Orson Scott Card. BBC Audiobooks, $119.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7927-3933-3
As the penultimate story in the series that began with the impeccable ""Ender's Game"", this volume is essential for fans but neither the book nor audio rise to the level of the first two volumes. The planet Lusitania is home to a small Portuguese colony, a newly discovered sentient race called the Pequininos, the last surviving Hive Queen of the Buggers, and ""Descolada"", a virus that will destroy the human race if it gets off-planet. Because of the virus, a starship fleet is dispatched to destroy Lusitania. On the distant Chinese world of Path, a young pious girl influences history by uncovering secrets kept well-buried for millennia and in the process sealing the fate of both Lusitania and Path. The sanctimonious tone used by the girl's reader has great depth and fits the character so perfectly that she creates a fully dimensional, aggravating character. The pacing is as uneven as the cast's ability to maintain their Chinese and Portuguese accents. The music is randomly placed throughout and loses its effectiveness. A great deal of talent went into this production and while the good parts dominate, this is still a weaker effort in the series. ""Available as a TOR paperback. (Mar.)"" .
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006