First the praise. Card does an excellent job in characterization and that is the main strength of the book. The reader familiar with the previous novel will learn new and important things about each main charcter: Bean, Petra, Peter, Achilles and Sister Carlotta. We even get a deeper understanding of the more peripheral characters in the novel, such as Ender's parents. And they are all, very, very interesting characters.
I was troubled a bit by the plot. I think partially because I made the mistake of reading an online "chat" with Orson Scott Card on... , where he came across in some answers as a bit snobbish about his religion and not very forthcoming about some of his other points of view on issues. That's his prerogative, but I found his dismissiveness annoying. Secondly, I read the afterward before reading the book and didn't much agree with what he had to say there about America (or in the online chat) quickly becoming a marginal player in world affairs. I do agree with many of his criticims of the US, but I find it highly unlikely that the US will be marginalized so quickly. I'm saying this simply to state I had some biases before I start the book.
Nevertheless, the plot is thin and there's little reasonable or rational reason why Achille's or Peter could pull the strings of world powers so easily. I need more convincing than what Card offers, which is extremely little. Second, I still don't like the easy way he sweeps nuclear weapons under the rug using the IF. And finally, that the Western hemisphere is a non-player in the whole the shebang.
Basically, I don't think the plot that plausible and the author doesn't do enough to convince me.
BTW, I was also maybe put off a bit because there are corrections to the novel posted on Card's official website at ...
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While Ender heads off to a faraway planet, Bean and the other brilliant children who helped Ender save the earth from alien invaders have become war heroes and have finally been sent home to live with their parents. While the children try to fit back in with the family and friends they haven't known for nearly a decade, someone's worried about their safety. Peter Wiggins, Ender's brother, has foreseen that the talented children are in danger of being killed or kidnapped. His fears are quickly realized, and only Bean manages to escape. Bean knows he must save the others and protect humanity from a new evil that has arisen, an evil from his past. But just as he played second to Ender during the Bugger war, Bean must again step into the shadow of another, the one who will be Hegemon.
In Shadow of the Hegemon, Card can't help but fall back into old patterns. But while the theme is the same as in previous books--brilliant, tragic children with the fate of the human race resting on their shoulders--Shadow of the Hegemon does a wonderful job of continuing Bean's tale against a backdrop of the politics and intrigue of a fragile earth. While the novel ...