cover image Hidden Empire

Hidden Empire

Orson Scott Card, . . Tor, $24.99 (335pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-2004-9

Card combines flag-waving, political diatribe and Christian fervor in this bombastic sequel to 2007's Empire . The young American Empire is confronted with its first major crisis since the Progressive War: the appearance in Africa of a highly communicable and lethal disease. America quarantines the entire continent, while pompous President Torrent dispatches an elite team of supersoldiers to help slow the disease's spread. Young Mark Malich is compelled by his Christian principles to volunteer to help the benighted African natives, but he winds up in a Nigerian hospital targeted for destruction by malevolent Sudanese soldiers, leading to questions about Torrent's true goals. An evil dictator is named Idi De Gaulle, the bad guys machine-gun live babies, and FOX News gets prominent placement, but the only people likely to pick this up are those who share Card's politics, rendering subtlety less necessary. (Jan.)