Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
XenocideAndrew “Ender” Wiggins is on the planet Lusitania. His wife and her children are trying to find a cure for a virus that kills humans. But they can’t just kill off the virus. The descolada virus is vital to the native sentient life on Lusitania. The Starways Congress sees things differently. The government doesn’t care about the pequininos – it just wants to make sure humans survive. If the descolada gets off Lusitania, all humans will die. The only reason the humans on Lusitania are still alive is because they have found descolada inhibitors. But the inhibitors do not rid the body of the virus, just make it impotent.
Qing-jao and her father, Han Fei-tzu, live on Path. They are the god-spoken, and given important tasks by the Starways Congress. The fleet of destroyer ships Starways Congress has sent to Lusitania has disappeared. The government has asked Han Fei-tzu to discover what has happened to the ships.
Ender can only stand back and encourage as his family and friends try to prevent xenocide – not only of th pequininos, but the buggers as well. His friend Jane is endangered by the destroyer fleet heading to blow up Lusitania. His sister, Valentine, and her husband also came to Lusitania to assist him. All he knows and loves are slated for death if the fleet obtains their goal.
To complicate matters, Ender’s family is at odds. Miro, who proved the pequininos were sentient and friendly, is now crippled. Although brilliant, his family cannot get past their pity and their lack of understanding. One brother is a priest who stays out of family conflicts and ministers to the pequininos. Another is ready to destroy the descolada and thus, the pequininos. A sister wants to save the descolada because she believes it is sentient as well. And one sister just wants to change the descolada enough to be non-lethal to humans be still keep the pequininos alive. A major crisis splits the family even further.
Xenocide started slowly, and I had to work through the first half. Yet the puzzle of a solution to prevent the total destruction of three life forms and a group of humans kept my attention. By the second half of the book I was completely involved. There are some solutions by the end – and some new problems as well. When it was done, I put the book down frustrated. There is still the risk of xenocide to at least one sentient being. Plus there are some new/old characters that can be a major influence on the human race. Xenocide can stand on its own, but does better with the history from Speaker of the Dead. It is also an obvious lead in to Children of the Mind.