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The Worthing Saga    by Orson Scott Card order for
Worthing Saga
by Orson Scott Card
Order:  USA  Can
Blackstone, 2005 (1983)
Paperback, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Orson Scott Card can certainly tell a story. Having written some two dozen novels - a significant portion becoming New York Times Bestsellers - Card can be considered a fantastic weaver of stories. The Worthing Saga is no exception. It's interesting to note that it was first published as The Worthing Chronicle in 1983 and then as The Worthing Saga after a series of short stories were added to the end of the book in 1990. Blackstone Audio recently recorded it for our listening enjoyment. In fact, most of Card's most popular titles have been re-recorded and re-released into audio over the last two years.

It's the way he writes. Like other popular authors in the audiobook industry, Card's narratives are fantastically adaptable to a reading voice. His text has sound. In the recording of this saga written a few years before his most acclaimed novel, Ender's Game, Card's talent is recognizable and enjoyable.

When pain returns to a world that has not known it for thousands of years, Larid and his family awake to rediscover what it means to hurt again. In the midst of this, Larid meets Jason Worthing and his granddaughter of some 500 generations later, Justice. Both are gifted with exceptional abilities, including telepathy. They befriend Larid and convince him to write their story, a story that spans thousands of years and will ultimately explain why pain has returned to the world.

Jason's tale brings listeners back to his home world, Capital, the center of a decaying empire. As the years pass and Jason finds friends and enemies throughout the universe, the story shows the destruction and revival of civilization, and how Jason tries to redeem humankind through his own efforts of colonization and politics. The story reads like an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series as it follows the course of a falling empire and the potential rise. However, Card gets more deeply involved in the purpose of government and what it means to rule over people, as Jason's descendants have done in the years that follow.

Winner of various narration awards, Scott Brick can always be counted on for a fantastic read. He knows tone, character, speed, and emotion. He can raise his voice to confer the pain one character feels, while in the next breath, he delivers a concoction of joviality and malice on behalf of the perpetrator.

As enjoyable as Card can be to read, one theme lurks throughout most of his works. Card is religious and his fervor often becomes not only relevant but obvious to the point of propaganda. The Worthing Saga is permeated with predominantly Christian themes, and as in all Card's series, references to Christianity abound. Once aware of the author's convictions, it can be challenging to look past them.

Thus far, despite his occasional discourse, Orson Scott Card is well worth reading. His stories spark with interest, and rattle the imagination with intricate characters, hard decisions, and interesting settings.

Note: This review refers to an unabridged (18 hours, 34 minutes) audiobook read by Scott Brick, available at Blackstone Audio, and also as an audio download at

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

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