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(Empire #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  9,163 ratings  ·  855 reviews
The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone.

The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Tor Books (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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 ·  9,163 ratings  ·  855 reviews

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May 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I could not finish the book, and stopped half way through. It gets one star because it wasn't the worst thing a person could read. It was just one of the worst books I've read in a while. I feel like my IQ dropped steadily with each page I read. I haven't read anything else of Card's books, but I think he really should stay away from political themes. It just made me wanna puke. Sure, it's just fiction, but I actually felt Card was sharing his political views in the book just as much as he ...more
Tim Nielsen
Feb 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tim Nielsen by: Orson Scott Card
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
I have to say that Orson Scott Card has got to be one of the most intelligent authors I have read. He is very sensible and knows how to get to the real issues. I really liked the story of Empire however the way in which this story is told I did not like. I recently attended one of Cards lectures on how he writes and how he comes up with ideas for stories and I found out that he doesn't ever write a second draft. He rewrites his first draft several times because he believes that the actual life ...more
Aug 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Right wing fanatics, People who like Tom Clancy Op Center books
This is the story of a group of left wing militants who try to take of the US with high tech weaponry.

This book was not very good. Card is a good writer, but this is not his best writing. The characters are static and unbelievable. It reads like a script to an action movie: it is fast paced and there is a lot of action.

Also, this book is fair and balanced like fox news. The left wing extreme in this book holds beliefs that only a small, unmobilized percentage of the population of America holds.
Apr 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
It was recomended that I read this book because it deals with politics. Though this is something I am interested in this book seemed entirely too one sided. It was more a polemic than a novel, and its attempts to be non-baised were far outweighed by the moments of its blatant one sidedness. If you are a strong supporter of the right and think that our patriotic duty is to not question either the president or the military then you would like this book. If, on the other hand, you think that this ...more
1.5 stars. Easily my least favorite book by Card. It wasn't horrible but it also wasn't very good (so I rated it somewhere between "I didn't like it" and "it was ok" hence the 1.5 to 2.0 stars). The premise was interesting and one that I thought could have made into a really good story. Unfortunately, I think Card let his desire to write a "conservative-friendly" thriller get in the way of just telling a good story. I applaud the attempt but the execution was lacking.
Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book: although I did not for a long time. It has a definite flavour of being political: although I could not figure out which side he was on. At one point he seemed to be standing against the right, and then it was all against the left. I've always loved Mr. Card's writing, and I was sad for much of it that he was becoming so political... and passionately so, although he seemed to shift back and forth. It was not till nearly at the end that I realized this was ...more
Kwesi 章英狮
While reading this book, I don't know what to do. I don't like it and I thought I was dying in a war. I'm not against of any Card's novels but I can't help to be annoyed while reading this. Plus, I don't have political taste or whatever related to government and this book is so so preachy. In the positive side, I've learned a lot about Card's ideology of political state in the America not only that, it can also be compared to our (Philippines) current political issue. Why there are still NPA and ...more
Miles Reid-lobatto
Feb 02, 2012 rated it did not like it

I never thought I could hate a book so much. I thought Battlefield Earth would be the low point of my reading life.

There is an interesting idea here, that's the thing. The idea of a New American Civil War (although I would say that the book's idea of it being Blue and Red is now outdated. If there is to be a Civil War in the US, it will be between Rich and Poor) is a potentially fascinating subject for a book. If done correctly. This means without bias. I may be left-leaning but I would be
Jul 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Ugh, what a terrible book. What happened to you Mr. Card, where did you go, and when did a crazy neo-con steal your soul and your body?

I used to love Orson Scott Card. Seriously, when I was a kid I read every single one of his published books, even saints (despite the fact that I hated and continue to dislike the Mormon church). His books were subversive and unique. Even when he stole subject matter from other authors, he used the ideas in a new way and talked about something meaningful (see the
Feb 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
It's rare that I get to use the term "puerile shit," especially when it comes to one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card.

However, 'Empire' afforded me that opportunity -- in spades-- and before I'd finished this right-wing-infused manifesto thinly disguised as a novel, I had many, many other opportunities to generate even more graphic and offensive terminology.

