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Hidden Empire
Hidden Empire
Hidden Empire
Audiobook10 hours

Hidden Empire

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

In this sequel to Card's best-selling novel Empire, Averell Torrent has become president of the United States, with enormous political and popular support, and, if people only realized it, a tight grip on the reins of both political parties. He has launched America into a get-tough, this-world-is-our-empire foreign policy stance.

But Captain Bartholomew Coleman, known as Cole to his friends and enemies alike, sees the danger Torrent poses to American democracy and the potential disasters involved in his foreign military adventures. He quickly runs afoul of the president, and on the run, he and a few friends and allies seek proof of how Torrent orchestrated the political takeover — by assassinating a president and nearly starting a civil war.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Release dateDec 22, 2009
Hidden Empire

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and its many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Those books are organized into the Ender Saga, which chronicles the life of Ender Wiggin; the Shadow Series, which follows on the novel Ender's Shadow and is set on Earth; and the Formic Wars series, written with co-author Aaron Johnston, which tells of the terrible first contact between humans and the alien "Buggers." Card has been a working writer since the 1970s. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977--the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelette version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog. The novel-length version of Ender's Game, published in 1984 and continuously in print since then, became the basis of the 2013 film, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin. Card was born in Washington state, and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he runs occasional writers' workshops and directs plays. He frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University. He is the author many science fiction and fantasy novels, including the American frontier fantasy series "The Tales of Alvin Maker" (beginning with Seventh Son), and stand-alone novels like Pastwatch and Hart's Hope. He has collaborated with his daughter Emily Card on a manga series, Laddertop. He has also written contemporary thrillers like Empire and historical novels like the monumental Saints and the religious novels Sarah and Rachel and Leah. Card's work also includes the Mithermages books (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), contemporary magical fantasy for readers both young and old. Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card. He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.

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Reviews for Hidden Empire

Rating: 3.129032258064516 out of 5 stars

93 ratings8 reviews

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I read the first volume of this series five years ago and thought it was a pretty good story, about an attempted coup in America. This time it's about a virus outbreak in Africa and the extension of American power, yet there's also considerable religious under & overtones to this book which I don't remember there being in the earlier volume.For example the entire drive of one of the main plot points is for Americans to go to Africa to nurse the infected because that's what good Christians do, and I can't help but feel there's a subtle dig towards Islam the way there's such an overwhelming volume of pro-Christianity references yet the only time Islam is brought up it's when the Nigerians are massacring civilians and stealing resources. It's like they're the boogeyman and the author is displaying his prejudices, likewise there's a chapter opening where people who care about the environment and global warming are decreed as being, essentially terrible people with bad judgement. There's an alright story in there but I didn't enjoy it anywhere near the amount I did the earlier opening book with the religious aspect wedged in there which didn't seem to add anything to the story beyond lecturing. The characters could have wanted to help others for the simple reason alleviating others suffering is a decent human thing to do when you have the ability to help, but no, it was all about religion.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Hidden Empire, Orson Scott Card, 2009Sequel to Empire, super-powered good guys become bad guys for a good reason; but is the real bad really bad?After reading some other reviews of this book it might not be amiss to provide another viewpoint. I don't believe Card is describing a right wing manifesto. The anti-hero here seems to be succeeding at creating a more rational world government (remember the "Hegemon"?). There are also some very cogent references to Julius Caesar in the book. My take is that Card is describing a very unlikely attempt by someone who WANTS to be good and just and knows that the Jimmy Carters don't stand a chance at achieving anything useful, much less profound. He understands that there's a very real danger of becoming the enemy, but at the time of this story line, he's trying to surround himself with..."Jiminy Crickets?"The question that has come up in these reviews is: is the attempt to insert some justice into the world worth a few "broken eggs"? Would it be evil to go back in time and murder a young Adolf Hitler? I remember contemplating taking a Masters in Political Science and commenting on the "ick" factor associated with politicians. The department dean asked me what kind of people made up the majority of politicians? It didn't take me but a few seconds to realize that most politicians are lawyers....people trained in criminal behaviour! People who often seem to have a distorted view of history. From there it's logical to think that a History professor might be just the right person to navigate the pitfalls of historical precedent--assuming he could also navigate the pitfalls of psychology, a la Abraham Lincoln.I personally am not assuming that Card thinks there's anyone out there now that has the skill and temperament to even attempt such a juggling trick; and I don't think he's recommending it, either. I think he's writing a book of fiction describing an ideal situation and how it might happen: if pigs could fly and if we had some super-weapons, here's how it might be done. [Read "Bio of a Space Tyrant" by Piers Anthony for another view of the possibilities. One not as logical as this one.When I finished the book I kept rehashing in my head how the hero could have agreed with the other "good" guys and then persuaded them to bide their time until the anti-hero actually turned to the dark side, and THEN stepped in. Why waste the opportunity of accomplishing some good changes in the world, just on the off-chance that it'll turn out bad, sometime in the future?
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Excellent story line. Believable characters. Entertaining. Highly recommend book.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this continuation several years after the first book. I'd suggest reading the other book first, but you don't have to. Card did fill in just enough that you wouldn't be lost, but he didn't recap in detail, thankfully. This short (only these 2 books so far) series is based on a concept that was being developed for a video game (now on Xbox, although with a different name) & comics. Card just took the basic idea & developed these novels. As usual, his afterword (which he read) was excellent.

