/man who most closely resembles Ender, together with his friend Petra, flee from both Peter and Achilles--they of all people know that Achilles hates most those who rescue him.

    While Bean and Petra flee through Europe and the middle east, their feelings for one another, together with their hormonal attraction, escalate. Bean fears to bring into the world anyone cursed with the strange mutation that gives him both his genius and the continued growth that will kill him before thirty, yet even he cannot resist the power of a determined woman. And Petra is fully determined to marry Bean and bear his children, no matter what the cost to herself.

    Although the Chinese seem dominant, with Europe and America cowed and Russia unwilling to rekindle the ancient rivalry, battle school graduates work to begin a resistance movement within India, and hope to strike back into China itself. Yet, with the Hegemon distracted and perhaps destroyed by Achilles, can the world find a force behind which oppostion can combine?

    Orson Scott Card (see more reviews of novels by this author) is one of best Science Fiction writers ever, and SHADOW PUPPETS demonstrates the power of his writing. Although Bean's story is clearly secondary to the upcoming global battle, I was still compelled through the narative, unable to put the book down until I'd finished every page. The romance between Bean and Petra felt real, and Peter the Hegemon's gradual maturing was certainly gratifying.

    Fans of the post-Ender series will definitely want to read this one. China finally faces a unified opposition that threatens to give it a run for the money. Yet Card also plants the seeds for future trouble. Without an external enemy to unite around, can Earth avoid destroying itself in pointless war?

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/20/02

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