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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Hidden Empire and morality (spoiler warning)

   
Author Topic: Hidden Empire and morality (spoiler warning)
Chris63084
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I'm just wondering what you guys who have read book 2 in the Empire series thought of Cole's decisions at the end of the book? One thing that I've always liked about OSC's books is that at the end of the day, the good guy wins, or goodness is achieved. This book's ending seems a far cry from that. I realize that there are no easy answers to complex moral decisions, however I really think Cole went on a very extreme route here, and is guilty of the worst kind of treason, and completely devoid of personal emotional connection to those Torrent is responsible, directly or not, to killing. This seems like a different Cole from the first book, and frankly, I don't think I like him. I mean, I don't think there were any good guys in this book, but if anything, I'm on the side of the soldiers Cole(his own team, who were making the only stand possible for democracy at that point) and Torrent(indirectly, but he's still responsible) killed. The entire thing is totally disturbing and quite scary.
Thoughts?

Chris

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Catseye1979
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One thing I noticed when reading the book is Cole's reasoning for what he did was never fully given. It explains his reasoning up to the point he has proof of what Torrent is doing. At that point we seem to get little of why he responded to Torrent at that point like he did. I look forward to the next book so I can see what is going on in his mind better.
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Seatarsprayan
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I'm reposting my thoughts from last June when I read this book, in case Chris63084 finds it interesting.

I enjoyed Hidden Empire up until the end. All the stuff with the plague was good, and the stuff with Cecily's son wanting to do good, and the concerns of a parent, and all that.

But then that book ended and a very short book about Torrent's plans took over, and I didn't enjoy that one very much at all.

SPOILERS

So it turns out that Palpatine, sorry, Torrent, really was Evil. Leaving aside his culpability in the Progressive War, we know for a FACT that he gave weapons to Sudanese troops so they could attack and kill sick American soldiers, and that he knew that Cecily and Mark (a 13 year old boy!) were there at the time.

He says it didn't go as planned, he thought the Americans weren't as sick as they were, they would win, blah blah blah. Fact is he gave the order to murder American soldiers. There's no way he thought no American lives would be lost.

He's a traitor to America, he's like David murdering Uriah, betraying the ones he has charge over, soldiers under his command.

And he's stupid: he actually has the EMP device proving his treason in the White House! The only reason for that is if you think people with Bones are coming to get you. If you think that, take away their Bones! Or issue Bones to the Secret Service too.

Of course this part of the book falls down completely because, if I'm not mistaken, there are PLENTY of secure places in the White House. My High School history teacher told us it's like a skyscraper in reverse; there are plenty of underground levels. There is obviously going to be a nuclear bomb shelter that the President can get into and seal up. Once warned by Cole, the President would have been in no danger, 6 guys in exoskeletons could search the White House kitchens all they wanted, they would never have found him.

What I was halfway expecting: when the jeesh shook Torrent's hand at the funeral, that they'd have figured out a way to smuggle nictovirus back into the country and infect him. Of course, that would have been stupid, because it would have spread from him to everyone in America, so I'm glad they didn't do that...

but they might have done, because they were stupid enough to get purposely infected and infect the entire base at once, and also didn't take measures to hide the fact of their infection from Torrent when they already didn't trust him, thus ensuring they were sitting ducks for any enemy attack and are therefore partially to blame for Mark's death.

So I was fine with the jeesh all getting killed because they were STUPID.

Why didn't they put together their proof and denounce Torrent, instead of trying to kill him?

Were they so dumb they don't have a folder with all the damning evidence ready to get sent out if they fail?

Is Cole really so stupid as to side with Torrent after he saw the EMP? Before then, he didn't *know* that Torrent was guilty, but that was the smoking gun, he now knows Torrent is willing to murder Americans and American soldiers to further his goals of power. And he's all right with that, because Torrent is generally (apart from being a lying treasonous murderer) a good leader?

Torrent is *directly* responsible for Mark's death.

Speaking of which, I can't believe Cecily let him stay where she knew the invaders were attacking. The kid was 13. I can reluctantly understand taking him to Africa, risking death from the virus. Even if he gets sick, he might survive. But leaving him where shooting is going to occur? I could never do that.

Once again, Aldo Verus shows up in the end of the book. This whole character is ridiculous. In the first book, we had no idea who he was until the end, a total violation of Chekov's Gun, and again here he shows up for one scene. Not good storytelling in my opinion.

All in all, the good outweighed the bad, I suppose, but the bad was pretty unappealing.

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