First of all, I should warn you that while Xenocide is book 3 of the Ender Quartet, it and the book that follows it (Children of the Mind), were originally supposed to be one book. And while the series is about Ender, Xenocide isn't really about a period in Ender's life, but a transition to the resolution that I assume is coming in Children of the Mind.
Since I don't want to give away any of Ender's story to those planning to read it, I'll focus on what I came to realize was the real story of Xenocide: the people of Path. This colony among the 100 Worlds ruled by Starways Congress is a piece of Chinese culture, much as Lusitania is Brazilian.
Among the people of Path are the God-spoken, incredibly gifted people who can hear the voices of the gods. From the beginning it's clear that the extreme religious devotion of the people of Path is unusual & while I suspected its origins, I hadn't guessed just how insidious those beginnings were.
Because of their intelligence, a family on Path elicits Jane's attention & she eventually enlists them to help her work on problems facing Ender's group, but they quickly convince her to let Ender's group help solve their problems too.
While I missed the focus on Ender & was pretty upset by the lack of resolution for him personally, I was fascinated by Card's ability to create another world with an equally intellectually and morally challenging dilemma as those faced by Ender.
Apparently there's a split between people who think that Xenocide is where the Ender story goes bad and those who think it's simply more of the same great stuff. I admit that it's probably not as good as the first two books. Speaker for the Dead was the original reason for writing the whole series, so Xenocide & Children of the Mind can be looked upon as afterthoughts, but the story was still compelling and profound for me, so I really don't understand what the people who didn't like this installment are complaining about.