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SHADOWS IN FLIGHT by Orson Scott Card


by Orson Scott Card

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3200-4
Publisher: Tor

Warning: Do not attempt to appreciate this book without at least some familiarity with Card's child-warrior Ender series.

Previously in Shadow of the Giant (2005), military supergenius Bean fled Earth with his three surviving children aboard a starship; at the relativistic speeds of which the ship is capable, time-dilation effects may enable them to stay alive long enough for medical researchers to find a cure. They all have Anton's Key, which gives them tremendously accelerated and enhanced growth and intelligence, the profound drawback being that they never stop growing and will die before reaching the age of 30. Bean is already more than 14 feet tall and so debilitated that he can survive only in microgravity. The children—they call themselves "leguminotes"—biologist Ender, engineer Carlotta and warrior Sergeant, are 6-year-old late-adolescents and far smarter if no less quarrelsome than any other human. But they need a purpose other than mere survival—Ender, keyed into the latest research via ansible, the instantaneous communicator Card and others borrowed from Ursula Le Guin, suspects that a cure may not just be improbable, but impossible—so fatherly Bean has secretly steered them towards a surprising, not altogether unexpected but certainly intriguing confrontation. No further characterization is practicable without giving away what little plot there is, but don't worry, plotting has never been what Card is all about. The author has always superbly written about children, and here he's in top form. The original Ender, still roaming the galaxy in search of redemption, rarely gets a mention: bad news for Enders, good news for leguminotes.

If you still prefer Ender to Bean after this, you're really hardcore.