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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Empire by Orson Scott Card

Published in 2006 by Tor

Danger: Spoilers follow.

I am torn when it comes to this book. It starts out with a clever premise: What if the super-heated political debate of the last few years was actually being created by a third party that was trying to get red-staters and blue-staters to start fighting. Once the bullets start flying a seemingly disinterested third party might be able to step in and assume the powers of government in the form of a dictatorship that promises to stop the insanity.

So, when the President, Vice-President and most of the cabinet are killed by commando terrorists of unknown origin the country gets very unstable very fast as the finger pointing and the political spin machines start to crank up.

Great premise. Strong start.

But, when the mechanized walking tanks and the hoverbikes, led by a George Soros-type character (who has unlimited funds, apparently) start to attack New York City the action is first-rate and gripping but the believability factor drops through the floor. Plus, everything slows down at about the two-thirds point and gets more and more unbelievable as vastly outnumbered commandos take on the plotters on their home turf in a secret base (yes, just like in an episode of the old G.I. Joe cartoon).

Great idea, poor execution.

3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon at this location: Empire

Reviewed on November 20, 2012.

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