    Interesting characters & problems, much drawn from history which made it even better. The idea of religion as a way of life which was more successful than what it displaced. The story was quicker & less complicated than the first one which laid everything out & concentrated on a civil war in the US. Card isn't easy on his characters again.

    Very well read by both Card & the other guy (Rudnicki?). Card did just the beginning of every chapter which were thoughts by his fictional president. They were truish enough to make me think. I really liked the beginning of chapter 8:

    People know many things and half of them are wrong. If only we knew which half, we'd have reason to be proud of our intelligence.
    What is knowledge? A belief that is shared by all the respectable people in the community whether there is any real evidence for it or not.
    What is faith? A belief that we hold so strongly that we act as if it is true even though we know there are many who do not believe it.
    What is opinion? A belief that we expect other people to argue with.
    What is scientific fact? An oxymoron. Science does not deal in facts, it deals in hypothesis which are never fully & finally correct.

    No, not high philosophy, but definitely points to ponder & they were well done in the context of the story. Worth reading & highly recommended.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I'm not sure whether I'm frightened that (a) the sequence of events herein described is possible, or (b) that they might already have happened. I felt Card was able to keep his own politics out of the novel (thoroughly commendable - such is neither easy nor common these days) and make it reasonably relatable to any folk who are familiar with contemporary world affairs.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Substance: Intricate conspiracy plot and questions of honor, loyalty, and trust. Puts what could be abstract moral statements in the mouths of real people, giving all factions a spokesman. Expresses what may be Card's own POV on the current political situation and the fundamental questions facing the US citizens regarding governance. Unlikely anyone could pull off "President Torrent's" coup, because no on is that smart, although Card makes as good a case as any for his intellect and election. (See "Empire").Style: Action-adventure with moral philosophy.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I really liked the first Empire novel, but as is unfortunately typical with Orson Scott Card, I wasn't nearly as enamored of this sequel. It just seems to lack the heart, the moral center, the fun qualities of the first book. It's hard to explain without giving away spoilers, but at times I just couldn't connect to these characters and what they were doing, and it was the characters from the previous book I had this problem with. I almost think it's worth it to pretend this is an alternate universe. If I'd gone in with that mindset, I'd have enjoyed the book more.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    Oh, dear. What a pile of pious crap from someone who can do so much better. About the best thing I can say for this is that its better than the first book in the series: Empire. If you want a right wing, fundamentalist Christian/Mormon inspired vision of the US becoming a world empire, then this book is for you. I'm terribly afraid that in a later book we will discover the President is actually the anti-christ.