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Shadow Puppets is the third novel in the Shadow Saga, following Shadow of the Hegemon and preceding Shadow of the Giant. It was written by Orson Scott Card.

Short Summary

Earth and its society have been changed irrevocably in the aftermath of Ender Wiggin's victory over the Formics. The unity forced upon the warring nations by an alien enemy has shattered. Nations are rising again, seeking territory and influence, and most of all, seeking to control the skills and loyalty of the children from the Battle School. But one person has a better idea. Peter Wiggin, Ender's older, more ruthless brother, sees that any hope for the future of Earth lies in restoring a sense of unity and purpose. And he has an irresistible call on the loyalty of Earth's young warriors. With Bean at his side, the two will reshape our future. Here is the continuing story of Bean and Petra, and the rest of Ender's Dragon Army, as they take their place in the new government of Earth.

Detailed Summary

Peter Wiggin had just been elected Hegemon of Earth. Accepting a tip from inside China, where Achilles de Flandres was held prisoner, Peter assigned Suriyawong, a former Battle School student from Thailand, to rescue Achilles in transport, believing that he could spy on Achilles and then turn Achilles over to a country for trial.

Achilles was known to kill anyone who has seen him vulnerable. Bean and Petra Arkanian had both seen Achilles while he was weak, so the two went into hiding, preparing for a future confrontation. Bean believed Peter had seriously underestimated Achilles, and so Bean knew he was not safe unless he was hidden. During their travels, Petra convinced Bean to marry her and have children with her. Bean was reluctant to have children, as he did not want his Anton's Key gene to be passed on. He found Volescu, the original doctor who activated the key in Bean's genes, and had him prepare nine embryos through artificial insemination. Volescu pretended to identify three embryos with Anton's Key, discarding them. One of the remaining six was implanted into Petra, while the rest of them were placed under guard.

At the same time, a message was passed to Bean that Han Tzu, a comrade from Battle School, was not in fact the informant who sent the message about Achilles to Peter. Realizing that it had been a setup, Bean got a message to Peter's parents John Paul and Theresa Wiggin, and they fled with Peter from the Hegemony compound in Blackstream, Brazil. Bean narrowly escaped an assassination attempt himself, and escaped to Damascus. There they found that another Battle School comrade, Alai, had become the unrivaled Caliph of a nearly unified Muslim world. Meanwhile, their non-implanted embryos were stolen, and Bean expected Achilles to use them as bait in a trap for them.

Peter and his parents escaped to the former Battle School, now rebranded Ellis Island as it functioned as a port for colonists, relying on the protection of the Minister of Colonization Hyrum Graff. Shortly after their arrival, however, a message was sent by someone on the station betraying their presence there. Faking their departure from Battle School, Peter and his parents discovered the traitor to be Uphanad, one of the former teachers at Battle School. The unmanned shuttle sent as a decoy was shot down over Brazil, the location of the former compound of the Hegemon, which was now occupied by Achilles.

As China had recently conquered India and Indochina, Alai planned to liberate them by invading first China, and then India once China had withdrawn its armies to defend their homeland. His invasion was successful, and after the Chinese government realizes their tactical mistake they disavowed Achilles, providing evidence that he stole the missile launcher that destroyed the decoy space shuttle. Left with nowhere to turn, Achilles contacted Bean and offered the embryos in exchange for safe passage.

Bean and Peter returned to the Hegemony compound. Achilles expected Bean to be so focused on the retrieval of the embryos that he would be easily killed by a bomb. However, when Bean saw through that trap, Achilles offered up fake embryos in petri dishes, expecting to lure Bean into a vulnerable position where Bean could be killed. However, Bean had already realized that Achilles was faking it and refused to fall for his trap. Bean pulled out a pistol and shot Achilles in the eye, killing him in a similar fashion to Achilles' first victim Poke, whom he killed with a knife to the eye.

After Achilles was eliminated, Peter was restored as Hegemon, Petra was reunited with Bean, Alai commanded a united Muslim world, China was severely reduced in territory and forced to accept humiliating terms of surrender, and the embryos were still lost.

Trivia

  • The original name for Shadow puppets was originally conceived as Shadow of Death.

Editions