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Shadow of the Giant    by Orson Scott Card order for
Shadow of the Giant
by Orson Scott Card
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ender was my favorite of Orson Scott Card's characters, until Bean supplanted him in my regard (in Ender's Shadow). It's always good to spend time with Bean, even though he's now dying (due to uncontrollable growth) in Shadow of the Giant, after rescuing his kidnapped Battle School comrades in Shadow of the Hegemon, and disposing of his nemesis Achilles in Shadow Puppets.

Don't open this book without having read the earlier series episodes, as it builds on past events and characters. Indeed, this volume ties up many loose ends for series fans. Bean (aka Julian Delphiki) and Petra are married . She's pregnant with his child, though they both fear that the baby will inherit the self-destructive genes that cause giantism and early death. Also, Bean's creator, the fanatical geneticist Volescu, has secretly implanted embryos (that the couple planned to use for later pregnancies) in surrogate mothers around the world. Now, Bean and Petra are desperately searching for all their children.

At the same time, they're pulled into conflicts unleashed by the ambition of returned Battle School children upon the world - Han Tzu takes over China; Caliph Alai heads a pan-Muslim movement and strives to be more than a figurehead; and Virlomi is beginning to believe in her own legend in Hindu India, where she is venerated as a goddess. Bean and Petra help Ender's older brother Peter Wiggins, the Hegemon, work towards a single Earth government. As Petra muses, 'Earth belongs to all of us, a single tribe. One overgrown troop of baboons that have taken shelter in the shade of this planet's night, that draw their life from the heat of this planet's day.'

In the background, Mazer Rackham and Colonel Graff continue to manipulate events to spread humanity among the stars. They work to save all their Battle School children, by persuading as many as possible to lead colonies into space. And they have another proposal for Bean, one that will cause him and Petra great anguish. Graff tells Bean 'You lived up to my trust. You exceeded it. You're a great soul. I looked up to you long before you got so tall.' Shadow of the Giant is a thoughtful read (more philosophy and politics than action), and one that seems to give closure to Bean's story ... though the missing infant at the end hints at the possibility of at least one more episode.

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