Tuesday, 24 April 2001

Orson Scott Card: The Shadow of the Hegemon (2000)

Edition: Orbit, 2001
Review number: 803

Following on from Ender's Shadow, this novel is the story of what happened to the Battle School graduates of Ender's Game after their return to Earth. Since it covers new ground rather than paralleling Speaker for the Dead, it is a much more involving novel than Ender's Shadow.

It puts the antagonism between Ender's lieutenant Bean and serial killer Achilles against the background of political and eventually military manoeuvring as the unity of facing the alien Buggers falls apart with the removal of the threat. Still only children, the military geniuses and immensely famous Battle School graduates are incredibly valuable as pawns and in their own right (though adult commanders find the second difficult to believe).

The children are well drawn characters, and the political background is fascinating if a bit like the scenario of a game of Risk (as Card admits in the afterword). Much better than Ender's Shadow, a most enjoyable piece of science fiction.

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