"I'm saying that when your child goes off to war, you will never
get him back. Not as he was, not the same boy." These words are
spoken by John Paul Wiggin, husband of Theresa and father of
Andrew. They certainly ring true in speaking of any military
conflict and the manner in which it affects those involved on the
front and those waiting at home. In this instance, however, the
possible changes are more devastating as Andrew, also known as
Ender, is only 12 years old.
Having just saved the world, opposing sides are now clashing in
an effort to determine what to do with the heroic and genius
preteen. One side wants him to come back to Earth and attempt to
return to a normal life, while the other side knows that to do so
would only bring chaos and danger. To come home would lead to
pressures to fulfill a military life and make him the target of
opposition assassination attempts. Should he return to Earth, or
take up exile on Eros, a training facility of the Hegemony?
Ultimately, Ender chooses neither. Instead, the young man elects
to make for the outer colonies. Rather than hibernate on the
lengthy voyage, he chooses to remain awake and age over the course
of the trip, hoping that he will grow from a confused and immature
preteen into an older, wiser and more capable leader at the
glorious age of 35. While he and his sister Valentine make their
way through space, back home their brother, Peter, methodically
undertakes a plan to assume command of the world.
ENDER IN EXILE takes place about a year after the events of
ENDER'S GAME and immediately prior to those in SPEAKER FOR THE
DEAD. It is an extraordinary gap in time that has left many readers
of the series wondering just what happened to Ender in the years he
was gone. Orson Scott Card finally delivers those answers, and he
does so in fine fashion. Where this work really comes together is
that if you are a longtime fan of the series, you will enjoy
digging and filling in all those gaps. If you have not read any of
the previous Ender books, fear not. Because Ender and
company are exiled, with a bit of a connection still to the news
from Earth, the story is essentially isolated from the others and
thus easily accessible to all newcomers.
While it does not pack the punch of ENDER'S GAME in terms of
action or philosophical questions, ENDER IN EXILE is still a
sensational adventure that is bound to please those who make the
choice to crack its spine.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on January 21, 2011