Orson Scott Card
Tor, Dec 2009, $24.99
It took a mini civil war and an alleged attempted coup to make former Professor Averell Torrent President of the United States as his predecessor was assassinated. As a professor Torrent had definite ideas on what the USA should become (an empire) spreading Pax America around the world. He has more power than any president in history even war time leaders, but no one knows if he intends to implement his concepts. Presidential advisors Colonel Bartholomew Coleman and Cecily Malich, whose husband died in Torrent’s service, watch him carefully, but all he displays is a good executive performing his duty to make American a better place.
When an epidemic breaks out in southern Nigeria with a fifty percent death rate, Torrent orders a quarantine of the continent. The disease spreads rapidly and Cole and his unit deploy to Africa to prevent the Muslim part of Northern Nigeria from massacring the survivors in the oil rich plague region in the south. Cecily and her thirteen year old son Mark also go there as Christians providing aid to the unfortunate victims. Cole is afraid that his crew group is planning something deadly that could impact the globe if he and Cecily fail to make the right moves to prevent this from happening.
This sequel to Empire is a cautionary tale that warns of the abuse of power by allowing too much in one person who is constructing a Hidden Empire. Torrent is not evil but instead a visionary who believes the outcome justifies any mean to achieve it. Cole is a fascinating character as he serves a person he loathes but admires. Although lacking subtly re the warning message that overflows throughout the story line, fans will enjoy Orson Scott Card’s chilling techno thriller.