Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Speaker for the DeadIt has been three thousand years since the Bugger Wars when Ender Wiggins attacked the hive queen home world. After the Speaker for the Dead wrote a book about the Hive Queen, feelings have changed. Ender is now accused of xenocide and is the most hated name in the galaxy. The Speaker is now the most revered person. Very few people know he is the same person.
For the first time since the Bugger War, another intelligent species has been discovered on the planet Lusitania. The “piggies” are studied and interacted with, yet they are not to be told anything about humans to contaminate their culture. They are as cagey about aspects of their culture as the humans are.
Then the piggies kill the xenologer that has been working with them. It is a ritualistic murder with undertones humans do not understand. Novinha, the lonely girl who was working with the murdered man, calls for a Speaker of the Dead to come speak his life. Andrew Wiggins responds. Although the space trip only takes him a few weeks, in relative time on Lusitania, it is about twenty years. Things have changed.
The piggies have killed another xenologer. Those who are still allowed to interact are surreptitiously teaching the aliens human farming techniques and other things to help them survive. The Catholic community that runs Lusitania is angry they have a Speaker for the Dead arriving. Novinha had married a man who beat her and has since died. Her children are alienated.
This sequel to Ender’s Game is another excellent book, and nothing like the first book. At times it seems there should have been another book written between them, but there is not. (Note: Ender in Exile was written after this review) Ender is now full grown, in his thirties. Because of comparative time in space travel, it is over 3,000 years since his war with the Buggers. He has become the first Speaker for the Dead. He has matured. He wants to find out about the piggies before humans become too afraid of them and exile themselves from Lusitania.
I appreciated Ender’s adult personality. He has taken his youth and combined it into his present person. Yet this book is not esoteric and philosophical. It is a good book that keeps moving. It is totally different than the book it succeeds, and yet is also good. It is not necessary to read Ender’s Game to enjoy Speaker for the Dead.