Empire is a novel by Orson Scott Card about how the political and philosophical ideologies in our country have lead to divisions deep enough to plunge our nation into its second civil war. The left and right have become so absorbed in their own rhetoric that they feel the other side is either ignorant or evil. With our nation's leadership, the greater good of the populace plays second string to the posturing needed to maintain power and win re-election.
An ex-army special ops team leader, Reuben Malich, has completed several key government missions and distinguished himself in Washington. He is called state-side to work with high-level Pentagon officials on improving national security. Specifically, he is tasked with devising plans for how terrorists might assassinate the president in order to implement preventative measures. He is also directing an operation for high-level officials to distribute high-tech weaponry to U.S. allies to shore up democracies around the world. However, everything unfolds around him when the president and other top officials are assassinated by what appears to be a terrorist operation, following to the letter the exact plans that he drew up. In the aftermath of this horrible event, Reuben quickly sees that he is being set up to take the fall. The evidence before him makes clear that the assassination was an inside job. He then is forced to go underground along with his newly assigned aide, Bart "Cole" Coleman, to find out who was responsible.
Reuben and Cole end up in New York City to find that it is under seige by a group of Americans who call themselves the Progressive Restoration Movement. The weaponry that they possess is state-of-the-art and effective. Reuben and Cole learn that the assassination of our highest leaders was not a separate event from this takeover, but actually the starting point for a movement to start a civil war in the U.S. to restore our nation back to its constitutional-based government. The events in Washington and New York were planned by a brilliant mind who understood the delicate equilibrium that holds our nation to together. With an an astounding swiftness, the Progressive Restoration Movement begins to be taken seriously in state and local governments. Reuben and Cole see this movement for what it truly is, a power grab by ruthless agents who want to bring America to its knees.
This book had several noticeable flaws, mostly involving far-fetched story developments and a heavy undercurrent of Card's personal political views that were distractions to me. However, the book was at least above threshold by enough of a measure that I will move onto the second part of the story, Hidden Empire.