OSC's foray into the techno-thriller world dominated by Clancys, Coonts, and Browns, is mediocre storytelling at best, and
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gets 4 stars, not so much for the story (3 stars) as the message. The message is clear, especially in the first part of the book & the afterword by Card - the screamers on the left & right of our 2 party system are becoming the icons & dividing the country. Moderates aren't tolerated. If you don't fully agree with one side, then you must support the other & you're an idiot not worthy of an opinion.

As ludicrous as it is, it's all too true. I see it frequently because I
1.5 stars. Easily my least favorite book by Card. It wasn't horrible but it also wasn't very good (so I rated it somewhere between "I didn't like it" and "it was ok" hence the 1.5 to 2.0 stars). The premise was interesting and one that I thought could have made into a really good story. Unfortunately, I think Card let his desire to write a "conservative-friendly" thriller get in the way of just telling a good story. I applaud the attempt but the execution was lacking.

One final note: Stefan
This was an interesting look at how a new civil war in the US might occur. I think that this is one of those books that you should read twice to really get the full measure of the story. I listened to it on audio, and a lot of the time that I was listening to it, I was listening but not focusing intently, so I may have missed a lot of the nuances of the story. However, that being said, I do think that it was very smart and well written, and plausible.

Many people might take offense to the
Sean Watson
Nov 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
As a frequent reader of OSC, this book was a monumental disappointment. Its premise is a violent revolution in America as the vocal fight between the Liberal and Conservative movements ultimately results in a civil war as one side becomes determined to take the country back from the traitors who have seized it. These unscrupulous fanatics hoard dirty money in secret, assemble a high tech army, and finally when the moment is right, they pounce and attempt to take the government by force. Which ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm proud to say that this book is the fruition of a dream of my brother's, Donald and Geremy. They came up with the idea for a Video game, which is currently in production and will be out later in 2009, but Orson Scott Card loved the idea and wanted to write the book. So after much consultation with the Mustard's, the book was written, the first in a trilogy. It is important to know that it is only the beginning of the story, otherwise the ending will feel very unsatisfactory. My major grief ...more
Geahk Burchill
Nov 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Remarkable garbage.

Orson Scott Card is one of the best science Fiction Writers ever to have touched a keyboard. One of his most important contributions to sci-fi was his ability to see nuance and complexity in characters. He seemed to effortlessly pick his way through religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to present a character's point of view and make their actions believable. He then created fine networks of life-influences to make deep and interesting character interactions.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Philip by: A Student
One of my students gave me this book to read because it deals with Social Studies stuff, the main character's wife is Croatian and I lived in Croatia for quite a while, and there was no AR quiz for it, so... could I maybe make one?...

No problem. And make one I did. I checked it out on and didn't see a quiz about a month ago... but I just checked again and... a quiz is there.

Oh well. He'll get more points from their quiz (17) I would have given 12 to the book.

We're living in a
Liberal, intellectual elites plot to overthrow the American government using an army of mechanized super warriors. No seriously. Here is a quote from chapter two where Card sets the stage with a painfully ham-fisted "example" of American academia.

"Oh, Soldier Boy, you poor lad," said Torrent. "The American idea was thrown out with Social Security. We nailed the coffin shut with group rights. We don't want individual liberty because we don't want individual responsibility. We want somebody else
Feb 17, 2013 rated it did not like it

Spoiler Alert, though I don't recommend you read this book, so whatever.

This book is bad. The plot is largely unbelievable (without spoiling anything, the main plot is plausible, but the sci-fi elements introduced halfway through make you go "Wha...?"). It has way too much dialogue from characters that you wouldn't expect to be wordy. Card throws in a few mysteries that are, frankly, uninteresting.

Additionally, the flow just didn't work for me. From the first action sequence where things
Carlos Velez
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Orson Scott Card proves to me he can write amazing things outside of the Ender series. This novel deals with conspiracy, presidential assassination (not refered to as George W. Bush, but definitely implied), the beginnings of an american civil war, and the man who must find the truth in order to clear his name and restore the United States to balance.

