Orson Scott Card. Tor Books, $24.95 (347pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1611-0
Right-wing rhetoric trumps the logic of story and character in this near-future political thriller about a red-state vs. blue-state American civil war, an implausibly plotted departure from Card's bestselling science fiction (Ender's Game, etc.). When the president and vice-president are killed by domestic terrorists (of unknown political identity), a radical leftist army calling itself the Progressive Restoration takes over New York City and declares itself the rightful government of the United States. Other blue states officially recognize the legitimacy of the group, thus starting a second civil war. Card's heroic red-state protagonists, Maj. Reuben ""Rube"" Malek and Capt. Bartholomew ""Cole"" Coleman, draw on their Special Ops training to take down the extremist leftists and restore peace to the nation. The action is overshadowed by the novel's polemical message, which Card tops off with an afterword decrying his own politically-motivated exclusion from various conventions and campuses, the ""national media elite"" and the divisive excesses of both the right and the left.
Reviewed on: 11/27/2006