Article by Daniel Eskridge
Ender in Exile is the sequel to Orson Scottís card award winning Enderís Game. However, it is also a prequel to his equally award winning Speaker for the Dead. So, if you are a fan of Cardís novels, you may find little here in the way suspense knowing how things will eventually turn out for the protagonist, Andrew ďEnderĒ Wiggin. Iíve actually never read any of Cardís other books. So, I had the advantage of being able to be surprised by the events of Ender in Exile. Also, not having read Game was not a problem as conversations in the first few chapters do a great job of cluing the reader in to the events preceding novel.
As the novel opens, Ender has just won the war between humanity and an alien race known as the Formics. In fact, his strategies have lead to the apparently complete annihilation of the Formics. Considered too politically hot to bring back to earth, Ender winds up heading for the stars. He is to be the governor of a former Formic world, now human colony. The journey is to take two years during which Ender chooses to remain awake so he can come to terms with his actions in the preceding novel as well as ponder just why the Formics appeared to make such an obvious tactical blunder that enabled him to win the war. On his journey he is joined by his sister Valentine who wants to help him come to terms with his identity. Meanwhile, back on earth Enderís Brother plots to take over the world.
This novel had much the same feel as Frank Herbertís Dune. Not only is the protagonist is a young man whose exceptional qualities place him above humanity, but the story also emphasizes the human aspect of the future rather than dwelling on technology or science. Each characterís actions are driven by their separate, usually hidden agendas, and there is a great deal of contemplation and scheming within the characters conversations and thoughts.
Exile is a must for the thoughtful, philosophical sci-fi type reader but not so much for the action fan. While Game may have been a novel involving an interstellar war, Ender in Exile is much more about one personís introspective journey. Also, it does suffer a bit though from being a bridge novel in that there is little in the way of resolution by the end, but, knowing that there is more to the story, itís not too much of a problem.