The balance of what? That's the real issue, the meat of the story, the moral. The author speaks, after the conclusion of the novel, about how in
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not one of his best. This one is convoluted and proves that Card should not try to write the techno-thriller. It also proves that he should stay out of politics. I didn't like too much that he never answers (only hints at) one of the main questions of the book. I also didn't care at all for the ending.
C.T. Phipps
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spy-fiction
I read this awhile ago but a friend reminded me of it and it occurred to me that I haven't reviewed it. The Empire series is one of the funniest book series I have ever read and for all the wrong reasons. Rather than attempt to explain to you why it is incredibly funny, I'm going to instead give a short synopsis of the early part of the book.

The moderate left-leaning Republican President of the United States (explicitly George W. Bush) and his Vice President are assassinated by a super-trained
John Matsui
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I’m an admirer of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi and felt he was brave to venture into Empire, a political intrigue / military action thriller.
But the more I thought about Empire, the more I started to question the premise, especially the author's stated position of political neutrality – left vs right.
The author’s disgust with liberals became obvious through his portrayal of a highly organized and well financed fifth column of left-wingers who launch a brazen rocket attack on the White House and
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
If Clancy had a sense of humor and a philosophy degree, he could have written this book. (Sorry Clancy fans, he's just not my thing)

This is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time. The plot - an American civil war between the left and the right - is just too plausible, once the story begins to unfold. It gave me chills.

The action was great; the chase scenes, etc were as vivid as a movie. I loved the character development: the loyal military wife, the bad-ass ex special ops buddies,
Mike (the Paladin)
Unabridged audio.

This was an interesting idea, and I was fascinated with it. Unfortunately it seems to have sort of....failed in the developing. I would like to see this sort of idea developed a little better and laid out in a more coherent manner. It's pretty clear where he was going here and the idea tugs at the mind. Unfortunately it (in my opinion) swings far out to one side and seems to get completely lost. The ending is to say the least...extremely, unlikely in most any scenario.

I think it
Feb 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Orson Scott Card lovers
Shelves: should-read-once
An interesting exploration in American potentials. Yet applying Orson Scott Card's usual character perfection to a world much closer to our own is slightly out of place. Worth a read once for being a thriller, psychological thriller, and Yet Another Scott Card Book, it leads you to think about where our political extremism is headed. If you watch alongside Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, it strikes impressive similarities.
Stephen Gallup
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As it happens, I read part two in this saga last year and am only now getting round to the beginning. Luckily, each can stand alone. I didn't even realize they were connected until I recognized Coleman and the Special Ops guys in the "jeesh." Hidden Empire makes passing references to a recently concluded Left-Right civil war. Empire is where the philosophical underpinnings of that conflict are explained and, of course, acted on.

There are flaws in the story. For starters, it obviously strains
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought I could not finish reading this book. Not because I didn’t like it but because of my busy schedule. School work, feasibility study, exams and now we’re having a general cleaning. See, how can I sneak up just to read this? Fortunately, instead of resting, I read this book. Yay! Thanks to my reading buddy Juan este Kwesi Ian Jay who finished reading this book first. (his review)

After reading Ender’s Shadow and loving it; after hearing a lot of praises about Ender’s Game; I thought it
Stasa Fritz
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
I will keep my review “fairly” brief, after scanning a number of the positive and negative reviews. I have no problem with the main characters having a conservative point of view. I do have a problem with the execution of the writing. As I pursue my own masters in creative writing, I am stunned by how Card violates some of his own advice from his two good books on writing (Character and Viewpoint; How to write science fiction). Whether you call this science fiction, or an espionage/thriller, it ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
The president and vice-president of the United States are killed in a terrorist plot following anti-terrorist plans developed by U.S. Army Major Reuben Malich, Civil war developes in American. But who is the real instigator and what is their agenda>
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.

Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series

Other books in the series

Empire (2 books)
  • Hidden Empire (Empire, #2)
“Personal affection is a luxury you can have only after all your enemies are eliminated. Until then, everyone you love is a hostage, sapping your courage and corrupting your judgment.” 99 likes
“Being young is an 18 year prison sentence for a crime your parents committed. But you do get time off for good behavior.” 81 likes
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