Shadow of the Giant

From Academic Kids

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Shadow of the Giant, by Orson Scott Card, is the fourth and final book of what is being called The Shadow Quartet (informally referred to as the Bean Quartet), which started with Ender's Shadow, followed by Shadow of the Hegemon and Shadow Puppets. It was published in March 2005. Although it is considered the last of the "Shadow" books, there are enough unanswered questions for a sequel or another quartet to be possible.


At least one of Bean and Petra's eggs were implanted by Volescu into other people, and the eggs are believed by said people to be Achilles', not Bean's.

Meanwhile in conquered China, a belief is spreading that the current government has lost the Mandate of Heaven. Seizing upon this and with some very discreet aid from Mazer Rackham and the International Fleet, Han Tzu (known as Hot Soup by some), takes control of China, installing himself as its new Emperor. What intent he has now remains to be seen.

Peter Wiggin, Hegemon of Earth, along with Petra Arkanian, comes to visit Alai, who is now the Caliph of the Muslim League. Eventually, the two help Alai realize that he is little more than a glorified prisoner, and that others have been ruling Islam in his stead. After uncovering a conspiracy against him, Alai resolves to take a more firm control of his newfound nation, and to treat the peoples he wrested away from China as actual people, and not as animals as they were being treated before.

The rest of the book deals with Peter Wiggin working to create a world government free of war through his Free People of Earth alliance, while Caliph Alai of the Muslim League and Virlomi, now the virtual goddess of India, have other plans for "uniting" the world under them. Against this back-drop of world political machinations by the former Battle School children is the extremely personal story of Bean, who because of his genetic modifications, finds himself running out of time before he dies, along with his wife, Petra, struggling to find their missing children.

The ending finds Bean and Petra with eight children, the ninth implanted in a woman who still believes in Achilles and thinks that their child is his. Bean takes the children who have Anton's Key (3 of 9) and flies away on a starship provided by the Fleet to achieve relativistic speeds and therefore stay alive long enough to find a cure, leaving Petra on Earth. After a heartbreaking letter good-bye, Petra finds out that Peter loves her, and so marries him to that her children will have a father. It is unknown whether Bean is ever heard from again, although by the time of Peter's death no progress has been made on finding a cure to Bean's giantism.

Unanswered Questions

  • What became of Bean and his children?
  • Was a cure ever found for Anton's Key?
  • What will become of Bean's ninth child?
  • According to Xenocide the Free People of Earth collapsed shortly after Peter died and was eventually replaced by Starways Congress. Why did this happen? Did it have anything to do with the Ninth Child?
  • Did Volescu have anything to do with the founding of Path?
  • Will Bean and Ender ever meet again? Or will one of Bean's children with Anton's Key ever meet Ender?

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